When the FIA’s new Verstappen-proof superlicense rules came out for Formula One, America felt just a little shafted. Not too many of the series that go towards superlicense points even run here. Fortunately, the Sports Car Club of America’s Pro Racing arm is about to change that: we’re getting a Formula 4 series!
Formula 4 is considered the first rung of the single-seater ladder that leads to Formula One, with only Formula Renault counting for fewer superlicense points. Many see it as a logical place to start after moving out of karts. Currently, Australia, Japan, Germany, Italy, Northern Europe, the United Kingdom and China all have Formula 4 championships, but there’s not even one in the Americas yet.
Could there be better timing in making this announcement than after an American finally (hopefully) makes it into a Formula One drive? I don’t think there could.
“Given the global reach of FIA Formula 4, it is both natural and essential that the category arrives in the United States,” said FIA Single-Seater Commission president Stefano Domenicali in an FIA press release.
“It is obviously a huge motor sport market with a proud and rich history that, perhaps because of its prolific national racing scene, has been under-represented in World Championship motor sport.”
Finally—respect! The FIA knows America is a hole to fill in terms of the ladder to Formula One, so getting a Formula 4 championship here is one part of filling that hole.
Driver entries in Formula 4 are only allowed from the country or region where the championship is based, so until now, Americans have been been completely shut out of the category.
We got a close look at the car that they’ll be running in the championship, which current DeltaWing driver Katherine Legge described as a good, solid platform for learning. The category is open to drivers from the United States who are age 15 and up, and the SCCA is working on getting F4-specific driver training programs for drivers interested in the category.
It will be powered by a 2.0-liter Honda engine from the Civic Type R, detuned to about 160 hp to meet the FIA’s standards fo the category. Pirelli has introduced new Formula 4 tires, just for these junior single-seater cars.
The total cost of the car itself will be $51,600, including everything. The FIA estimates that an entire season will cost only about $100,000—somewhat of a steal for a single-seater. Crawford Composites is already taking orders for the car.
Here’s an up-close look at the car and the engine that were on display when the series was announced today at Lone Star Le Mans. While it’s not the same as getting America’s home-grown series recognized on with superlicense points, getting our own Formula 4 championship is certainly a step in the right direction.
Relatively simple, light design
Simple rear wing
Rear of car
Big, meaty custom Pirelli tires.
Inside the front wheel
Open cockpit with carbon fiber steering wheel, complete with integrated screen and delicious looking Skittle-like buttons
Honda Civic Type R engine, all clean and shiny
Yes, it will bunny.
Welcome to America, Formula 4. We’re glad you’re here.
[Correction: While the original press release said that the engine was 2.4 liters, chrisrully pointed out that this particular Honda engine is really a 2.0 liters. The SCCA has since described it as a 2.0 on their own website, so this has been amended above.]
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