Australian Formula 2

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Cheetah Formula 2 car

Australian Formula 2, sometimes abbreviated to AF2 or ANF2, is a "wings and slicks" formula racing category in Australia. The category is one of Australia's oldest, dating back to 1964. The current format of AF2 was introduced in 1978. Brian Shead of Cheetah Racing Cars and Garrie Cooper of Elfin Racing Cars were largely responsible for the development of the format, which was devised to suit the needs of Australian drivers, most of whom had little or no sponsorship and had to bear the costs of racing out of their own pockets.

The class was an amalgamation of the previous Australian Formula 2 and Australian Formula 3 categories, using the same or newly developed cars, but powered by production-based single-cam, 2 valve per cylinder engines, with an engine capacity between 1100 cc and 1600 cc. Popular engines initially included the Toyota 2T, Ford Kent and Holden Gemini. Later on the Volkswagen Golf became the engine of choice due to its lighter weight and greater power levels. Initially the new format proved to be very successful, attracting the largest grids seen in Australian formula racing for years. The manufacture of cars in Australia for the formula flourished. It wasn't uncommon to see cars designed and built by the same person that drove them.

For a brief period when Formula 5000 was in its final death throes, AF2 was arguably (but not officially) Australia's top class of racing car. It had a national championship as well as various state series. AF2 was bumped down from being the number one Australian racing formula with the introduction of the slightly faster but far more expensive Formula Pacific category. Throughout the 1980s AF2 remained an extremely popular and competitive category and the Australian Drivers' Championship was contested with Formula 2 cars in both 1987 and 1988.

In 1999 CAMS introduced 2 litre international Formula Three engines into AF2. The 1600cc class was meant to become the second tier of the formula and then to be discontinued. Despite this 1600cc AF2 remained a popular Formula, perhaps because it was a far cheaper formula than Formula Three and Formula Brabham/Holden/4000.

Since then, the popularity of AF2 has slowly diminished and the series has contracted from being a national series, to one that is contested in New South Wales, although there are plans afoot to also incorporate Victoria.

Timeline[edit]

  • 1964–1968 : 1100 cc maximum capacity (production-based) & 1000 cc (free design)
  • 1969–1970 : 1600 cc maximum capacity
  • 1971–1977 : 1600 cc maximum capacity, two valves per cylinder
  • 1978–1988 : 1600 cc maximum capacity, production-based, single camshaft
  • 1989-2002 : 1600 cc maximum capacity, production-based, single camshaft & 2000 cc (FIA Formula Three engines)
  • 2003–date : 1600 cc maximum capacity, production-based, single camshaft

History[edit]

The Australian Formula 2 category was established by the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS) in 1964 as the third tier of single seater motor racing in Australia, below the Australian National Formula and the Australian 1½ Litre Formula and above Australian Formula 3.[1] It was a two part formula consisting of (a) cars using production based engines of up to 1100cc capacity (the discontinued Formula Junior class from 1963) and (b) cars using free design four cylinder engines of up to 1000cc capacity (the then current FIA Formula Two class).[2] A single race Australian Formula 2 Championship was instituted in 1964 [3] however the title was discontinued after two years.[4]

The engine capacity was raised to 1600cc in 1969,[5] AF2 thus replacing the discontinued Australian 1½ Litre Formula as the country’s second tier single seater category.[6] From the same year AF2 cars were eligible to compete alongside the 2½ litre Australian National Formula cars in the Australian Drivers' Championship for the first time.[6] The Australian Formula 2 Championship was reintroduced for 1969 and was contested concurrently with the final round of the 1969 Australian Drivers’ Championship.[7] It became a stand alone, single race title again in 1970.[8]

For 1971, engines with more than two valves per cylinder were banned as were those of less than 1100cc capacity.[5] In the same year the Australian Formula 2 Championship was contested over a series of races for the first time with all rounds run concurrently with those of the 1971 Australian Driver’s Championship.[9] The 1974 championship, which enjoyed significant sponsorship from the Van Heusen Shirt Company, was run as a totally stand alone series.[10]

The declining state of the category saw the 1977 championship downgraded to a single race affair and new regulations were announced to take effect in 1978. The engines were to be limited to 1600cc production based units with valve actuation by single overhead camshaft or pushrods.[11] There was no national championship for the new AF2 in this first year but a championship series was reintroduced for 1979.[4]

AF2 regulations were amended for 1987 to eliminate underbody aerodynamic aids,[12] thus bringing the formula in line with the rest of the motor racing world.[13] The decline of Australia’s premier open wheel category, Formula Mondial, saw the Australian Drivers' Championship move from that category to AF2 in the same year, with the title awarded to the winner of the Australia Cup, an AF2 race held in support of the 1987 Australian Grand Prix at the Adelaide Street Circuit.[14] The Australian Formula 2 Championship continued and for 1988 the Australian Drivers' Championship was awarded to the winner of the Australian Formula 2 Championship series.[15] The 1988 AF2C title was to be the last awarded by CAMS[4] and the Australian Drivers' Championship was to be determined over a series of races for the new Formula Holden category for 1989.[16]

In an effort to increase fields, an additional class for cars using 2 litre FIA Formula Three engines was incorporated into AF2 for 1999 alongside the existing 1600cc class[17] FIA Formula Three was itself officially adopted in Australia as a separate category the following year[18] but the 2 litre cars remained eligible to compete in AF2 through to 2002.[19] AF2 reverted to a single class 1600cc formula again for 2003.[20]

Engine[edit]

In the current form of AF2, the engine must be based on one from a mass-produced vehicle. Popular engines include the pushrod hemi headed Toyota 2T, the crossflow Ford Kent, and Holden Gemini, but the most common is the Volkswagen Golf. The Volkswagen Golf is popular due to its lighter weight and greater power levels. AF2 engines must use carburetors for fuel induction, with most running Weber carburetors. AF2 engines are now limited to 8500 rpm although in the past prior to the introduction of rev limiters, engine revs over 10,000 rpm were not uncommon. AF2 engines typically produce in the order of 180 to 200 horsepower (150 kW).

Chassis[edit]

The majority of AF2 cars produced in the late 1970s and 1980s are made from an aluminium monoquue, just as Formula One cars of the era were. Such cars often weigh in under 400 kilograms (880 lb) and the allowable racing weight including the driver is 510 kilograms (1,120 lb). Newer cars such as those made by Reynard and Dallara during the 1990s are made of carbon fibre and are actually heavier than the aluminium cars, although they are also more aerodynamic. The newer cars have a 530 kg racing weight, which helps to equalise their performance with the older cars. AF2 cars feature prominent front and rear wings. The wheels are 13 inches (33 cm) in diameter, with the front wheels typically 9 inches (23 cm) wide and rears typically 11 inches (28 cm) wide. They are configured as an open-wheeler, and are shod with control Dunlop radial slicks.

Transmission[edit]

Like most formula cars, the transmission is at the rear of the car, situated behind both the engine and driver. The most common transmission in aluminium monoque cars is the 5 speed Hewland Mk9 transaxle, but the Hewland Mk8 and stronger FT200 transaxles are also used. Another popular transaxle used in monoque cars, mainly Cheetah Racing cars was manufactured by Holinger Engineering. Like the Hewland Mk8 and Mk9 it is also based on the Volkswagen transaxle. Newer carbon Fibre Dallaras and Reynards typically use transaxle housings manufactured by the car manufacturer, although they sport Hewland internals.

Performance[edit]

Power levels approaching 200 horsepower (150 kW) combined with a racing weight of only 510 to 530 kg, provide a power-to-weight ratio similar to a V8 Supercar. This allows AF2 cars to accelerate very quickly out of corners and to develop some reasonable top speeds. The approximate 0 to 160 km/h time for an AF2 is 5 seconds. Because the cars are so low, and light and because they have grippy slick tyres and front and rear wings to force them to the ground, the cars are capable of generating very high G forces when cornering and braking.

Current regulations — Australian Formula 2 Club Inc.[edit]

The engine must be based on that from a mass-produced vehicle, it must have a capacity between 1100 cc and 1600 cc, have a single camshaft operating no more than 2 valves per cylinder and use carburetors for fuel induction. A rev limiter must be fitted to limit maximum engine RPM to 8500.

The bodywork must be of an "open wheel" configuration and there are limitations on both the position and size of the front and rear wings. The car must have a flat floor between the front and rear wheels and the minimum weight of the combined car and driver (racing weight) is either 510 kg or 530 kg depending on the age of the car.

The class uses a "control tyre" manufactured by Dunlop, to ensure both close competition and good tyre life.

List of Australian Formula 2 champions[edit]

1971 Championship winner Henk Woelders (Elfin 600 Waggott)
1986 Championship winner Jonathon Crooke (Cheetah Mk.8 Volkswagen)
Season Driver Car
1964 Greg Cusack Elfin Ford
1965 Greg Cusack Repco Brabham Cosworth [21]
1966–1968 No championship
1969 Max Stewart Mildren Waggott
1970 Max Stewart Mildren Waggott
1971 Henk Woelders Elfin 600C Waggott[22]
1972 Larry Perkins Elfin 600B Ford
1973 Leo Geoghegan Birrana 272 & 273 Ford
1974 Leo Geoghegan Birrana 274 Ford
1975 Geoff Brabham Birrana 274 Ford
1976 Graeme Crawford Birrana 273 Ford
1977 Peter Larner Elfin 700 Ford
1978 No championship
1979 Brian Shead Cheetah Mk6 Toyota
1980 Richard Davison Hardman JH1 Ford
1981 John Smith Ralt RT1 Ford
1982 Lucio Cesario Ralt RT3 Volkswagen
1983 Ian Richards Richards 201 Volkswagen
1984 Peter Glover Cheetah Mk7 Volkswagen
1985 Peter Glover Cheetah Mk8 Volkswagen
1986 Jonathon Crooke Cheetah Mk8 Volkswagen
1987 Arthur Abrahams Cheetah Mk8 Volkswagen
1988 Rohan Onslow Cheetah Mk8 Volkswagen
Ralt RT30/85 Volkswagen

CAMS recognition of the Australian Formula 2 Championship as a national title did not extend beyond 1988

Season Driver Car
1989 Kevin Weeks Ralt RT32-Volkswagen
1990–1995 No information available
1996 Bronte Rundle Reynard-Volkswagen
1997 Wayne Ford Ralt-Volkswagen
1998 David Bruce Reynard-Volkswagen
1999 Rod Anderson Reynard-Volkswagen
2000 Tom Brickley Kaditcha-Volkswagen
2001 Ian Black Reynard-Volkswagen
2002 Ted Dunford (New South Wales Championship) Reynard-Volkswagen
2002 Troy Chaplin (Queensland Championship) Ralt RT34 Volkswagen
2003 Ted Dunford Reynard-Volkswagen
2004 Kevin Lewis Cheetah-Volkswagen
2005 Greg Hunter Reynard-Volkswagen
2006 Kevin Lewis Cheetah-Volkswagen
2007 Edward Gavin Cheetah-Volkswagen
2008 Greg Muddle Ralt RT30-Volkswagen
2009 Greg Muddle Ralt RT30-Volkswagen

Australian Formula 2 lap records[edit]

Track Distance Driver Car Date Time
Adelaide International Raceway, Long Circuit 2.41 km Peter Glover Cheetah 52.5s
Calder Park Raceway, National Circuit 2.28 km D. Bruce Reynard 893-Volkswagen 19 May 1996 57.9272s
Calder Park Raceway, Club Circuit Lucio Cesario Ralt RT3-Volkswagen 42.0200s
Mallala Motorsport Park 2.20 km Barry Ward Reynard 893-Volkswagen 1m07.3s
Morgan Park Raceway 2.1 km Barclay Holden Van Dieman F2 1 March 2008 1m01.4639
Oran Park Raceway, South Circuit 1.96 km Arthur Abrahams Reynard 933 18 July 1993 0:39.9000
Sandown Raceway 3.1 km Barry Ward Reynard-Volkswagen 19 May 1991 1m:14.47
Winton Motor Raceway, National Circuit 3.0 km Paul Stephenson Dallara-Volkswagen June 1999 1m23.8310s
Symmons Plains Raceway 2.4 km Jon Crooke Cheetah Mk8 - Judd Golf VW 9 March 1996 54.73s
Baskerville Raceway 2.01 km Jon Crooke Cheetah Mk8 - Judd Golf VW 16 March 1986 50.24s
Surfers Paradise International Raceway 3.2 km Jon Crooke Cheetah Mk8 - Judd Golf VW 18 May 1986 1m07.3s
Oran Park 2.62 km Jon Crooke Cheetah Mk8 - Judd Golf VW 8 June 1986 1m05.8s
Lakeside International Raceway 2.4 km Jon Crooke / Arthur Abrahams Cheetah Mk8 - Judd Golf VW 15 June 1986 50.6s
Sandown Raceway 3.9 km Arthur Abrahams Cheetah Mk8 - Golf VW 14 September 1986 1m40.2s
Amaroo Park 1.946 km Arthur Abrahams Cheetah Mk8 - Golf VW 21 June 1987 46.52s
Winton Motor Raceway, Short Circuit 2.03 km Arthur Abrahams Ransberg Cheetah Mk8 - Golf VW December 1988 56.9600s
Eastern Creek Raceway 3.93 km Arthur Abrahams Ransberg Cheetah - Golf VW 25 August 1991 1m29.3500s
Wakefield Park 2.2 km Craig Smith Cheetah Mk8 - Golf VW 16 September 2001 59.0361s
Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit 4.445 km Chas Jacobsen 28 July 1999 1m33.4389s

List of manufacturers raced in Australian Formula 2[edit]

Australian manufacturers[edit]

Arbyen, Argus, ASP, Avanti, B.A.E., Birrana, Bowin, CBS, Cheetah, Crabtree, CRD, Elfin, Fielding, Hardman, HTG, Kaditcha, Liston, Macon, Mantis, Mildren, PBS, Rennmax, Richards, SAM, Sirch, Wren.

International manufacturers[edit]

Brabham, Chevron, Dallara, Lola, Lotus, Magnum, March, McLaren, Ralt, Reynard, Tiga, Van Diemen

Famous alumni (non champions)[edit]

John Bowe, Peter Brock, Alfredo Costanzo, Glenn Seton.

References[edit]

  1. ^ C.A.M.S. Official Organ, Racing Car News, December 1963, page 23
  2. ^ Australian Motor Manual, May 1965, pages 31-32
  3. ^ CAMS Manual of Motor Sport, 1964, page 49
  4. ^ a b c Australian Titles Retrieved from www.camsmanual.com.au on 9 August 2009
  5. ^ a b Pedr Davis, The Macquarie Dictionary of Motoring, 1986, page 172
  6. ^ a b CAMS Manual of Motor Sport, 1969, page 5
  7. ^ Jim Shepherd, A History of Australian Motor Sport, page 77
  8. ^ Jim Shepherd, A History of Australian Motor Sport, pages 77-78
  9. ^ Jim Shepherd, A History of Australian Motor Sport, page 78
  10. ^ Australian Competition Yearbook, 1975 Edition, pages 84-101
  11. ^ Evan Green’ World of Motor Sport, 1977, pages22-23
  12. ^ Australian Motor Racing Year 1987/88, page 228
  13. ^ Australian Motor Racing Year 1987/88, page 225
  14. ^ Australian Motor Racing Year, 1987/88, pages 240-243
  15. ^ Australian Motor Racing Year, 1988/89, pages 180-182
  16. ^ CAMS Manual of Motor Sport, 1989, page 75
  17. ^ 2 LITRE ENGINES VINDICATED - 31/5/1999 Retrieved from Internet Archive on 9 August 2009
  18. ^ FIA FORMULA 3 ACCEPTED IN AUSTRALIA - 30/4/2000 Retrieved from Internet Archive on 9 August 2009
  19. ^ CAMS Manual of Motor Sport, 2002, page 7-31 to 7-33
  20. ^ CAMS Manual of Motor Sport, 2003, page 7-31 to 7-32
  21. ^ Driver Retains Title by Mile, Sydney Morning Herald, Monday, 20 September 1965
  22. ^ Official Programme, Mallala Race Circuit, 11 October 1971, page 24

External links[edit]