Formula Holden

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Formula Holden
Motor racing formula
Category Open wheel car
Country or region Australia
New Zealand
South-east Asia
Championships Australian Drivers' Championship
Inaugural season 1989
Status Defunct
Folded 2007
Greg Murphy's Ralt RT23 Formula Holden
Reynard 92D
The Shrike NB89H designed by Adelaide TAFE students

Formula Holden was an Australian open wheel racing category introduced in 1989.

History[edit]

Known during its development as Formula Australia, it was initially for chassis constructed from aluminium only, running a 3.8 litre Buick V6 engine as it was then utilised in the new versions of the Holden VN Commodore. Many of the engines used in the category were built by Perkins Engineering, who normally built Group A Holden Commodores and V8 race engines for privateer touring car teams, as well as company owner, multiple Bathurst 1000 winner and ex-Formula One driver Larry Perkins. Early in 1990, Perkins was reported as saying that his Formula Holden engines were putting out approximately 320 bhp (239 kW; 324 PS).

Second-hand Formula 3000 chassis were targeted immediately as a cheap source of cars in addition to local constructors, and under CAMS rules, all cars had to be at least one year old. Formula Holden also used a Dunlop control tyre in its early years. For the 1992 season cars constructed from carbon fibre were allowed. In 2006 an engine upgrade was made available to the 3.6 litre Alloytec V6 engine, although take-up of the Alloytec V6 was far from universal. The engines were usually mounted in ex- Formula 3000 chassis, a large number of which were sourced from the Formula Nippon championship in Japan, but also included cars from other sources and a few specifically designed for the class, like the Australian designed Cheetah, Elfin, Spa (designed by F1 designer Gary Anderson), and the Shrike cars which were designed and built by technical students at the Croydon Park Institute of TAFE in Adelaide.

From its inception in 1989 until 2004 the formula was used to determine the winner of the Australian Drivers' Championship for the CAMS Gold Star, replacing Formula 2 which had been the Gold Star category in 1987 and 1988. From 2005 this title was moved to the Australian Formula 3 Championship.

From 1991 to 1995 the category was officially known as Formula Brabham [1] in honour of Australia's first ever Formula One World Champion Sir Jack Brabham, the only person in history to win the World Championship in a car of his own design in 1966. Sir Jack acted as the category patron for five seasons. In 1996 the name reverted to Formula Holden [1] and from the 2003 season the category was officially called "Formula 4000 powered by Holden".

The formula was also used for a 1993 Pan-Pacific series, several New Zealand Grands Prix, and Tasman Cup (Australia versus New Zealand) summer series. It was also proposed to be used for an Asian series based in China. With numbers dropping and the increasing prominence of Formula 3, the class was dropped by the CAMS sanctioning body after the 2005 season. In 2006, the category was run as part of the Australian Motor Racing Series under the sanctioning of the Australian Auto Sport Alliance (AASA) and at times the regular Formula 4000 field was complemented by vehicles competing in the new Oz BOSS category for open wheel racing cars. In 2007 numbers had dropped to the point they could no longer form races by themselves and were amalgamated into the OzBOSS category. As part of this amalgamation, the cars themselves were re-badged again as Formula 3000V6.

The drivers in the series in the 2000s were a mix of older drivers who owned their own cars, or very young Oceanic or South Asian drivers looking to make a name for themselves on the international scene. Although technically using cars just a step below Formula One, the lack of competition in the series means that drivers tended to progress from Formula 4000 to a minor series in Europe (Will Power - British Formula 3) or North America (Scott Dixon - Indy Lights). Alternatively drivers moved to any of the Australian sedan based championships such as V8 Supercars or Australian GT.

From 1 January 2012, Formula Holden cars with a competition history established prior to 31 December 1991 are eligible to compete in Group R "Historic Racing & Sports Racing Cars (post-1977)".[2] However, cars constructed with a full carbon tub are specifically excluded from this Group.[2]

Champions[edit]

Championship Category Name Champion Vehicle
1989 Australian Drivers' Championship Formula Holden Australia Rohan Onslow Ralt RT20
1990 Australian Drivers' Championship Formula Holden Australia Simon Kane Ralt RT21
1991 Australian Drivers' Championship Formula Brabham Australia Mark Skaife Spa FB003
1992 Australian Drivers' Championship Formula Brabham Australia Mark Skaife Spa FB003
1993 Australian Drivers' Championship Formula Brabham Australia Mark Skaife Lola T91/50
1994 Australian Drivers' Championship Formula Brabham Australia Paul Stokell Reynard 91D
1995 Australian Drivers' Championship Formula Brabham Australia Paul Stokell Reynard 91D
1996 Australian Drivers' Championship Formula Holden Australia Paul Stokell Reynard 91D
1997 Australian Drivers' Championship Formula Holden Australia Jason Bright Reynard 91D
1998 Australian Drivers' Championship Formula Holden New Zealand Scott Dixon Reynard 92D
1999 Australian Drivers' Championship Formula Holden New Zealand Simon Wills Reynard 94D
2000 Australian Drivers' Championship Formula Holden New Zealand Simon Wills Reynard 94D
2001 Australian Drivers' Championship Formula Holden Australia Rick Kelly Reynard 94D
2002 Australian Drivers' Championship Formula Holden Australia Will Power Reynard 94D
2003 Australian Drivers' Championship Formula 4000 New Zealand Daniel Gaunt Reynard 96D
2004 Australian Drivers' Championship Formula 4000 Australia Neil McFadyen Reynard 95D
2005 Australian Formula 4000 Championship (CAMS) Formula 4000 Australia Peter Hackett Reynard 96D
2006 Australian Formula 4000 Championship (AMRS) Formula 4000 Australia Derek Pingel Reynard 95D
2007 OzBoss Championship (AMRS) OzBoss Championships, F3000V6 class Australia Ty Hanger Reynard 95D

Cars used in Formula Holden[edit]

Cheetah Mk.9, Dome F102, Elfin FA891, Hocking 901, Hocking 911, Liston BF3, Lola T87/50, Lola T91/50, Lola T93/50, March 87B, Ralt RT4, Ralt RT20, Ralt RT21, Ralt RT23, Reynard 89D, Reynard 90D, Reynard 91D, Reynard 92D, Reynard 93D, Reynard 94D, Reynard 95D, Reynard 96D, Reynard 97D, Reynard 98D, Shrike NB89H, SPA 001, SPA 002, SPA 003

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Once bitten......twice as good!, Official Programme, Transurban Australian Grand Prix, Melbourne, 7 to 10 March 1996, pages 104-106
  2. ^ a b CAMS Bulletin Number: B11/127 Retrieved on 10 April 2012

External links[edit]