Formula Palmer Audi

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Formula Palmer Audi
Formula Palmer Audi 2008 logo.jpg
former FPA logo - used up to 2008
Category Open-wheeled single seater
Country United Kingdom, mainland Europe
Inaugural season 1998
Folded 2010
Teams 1[1][2]
Engine suppliers Audi 1.8 litre 4cyl 20v Turbo
300 bhp, 360 bhp on overboost[3]
Tyre suppliers Avon
Last Drivers' champion United Kingdom Nigel Moore
Official website FormulaPalmerAudi.com

Formula Palmer Audi, officially abbreviated to FPA,[4] and sometimes informally abbreviated to Palmer Audi, was a one-make class of open wheel Formula racing founded in 1998 by former Formula One driver, Jonathan Palmer. It was based in the United Kingdom (UK), and was organised and operated by MotorSport Vision.[2] It had a high proportion of British drivers and venues, but it also featured international drivers, and races in mainland Europe.

The series was most famous for producing ex-F1 driver and IndyCar race-winner Justin Wilson, and triple World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx.[5]

In November 2010, Jonathan Palmer announced the end of the series with the series' chassis being dismantled for use in other areas of the MotorSport Vision organisation.[6]

Introduction[edit]

The series was originally set up as a cost-effective rival to Formula Three in the UK. After a brief foray into Europe, FPA evolved into a series predominantly for gentleman drivers looking to combine business with pleasure.[citation needed]

However, having produced nominees for the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Award for five consecutive years from 2004 to 2008, including 2007 winner Stefan Wilson,[4][5] FPA began to re-emerge as a viable option for young aspiring drivers on the path to Formula One.[4] This was aided by scholarship deals that were announced between FPA and the Stars of Tomorrow karting programme, and between FPA and the FIA Formula Two Championship,[2] which established a clear progression path for young drivers into top-level single seaters.

FPA used to promote itself as a cost-effective form of open wheel racing, with the 2009 season costing driver £55,000 plus VAT,[2] whereas similar series such as Formula Renault or Formula BMW required estimated budgets two to three times higher in order to race with a front-running team.[citation needed]

FPA race weekend hospitality was provided on a par with FIA Formula Two Championship, and was able to accommodate 300 guests trackside.[1]

Race cars[edit]

Formula Palmer Audi car
FormulaPalmer Audi Blah!.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer chassis: Van Diemen International,[7]
engine: AUDI AG, prepared & built by Mountune Racing
Production 1998-present
Body and chassis
Class Open-wheeled single seat race car
Body style 1-seat aluminium honeycomb monocoque[3]
Layout Longitudinal mid engine,
rear-wheel drive
Powertrain
Engine Audi 1.8 litre 4cyl 20v Turbo[3]
Transmission 5-speed Hewland FGC transaxle with LSD[3]
Dimensions
Wheelbase 2,667 mm (105.0 in)[3]
Length 4,390 mm (172.8 in)[3]
Width 1,830 mm (72.0 in)[3]
Kerb weight 530 kg (1,168 lb) (dry weight)[3]
Emma Selway driving in the 2008 Formula Palmer Audi championship

Although each driver has their own personal sponsors and paint scheme on their car, all FPA cars were developed and tested, and are maintained and operated by Palmer Sport at their workshop at Bedford Autodrome.[1] And although all cars are prepared for each race weekend in an identical manner, each drivers' car has their own personal mechanic[1] in order to tailor their own personal set-up preferences. The cars operate with an identical weight, with lighter drivers carrying more ballast weight to counter heavier drivers.[1] The telemetry for each car is provided by a Stack data logging system which monitors major parameters of engine operation and G-force, this data can be overlaid post-test/qualify/race sessions with fastest times to evaluate drivers individual performance.[1]

The FPA race car is a true 'slicks and wings' package. It uses a custom-developed Avon slick tyre and 13-inch wheels, with 'wet' Avon race tyres also being available.[3] Aerodynamics are assisted with fully adjustable front and rear wings, along with a stepped floor and rear diffuser.[3]

Powertrain[edit]

As indicated by the name of the championship, there is a professional agreement with AUDI AG. The cars are powered by a 300 brake horsepower (224 kW; 304 PS) Audi 1.8 litre, inline-four cylinder 20 valve double overhead camshaft turbocharged[3] production petrol engine.[4] Prepared and built by Mountune Racing, the engine also features a driver operated turbo 'boost' button, which temporarily gives the car a 60 brake horsepower (45 kW; 61 PS) increase.[4] This engine can achieve a 0 to 100 kilometres per hour (0.0 to 62.1 mph) in 2.8 seconds,[3] 0 to 160 kilometres per hour (0.0 to 99.4 mph) in 6.2 seconds,[3] and is capable of propelling the cars to over 270 kilometres per hour (168 mph).[3] Further engine detail includes a Pi Research Pectel motorsport electronic engine control unit and a Garrett T34 turbocharger with an intercooler.[3] Like virtually all 'Formula' cars, the internal combustion engine is mid-mounted behind the driver, and is orientated longitudinally.

The transmission is a magnesium-cased Hewland FGC five-speed transaxle, which includes a limited slip differential.[3]

Chassis[edit]

The chassis and body is made of aluminium honeycomb monocoque, the basic structure of which complies with the current FIA Formula Three safety regulations.[3] The car was manufactured by, and based on an original design by Van Diemen International.

Suspension & brakes[edit]

The FPA cars feature fully independent suspension based on a double wishbone design, with geometry which includes anti-squat and anti-dive pushrod operation.[3] Ohlins two-way adjustable dampers, along with adjustable anti-roll bars complete the suspension system.[3]

The brakes feature disc brakes all round, with four-piston calipers and radially ventilated and floating discs.[3] A cockpit sited driver adjustable brake bias control is also included.[3]

FPA race weekend[edit]

FPA race weekends normally take place over two days, but may be spread over three if the series is supporting an international event such as A1 Grand Prix,[2] Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters or the World Touring Car Championship. After free practice, drivers take part in two 20-minute qualifying sessions, for which they have an unlimited number of laps at their disposal. The first qualifying session sets the grid for Race 1, while the second sets the grid for Race 2.

Races are 35 miles (56 km) in length, with a time limit of 30 minutes. In the event of three races being held over a weekend, each driver's fastest lap from Race 2 counts at their qualifying time for Race 3.

Points are awarded to the first 19 finishers of each race in the following order:

Position 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th 13th 14th 15th 16th 17th 18th 19th
Points 24 20 18 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Drivers must take the chequered flag to score points. Retirees do not score, even if fewer than 19 drivers finish the race.

Another interesting feature is that each driver is supplied with just one set of slick Avon tyres to last them for the entire weekend of practice, qualifying and racing. While tyres may be replaced in the event of puncture, extensive damage or safety issues, any 'flat-spotting' of tyres done by a driver is not sufficient for an exchange.

Features of Formula Palmer Audi[edit]

Formula Palmer Audi has always been run as an 'arrive-and-drive' series, and was one of the first major motor-racing series to do so. In order to keep a level playing field as much as possible, all the cars are run by a specialist team of FPA mechanics, rather than having separate teams.[1][4] This concept of a large group of deliberately equalised cars has since been adopted by A1 Grand Prix.

The series has raced on many different circuits in the UK and Europe throughout its ten-year history. These include the following:

FPA championships are also known for close title battles. In 2004, Jonathan Kennard beat Rob Jenkinson to the series title by just two points. The following year Joe Tandy and David Epton finished tied on points, Tandy winning the championship courtesy of having won more races over the course of the season.

The 2009 season consisted of 20 races at seven circuits.[2] The championship winning driver receives a £50,000 scholarship prize intended to help with entry into the next level FIA Formula Two Championship. Furthermore, the top three championship drivers all receive an official Formula Two test.[2]

Autumn Trophy[edit]

After each FPA season, a mini-series known as the Autumn Trophy is held in early November. Originally called the Winter Series, it involved two meetings of three races each, held at different UK circuits on consecutive weekends - often Brands Hatch and Snetterton.

The Autumn Trophy often features the Team USA Scholarship, a programme set up by Champ Car journalist and commentator Jeremy Shaw to allow promising young American drivers the chance to gain experience of European racing. Originally designed to send American drivers to the Formula Ford Festival, drivers such as Jimmy Vasser, Phil Giebler, A. J. Allmendinger and J. R. Hildebrand have taken part in the Scholarship.

In 2007, a new feature was introduced to the Autumn Trophy - the FPA Shootout. This was a separate competition within the second weekend of the Autumn Trophy at Snetterton where the driver that accumulated the most points from two out of the weekend's three races received automatic nomination for the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award. In 2007, the FPA Shootout winner was Nick Tandy.

FPA on TV[edit]

At present, Formula Palmer Audi is broadcast on Motors TV,[8] a pan-European subscription satellite station. Highlights and interviews are shown as part of a 30-minute programme. For the Championship, each programme covers one race, while the Autumn Trophy features two races to each programme. Up until the end of the 2006 Championship, the programmes were presented by radio DJ and former Top of the Pops presenter David Jensen. For the 2006 Autumn Trophy, the format was changed to a presenter-less magazine-type format, as David's son Viktor Jensen had stopped racing in FPA. All the races are commentated on by David Addison.

Champions[edit]

Season Champion Runner-Up Third Autumn Trophy/Winter Series
1998 United Kingdom Justin Wilson[5] United Kingdom Darren Turner United Kingdom Richard Tarling United Kingdom Derek Hayes
1999 United Kingdom Richard Tarling[5] United Kingdom Richard Lyons Republic of Ireland Damien Faulkner United States Paul Edwards
2000 Republic of Ireland Damien Faulkner[5] United Kingdom Justin Keen United Kingdom Robbie Kerr United States Philip Giebler
2001 United Kingdom Steve Warburton[5] United Kingdom Stephen Young United Kingdom Gideon Cresswell
2002 United Kingdom Adrian Willmott[5] United States Joel Nelson Russia Roman Rusinov United Kingdom Ben Lewis
2003 United Kingdom Ryan Lewis[5] United Kingdom Adam Smith United Kingdom Ryan Hooker United Kingdom Jonathan Kennard
2004 United Kingdom Jonathan Kennard[5] United Kingdom Rob Jenkinson Saudi Arabia Karim Ojjeh United Kingdom Stephen Young
2005 United Kingdom Joe Tandy[5] United Kingdom David Epton United Kingdom Stuart Prior United Kingdom Josh Weber
2006 United Kingdom Jon Barnes[5] Iceland Viktor Jensen South Africa Chris Hyman United States Dane Cameron
2007 United Kingdom Tim Bridgman[5] United Kingdom Stefan Wilson United Kingdom Luciano Bacheta United Kingdom Richard Keen
2008 United Kingdom Jason Moore[5] United Kingdom Tom Bradshaw United Kingdom Jolyon Palmer Republic of Ireland Niall Quinn
2009 United Kingdom Richard Plant Lithuania Kazim Vasiliauskas United Kingdom Adam Foster
2010 United Kingdom Nigel Moore France Maxime Jousse Spain Ramón Piñeiro

Notable FPA drivers[edit]

Many famous names in top-level motorsport have taken part in FPA on their way to the top. These include the following:[5]

Driver Major Achievements
United Kingdom Jon Barnes 2008 British GT Champion, FIA GT3 driver
Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen A1 Team The Netherlands driver, Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters driver, Porsche Supercup Champion 2008, 2009
United Kingdom Adam Carroll GP2 Series driver, Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters driver, A1 Team Ireland driver
France Romain Dumas 24 Hours of Le Mans driver, ALMS driver
United States Phil Giebler A1 Team USA driver, Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year
United Kingdom Rob Huff World Touring Car Championship driver, SEAT Cupra Championship driver
United Kingdom James Jakes F3 Euroseries driver, British F3 driver
Australia Christian Jones A1 Team Australia and Asian F3 Champion
United Kingdom Robbie Kerr A1 Team Great Britain driver, Formula Renault 3.5 Series driver
United Kingdom Richard Lyons Formula Nippon Champion 2004, A1 Team Ireland driver
United Kingdom Gary Paffett Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters Champion 2005, McLaren F1 test driver
Italy Giorgio Pantano Formula One driver, GP2 Champion 2008
United Kingdom Andy Priaulx World Touring Car Championship Champion 2005, 2006, 2007
Russia Roman Rusinov Midland F1 Racing test driver
United Kingdom Darren Turner 24 Hours of Le Mans driver, BTCC driver
United Kingdom Danny Watts Le Mans Series driver, A1GP driver
United Kingdom Justin Wilson Formula One, Champ Car and IndyCar
Sweden Björn Wirdheim Formula 3000 Champion 2003, Champ Car driver
United States Roger Yasukawa IndyCar driver

Notable FPA records[edit]

The following records apply only to Formula Palmer Audi Championship races, and not the Formula Palmer Audi Autumn Trophy.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Formula Palmer Audi Championship - Operation". formulapalmeraudi.com. MotorSport Vision. Retrieved 2010-01-06. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Formula Palmer Audi Championship - The Package". formulapalmeraudi.com. MotorSport Vision. Retrieved 2010-01-06. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u "Formula Palmer Audi Championship - The FPA Car". formulapalmeraudi.com. MotorSport Vision. Retrieved 2010-01-06. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Formula Palmer Audi Championship - What is FPA?". formulapalmeraudi.com. MotorSport Vision. Retrieved 2010-01-06. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Formula Palmer Audi Championship - Hall of Fame". formulapalmeraudi.com. MotorSport Vision. Retrieved 2010-01-06. 
  6. ^ Turner, Kevin (18 November 2010). "Palmer calls time on FPA". Autosport (Haymarket Publications) 202 (7): p. 89. 
  7. ^ "FIA picks Palmer as F2 supplier". GrandPrix.com. Inside F1, Inc. 2008-09-15. Retrieved 2010-01-06. 
  8. ^ "Formula Palmer Audi Championship - TV Coverage". formulapalmeraudi.com. MotorSport Vision. Retrieved 2010-01-06. 

External links[edit]