Super Formula

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This article is about a Japanese formula racing series. For for the mathematical concept regarding a generalization of the superellipse, see superformula.
Super Formula
Super Formula Series logo.gif
Category Single seaters
Country Japan Japan
Inaugural season 1973
Drivers 19
Teams 11
Constructors Dallara
Engine suppliers Toyota, Honda
Tire suppliers Yokohama
Drivers' champion Japan Hiroaki Ishiura
Teams' champion Petronas Team TOM'S
Official website superformula.net
Motorsport current event.svg Current season

Super Formula, formerly known as Formula Nippon, is a type of formula racing and the top level of single-seater racing in Japan.

Formula Nippon evolved from the Japanese Formula 2000 series begun in 1973 by way of the Japanese Formula Two and Japanese Formula 3000 championships. For the most part, the Japanese racing series have closely followed their European counterparts in terms of technical regulations, but there have been some important exceptions.

History[edit]

Formula 2000 (1973–1977)[edit]

Background[edit]

In Japan, though touring and sports car racing was very popular through the 1960s, formula car racing was less so in those days. Even the Japanese Grand Prix lost its popularity after changing its format from touring/sports car racing to formula car racing in 1971.

In 1973, the Japan Automobile Federation (JAF) established the "All-Japan Formula 2000 Championship" as the first top-level formula racing series in Japan, to promote popularity of formula car racing in the country.

The series was created based on the European Formula Two Championship. But the JAF approved use of purpose built racing engines was different from the European F2 series which only allowed race engines based on mass production models. Due to this difference, the series did not fit in with the Formula Two regulations in those days. Therefore, the series was renamed "Formula 2000", not "Formula Two".

Formula Two (1978–1986)[edit]

The revised Formula Two regulation in 1976 removed the restriction about engines which had limited the use of engines based on mass production models. With this change the reasoning behind the name "Formula 2000" disappeared. It led to the series being renamed the "All-Japan Formula Two Championship" from 1978.

1987 championship[edit]

When European Formula Two ended in 1984, its Japanese counterpart did not follow suit immediately. The JAF considered starting a new Formula Two series from 1988. However, all entrants ran Formula 3000 cars in 1987. So, the 1987 Formula Two Championship was cancelled due to no entry of any cars for that format.

Formula 3000 (1987–1995)[edit]

Switching to the open Formula 3000 standard in 1987, the "All-Japan Formula 3000 Championship" started in 1988. Once again, Japanese and European regulations paralleled one another until 1996, when the International Formula 3000 series became a one-make format to lower costs.

Thanks to the bubble economy and Formula One-fad in Japan, the series had many entrants and investors. It attracted many promising young drivers outside of Japan to compete in the series. Inevitably, the end of such phenomena led to the decline of the series.

Formula Nippon (1996–2012)[edit]

The previous Formula Nippon logo.

In the mid-1990s, the Japanese Formula broke away, changing the form of the series to "Formula Nippon". The new Japan Race Promotion, formed by Fuji Television, became the promoter with the recognition of the series by the JAF as the Authority Sport Nationale (ASN) of Japan.

In the 2000s, sports car racing became more popular in Japan, and many Formula Nippon drivers doubled-up in the Japanese Super GT championship.

The 2006 season got off to one of the strangest starts in motorsport history. Because of heavy rain, the opener at Fuji was called off after two safety car laps, and Benoît Tréluyer was awarded the win with half points awarded.

Cars[edit]

The previous Formula Nippon chassis, the Swift FN09 (also known as the Swift 017.n), was introduced in the 2009 season and raced until the end of the 2013 season.

Until recently, Formula Nippon was an open formula, where a variety of chassis builders and engine manufacturers could compete. Chassis were supplied by Lola, Reynard, and G-Force, while Mugen-Honda supplied the vast majority of the engines (though Cosworth engines were found in the Formula 3000 era). However, with the bankruptcy of Reynard in 2002, and the withdrawal of G-Force a year earlier, Formula Nippon once again followed F3000's lead in becoming a one-make series. Formula Nippon cars were now all Lola B03/50 chassis powered by Mugen-Honda engines; however, unlike F3000, engines in Formula Nippon are open-tuned by private companies.

In 2006 Formula Nippon underwent a drastic revision of its regulations. The current Lola B03/50 chassis was replaced by a new Lola FN06 chassis, while the engine formula underwent drastic revision. Engine blocks were provided by Toyota and Honda, using the same engine block specifications as found in the 2005 Indy Racing League, with open-tuning still permitted.

Swift Engineering in San Clemente, California produced the FN09 chassis that was used from 2009 through 2013.

Scoring System[edit]

  • Points are awarded in line with the standard FIA system used from 2003 to 2009, but with a bonus point given for pole position.
Position 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th Pole
Points 10 8 6 5 4 3 2 1 1

Super Formula (2013– )[edit]

Start of the race at the 2014 Motegi round.

Cars[edit]

The base chassis for the series is the Dallara SF14, which was unveiled in Tokyo on 25 March 2013. The car weighs 650 kilograms, and is powered by two-litre single turbo-charged engines from Honda and Toyota, basically the same engines used in Super GT GT500 cars, and very similar to the specification to be used in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (any DTM or Super GT500 manufacturer can participate). It also has a drag reduction system similar to that used in Formula One.

Though the chassis is designed by Dallara, 30% of the car is manufactured in Japan.[1] This current vehicle features the theme of speed-up from previous cars.

Comparable to a contemporary spec-series Indycar, a fast lap time at the Suzuka Circuit in a Super Formula spec-series Dallara, approximately 1:37.000 in qualifying, would be roughly 5 seconds slower than a 2014 specification Formula 1 machine.

Drivers[edit]

However, despite the more technically demanding regulations, the Japanese top-level formula series remains a national series, with second tier status compared to the pan-European GP2 Series and its predecessor Formula 3000. Foreign drivers have always been regular participants in the Japanese championships, and there have been several drivers to come from a Japanese Formula 3000 or Formula Nippon drive to a prominent Formula One role; the best-known of these are Eddie Irvine, Ralf Schumacher, the 1996 Formula Nippon champion, and Pedro de la Rosa, the 1997 Formula Nippon champion.

Champions[edit]

Season Series Name Drivers' Champion Team Champion
Driver Team Chassis* Engine* Tyre*
1973 All-Japan Formula 2000 Japan Motoharu Kurosawa Heroes Racing March 722 BMW M12/6 B Not awarded
1974 All-Japan Formula 2000 Japan Noritake Takahara Takahara Racing March 842 BMW M12/6 B
1975 All-Japan Formula 2000 Japan Kazuyoshi Hoshino Victory Circle Racing March 742 BMW M12/6 B
1976 All-Japan Formula 2000 Japan Noritake Takahara Heroes Racing Nova 512 BMW M12/7 B
1977 All-Japan Formula 2000 Japan Kazuyoshi Hoshino Heroes Racing Nova 512B
Nova 532P
BMW M12/7 B
1978 Japanese Formula Two Japan Kazuyoshi Hoshino Heroes Racing Nova 532P
Nova 522
BMW M12/7 B
1979 Japanese Formula Two Japan Keiji Matsumoto Team LeMans March 782
March 792
BMW M12/7 D
1980 Japanese Formula Two Japan Masahiro Hasemi Tomica Racing Team March 802 BMW M12/7 B
1981 Japanese Formula Two Japan Satoru Nakajima i&i Racing Ralt RH6/80
March 812
Honda RA261E B
1982 Japanese Formula Two Japan Satoru Nakajima Team Ikuzawa March 812
March 822
Honda RA262E B
1983 Japanese Formula Two United Kingdom Geoff Lees John Player Special Team Ikuzawa Spirit 201
March 832
Honda RA263E D
1984 Japanese Formula Two Japan Satoru Nakajima Heroes Racing March 842 Honda RA264E B
1985 Japanese Formula Two Japan Satoru Nakajima Heroes Racing with Nakajima March 85J Honda RA264E
Honda RA265E
B
1986 Japanese Formula Two Japan Satoru Nakajima Heroes Racing with Nakajima March 86J Honda RA266E B
1987 Japanese Formula 3000 Japan Kazuyoshi Hoshino Hoshino Racing March 87B
Lola T87/50
Honda RA387E B
1988 Japanese Formula 3000 Japan Aguri Suzuki Footwork Sports Racing Team March 87B
Reynard 88D
Yamaha OX77 B
1989 Japanese Formula 3000 Japan Hitoshi Ogawa Auto Beaurex Motor Sport Lola T88/50
Lola T89/50
Mugen MF308 D
1990 Japanese Formula 3000 Japan Kazuyoshi Hoshino Cabin Racing Team with Impul Lola T90/50 Mugen MF308 B
1991 Japanese Formula 3000 Japan Ukyo Katayama Cabin Racing Team with Heroes Lola T90/50
Lola T91/50
Cosworth DFV B
1992 Japanese Formula 3000 Italy Mauro Martini Acom Evolution Team Nova Lola T91/50
Lola T92/50
Mugen MF308 B
1993 Japanese Formula 3000 Japan Kazuyoshi Hoshino Nisseki Impul Racing Team Lola T92/50 Cosworth DFV B
1994 Japanese Formula 3000 Italy Marco Apicella Dome Dome F104 Mugen MF308 D
1995 Japanese Formula 3000 Japan Toshio Suzuki Hoshino Racing Lola T94/50 Mugen MF308 B
1996 Formula Nippon Germany Ralf Schumacher X-Japan Racing Team LeMans Reynard 96D Mugen MF308 B X-Japan Racing Team LeMans
1997 Formula Nippon Spain Pedro de la Rosa Shionogi Team Nova Lola T97/51 Mugen MF308 (B) Shionogi Team Nova
1998 Formula Nippon Japan Satoshi Motoyama LEMONed Racing Team LeMans Reynard 97D (Mugen MF308) (B) LEMONed Racing Team LeMans
1999 Formula Nippon Netherlands Tom Coronel PIAA Nakajima Racing Reynard 99L (Mugen MF308) (B) PIAA Nakajima Racing
2000 Formula Nippon Japan Toranosuke Takagi PIAA Nakajima Racing Reynard 2KL (Mugen MF308) (B) PIAA Nakajima Racing
2001 Formula Nippon Japan Satoshi Motoyama Team Impul Reynard 99L (Mugen MF308) (B) Team 5Zigen
2002 Formula Nippon Republic of Ireland Ralph Firman PIAA Nakajima Racing Reynard 01L (Mugen MF308) (B) PIAA Nakajima Racing
2003 Formula Nippon Japan Satoshi Motoyama Team Impul (Lola B3/51) (Mugen MF308) (B) Team Impul
2004 Formula Nippon United Kingdom Richard Lyons DoCoMo Team Dandelion Racing (Lola B3/51) (Mugen MF308) (B) Team Impul
2005 Formula Nippon Japan Satoshi Motoyama Mobilecast Team Impul
arting Racing Team with Impul
(Lola B3/51) (Mugen MF308) (B) Mobilecast Team Impul
arting Racing Team with Impul
2006 Formula Nippon France Benoît Tréluyer Mobilecast Team Impul (Lola B06/51 (FN06)) Toyota RV8J (B) Mobilecast Team Impul
2007 Formula Nippon Japan Tsugio Matsuda Mobilecast Team Impul (Lola B06/51 (FN06)) Toyota RV8J (B) Mobilecast Team Impul
2008 Formula Nippon Japan Tsugio Matsuda Lawson Team Impul (Lola B06/51 (FN06)) Toyota RV8J (B) Lawson Team Impul
2009 Formula Nippon France Loïc Duval Nakajima Racing (Swift 017.n (FN09)) Honda HR09E (B) Nakajima Racing
2010 Formula Nippon Brazil João Paulo de Oliveira Mobil 1 Team Impul (Swift 017.n (FN09)) Toyota RV8K (B) Mobil 1 Team Impul
2011 Formula Nippon Germany André Lotterer Petronas Team TOM'S (Swift 017.n (FN09)) Toyota RV8K (B) Petronas Team TOM'S
2012 Formula Nippon Japan Kazuki Nakajima Petronas Team TOM'S (Swift 017.n (FN09)) Toyota RV8K (B) DoCoMo Team Dandelion Racing
2013 Super Formula Japan Naoki Yamamoto Team Mugen (Swift 017.n (SF13)) Honda HR12E (B) Petronas Team TOM'S
2014 Super Formula Japan Kazuki Nakajima Petronas Team TOM'S (Dallara SF14) Toyota RI4A (B) Petronas Team TOM'S
2015 Super Formula Japan Hiroaki Ishiura Cerumo Inging (Dallara SF14) Toyota RI4A (B) Petronas Team TOM'S

* The ( ) indicates there were no other supplier or a model in the year.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sam (26 March 2013). "2014 Super Formula concept revealed". Racecar Engineering. 

External links[edit]