From the class’s inception just after World War II until the early sixties, Formula 3 cars were limited to 500cc. Virtually all of these engines were liberated from motorcycles, such as this Manx Norton engine. Eventually, as the British and European economies improved and automotive technology grew more sophisticated, the concept was abandoned and “Formula 3” came to be something altogether different. But stars such as Sterling Moss, Jim Russel, and Ken Tyrrell got their start in single-cylinder 500s, not mention the Cooper Car Company.
Conversation Starter: What modern motorcycle engine would you build an economy open-wheel race series around? Talk amongst yourselves.
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Suzuki’s Hayabusa has found it’s way into several cars already. Mostly Super 7s.
Enlightened self-interest compels me to recommend the Yamaha WR450:
As usual, it’s already been done. See the SCCA series: Formula 1000
“Formula 1000, also known as USF1000, is an open wheel SCCA race class. Powered by 1000cc motorcycle engines and utilizing full racing aerodynamics, chassis tuning, suspension and brakes, the single seat USF1000 cars are capable of reaching speeds in excess of 150 miles per hour. While the 190 horsepower generated by these motors might not immediately grab the attention of some racers, when it’s installed in a race-ready car that weights 1000 pounds (with the driver in it), some quick math should indicate that Formula 1000 cars have a fairly impressive power-to-weight ratio. As one of the fastest growing formula car classes in the United States with more active car builders than any other open wheel class in the world, the Formula 1000 series attracts experienced amateur racers who’re serious about going fast.
The most popular engine?
1000cc motorcycle engines. The most commonly used is the 2007-08 Suzuki GSX-R1000, along with similar 1000cc motors from Kawasaki, BMW, Honda, and Yamaha.
Output: 180-190 horsepower
If we constrain it to 500cc, and open up the definition of ‘modern’, I’d say 85 horsepower and 50 ft-lbs in a 2-stroke V4 should get things going. If you can find two of them, that’s all you need for a race.
US soldiers are going to exercise in Norway this winter, not sure if this is part of “Trident Juncture”. Either way, before they are let lose on Norwegian roads, they are undergoing some of the education that Norwegian driving school students must pass. For a video of sliding Hummers, click here:
As a historic aside, Formula 500 builders provided a steady supply of Norton “Featherbed” rolling frames to motorcycle builders because they could only get engines by buying complete bikes, Combine this with powerful Triumph engines in frames with bad handling and you get the legendary Triton, combining a Triumph engine with a Norton frame and suspension.
Or the Norimp. Not many 100-120hp bike engines in the 60s
I think a 650 class limited to big singles like the DR650 or KLR650 or even a big bore Buell Blast motor might be interesting for a cheap entry-level open wheel racing class. Liter bike engines in a Formula Jr. chassis would be incredibly quick – quicker than the original F-Jrs and much quicker than Formula Vs.
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