Light weight, low drag. This is Formula Ford.

Time Attack Builders recently spent a day at Wakefield Park with Formula Ford constructor Listec Racing Cars. Listec are a small Australian race car manufacture specialising in the design and manufacture of Formula Fords. For those of you new to Formula Ford, the category has been alive since the 1960s with very few rule changes over the years, but with a very strict set of regulations that allows small manufacturers to compete against one another in a day and age where spec one make categories seem to be the norm.

What we love about Formula Ford is the speed these cars can generate with what is a very basic (although very much up to date) suspension and chassis. In 2015 Formula Ford moved from the Avon Formula Ford specific tyre to the more durable and widely used Yokohama Advan A048 – a tyre also used a time attack over the years. While these race cars are very different to you average Time Attack Build, there can be many lessons learned. These cars absolutely prove what a good suspension mixed with light weight and aerodynamic efficiency (these cars are NOT allowed to produce downforce so all emphasis is on reducing drag) can do. These cars produce somewhere around 120 horsepower. They weigh 500kg with driver (240hp per tonne). They do run a relatively big tyre for a light car (205/60R13 front and 225/60R13 rear) but it can’t be called crazy. So how is it that a vehicle with such low power to weight, with no downforce can produce a lap time at SMP (the World Time Attack Challenge event is held at this circuit for reference) of 1.34? I think you’ll guess its not all that horsepower….

But this is what happens when you have an engine with limited power, you need to find a way to make speed. Formula Fords have been finely honed to make the most of their tyres through their suspension and drag reduction. Most Formula Ford these days run a double wishbone setup acting through a pushrod operated rocker assembly. Nothing new here. Where they spend their money is on top spec dampers. In the case of the Listec they are 4 way Ohlins.

The Listec runs a single damper on the front for heave and pitch, with a smaller twin spring and their own unique damper arrangement for roll control. No sway bar is used at the steered end of the car.

The rear setup is more conventional. Double wishbones with rocker activated coilover dampers. Like many race cars the Listec sway bar is of the blade type, manufactured in house like the rest of the car.

Fabrication is where the team at Listec specialise. Every component in the suspension is manufactured by the team other than wheel bearings, brake calipers, discs and pads, dampers, springs and hoses. Everything you see is manufactured in house.

The 1600cc Ford Duratec engine sits inside the chromoly tube frame chassis, itself clothed in fibreglass panels (made in house). An interesting note is that the use of Carbon Fibre is banned for cost reasons. The gearbox is the same unit that has been used throughout the world for over 20 years. The Hewland LD200 is a 4 speed dog engagement H-pattern transaxle.

Formula Ford is one of the only open chassis classes left in the world of open wheeler racing. Young drivers and engineers alike love the series for its flat out racing and the ability to try new things. Listec design and build these cars for the love of the racing and the engineering, and as such have a loyal following amongst Formula Ford fans. We can only hope Formula Fords continues for another 30 years and produces some more leading drivers and engineers.

So while you’re planning your time attack build in the future, keep in mind the ethos of the Formula Ford. Light weight, efficient aero and well designed suspension play a much bigger part than big horsepower.

Driveline

Engine: Ford Duratec 1600. Sealed unit from Ford. Approx 120hp. Dry sump. Control manifold. Listec design exhaust manifold.

Gearbox: Hewland LD200 dog engagement 4 speed manual. Various ratios depending on circuit.

Clutch: AP Racing

Driveshafts: Custom light weight

Unsprung

Front Brakes: 2 pot AP calipers, 280mm floating discs, series spec brake pads

Rear Brakes: 2 pot AP calipers, 280mm floating discs, series spec brake pads

Front Uprights: Listec fabricated

Rear Uprights: Listec fabricated

Wishbones/arms: Listec fabricated with spherical bearings

Dampers/Springs: 4 way Ohlins

Wheels: Performance wheels (Formula Ford specific)

Tyres: Yokohama Advan A048 S

Inside

Roll Cage: Listec designed roll hoop and full chassis

Steering Wheel: Momo competition

Seat: Custom poured foam

Harness: Sabelt

Dash: Motec SDL3

Logger: Motec SDL3

Wiring/PDM: Listec manufactured, deutsche connectors used throughout.

Aerodynamics

Listec designed and manufactured low drag bodywork. Downforce is not allowed.

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