Formula Atlantic

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2007 Formula Atlantic car Robert Wickens Champ Car Atlantic 2007 Houston.jpg
2007 Formula Atlantic car

Formula Atlantic is a specification of open-wheel racing car developed in the 1970s. It was used in professional racing through the IMSA Atlantic Championship until 2009 and is currently primarily used in amateur racing through Sports Car Club of America Formula Atlantic.



The history of Formula Atlantic begins with the SCCA Formula B class, created in 1965 for single-seat formula cars with engines not exceeding 1600cc in capacity. Prior to Formula Atlantic, professional Formula B races were held in the United States from 1965 to 1972, firstly with the SCCA's poorly supported Formula A, then as part of the SCCA Grand Prix Championship in 1967 and 1968 and then in their own independent series from 1969 to 1972.

Formula Atlantic as a class evolved in the United Kingdom in 1971 from the US Formula B rules, with 1600cc production-based twin-cam engines (initially Cosworth Mk.XIII based on Lotus-Ford Twin Cam and then Cosworth BDD, however other engines like Alfa Romeo were also eligible). Conceived by John Webb of Brands Hatch (who would later also develop the Sports 2000 class) as a category for national competitors with the performance near a Formula Two car but running costs at or below that of a contemporary Formula Three car. A single Yellow Pages championship ran in 1971-2, with a rival BP backed series appearing in 1973. 1974 saw the BP series changing sponsor to John Player, and the Yellow Pages series becoming backed by John Webb's MCD organisation and Southern Organs; in practice most top drivers competed in both series and there were no date clashes. Only one series ran in 1975-6, in the final year taking the title Indylantic and adopting Indianapolis-style single-car qualifying. But the formula was under threat from Formula 3 and no series ran in 1977-78. A BRSCC-organized club racing series returned in 1979 with initial backing from Hitachi and continued to 1983, with diminishing grids and few new cars appearing.

As a result of its similarity to Formula 2 and Formula 3 in terms of chassis regulations, Formula Atlantic typically used chassis closely related to these cars—with performance somewhere in between the two—so most of the manufacturers were familiar from those classes, particularly the likes of Brabham, Lotus, March, Chevron early on, with Ralt and then Reynard later. US manufacturer Swift came to displace the British imports and dominate in North America. Several smaller marques also appeared.

The first professional races run under Formula Atlantic rules in North America were conducted in 1974 by the CASC in Canada (now ASN Canada), drawing much attention and large fields due to its national CTV television coverage. IMSA in the United States took advantage of the large number of teams and organized their own series in 1976.

During these years, the series attracted guest drivers from Europe, including Formula One, particularly at the Trois-Rivières street race in Quebec, Canada. Guest drivers included James Hunt, Jean-Pierre Jarier, Riccardo Patrese, Patrick Depailler, Jacques Laffite, Didier Pironi and Vittorio Brambilla.

In 1977, the SCCA sanctioned the US events and in 1978 the CASC and SCCA series merged, and conducted the series jointly until 1983, when it ran as the Formula Mondial North American Cup and was won by Michael Andretti. The series could not sustain the success of earlier seasons and was cancelled for 1984. Formula Mondial was an international category introduced by the FIA in 1983 with the intention of replacing both Formula Atlantic and Formula Pacific, the latter being a variant of Formula Atlantic that had been introduced in a number of Pacific Basin countries in the late 1970s.

Current FA SCCA Club Racing

2011 SCCA National Championship Runoffs winner Michael Mallinen Michael Mallinen Formula Atlantic winner 2011 SCCA National Runoffs.jpg
2011 SCCA National Championship Runoffs winner Michael Mällinen

SCCA Formula Atlantic cars are allowed wings and ground effects. They use either the Toyota 4AGE engine or the Cosworth BDD. Cars meeting Super Vee specifications were also allowed but are now rarely seen. Prior to 2006 these rules were also largely used in the professional series except that all cars had to run a Fuel Injected 4AGE. This meant that competitive amateur teams could also participate in professional races and that old pro series equipment could be raced at the amateur level. However, in 2006 the pro series introduced a spec chassis, the Swift Engineering 016.a and a new spec engine, the Mazda-Cosworth MZR. The result was that the cars used in the pro series were drastically different than the amateur cars. In 2009, to shore up small race fields, the pro series introduced a "C2 class" for amateur level cars, primarily the Swift 014.a, the dominant chassis in amateur competition at the time. However the C2 class saw few entries and was abandoned in the middle of the season.

Since 2011 SCCA Club Racing has allowed the Swift 016.a and Mazda-Cosworth MZR, albeit with an inlet restrictor to maintain parity with the older Toyota-powered cars. As of 2017 most nationals competitors were running the 016.a-Mazda combination. Also eligible for the class are Mazda rotary powered cars made for the Pro Mazda Championship. In 2018 the professional series will switch to a new car and all of the rotary cars will be available for club racing use, although they appear to not be competitive with cars built to the FA specification, even older ones. Additionally, in 2019 the SCCA will allowed sealed Mazda MZR engines to be used in older chassis, such as the Swift 014.a, as parts availability for the Toyota engines has become an issue.

The minimum weight of a Toyota or BDD powered Atlantic car is 1230 lbs. (558 kg) with driver. [1] The SCCA considers it its fastest club racing class. [2] Prior to gaining its own class, the Formula SCCA car raced in Formula Atlantic, where it was uncompetitive. [3]

Revived Atlantic Championship

With the end of the IMSA and Champ Car sanctioned professional Atlantic Championship after the 2009 season, the promoters of the F2000 Championship Series, Formula Race Productions, promoted a new pro series in 2012 using SCCA rules and sanctioned by the SCCA. The series saw few entrants and folded after one season. However, due to increasing interest at the amateur level, on October 1, 2013, it was announced that the series would return in 2014 with a twelve race, six weekend race calendar. [4] Sanctioning will transition to the United States Auto Club in 2017. [5]


In 2012 and 2014, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion historic automobile racing event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California had a tribute to Formula Atlantic as a part of its scheduled groups. [6]

Formula Atlantic at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs

Formula B
1965 Flag of the United States.svg Earl Jones LeGrand Alfa Romeo
1966 Flag of the United States.svg Don Morin Brabham Ford
1967 Flag of the United States.svg Chuck Dietrich McLaren Ford
1968 Flag of the United States.svg Roger Barr Crosslé Ford
1969 Flag of the United States.svg Bill Monson Brabham Ford
1970 Flag of the United States.svg Skip Barber Tecno Ford
1971 Flag of the United States.svg Bob Lazier March 71B Ford
1972 Flag of the United States.svg Chuck Sarich March 722 Ford
1973 Flag of the United States.svg Ken Duclos Brabham BT40 Ford
1974 Flag of the United States.svg Ken Duclos Brabham BT40 Ford
1975 Flag of the United States.svg Bobby Rahal March 75B Ford
1976 Flag of the United States.svg Bobby Brown March Ford
1977 Flag of the United States.svg Kevin Cogan Ralt RT1 Ford
1978 Flag of the United States.svg Jerry Hansen Lola T460 Ford
Formula Atlantic
1979 Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Tim Coconis Ralt RT1
1980 Flag of the United States.svg Ken Dunn Ralt RT1
1981 Flag of the United States.svg Hubert Phipps Ralt RT4 Ford
1982 Flag of the United States.svg James King Ralt RT4
1983 Flag of the United States.svg Riley Hopkins Ralt RT4
1984 Flag of the United States.svg Michael Angus Ralt RT4
1985 Flag of the United States.svg Michael Angus Ralt RT4
1986 Flag of the United States.svg Chris Clark Ralt RT4
1987 Flag of the United States.svg Russell Newman Ralt RT4
1988 Flag of the United States.svg John Thompson Swift DB4
1989 Flag of the United States.svg Wayne Cerbo Ralt RT4
1990 Flag of the United States.svg Joseph Hamilton Swift DB4
1991 Flag of the United States.svg Jordan Harris Swift DB4
1992 Flag of the United States.svg Christopher Fahan Swift DB4
1993 Flag of the United States.svg Greg Ray Swift DB4
1994 Flag of the United States.svg Stan Wattles Ralt RT40
1995 Flag of the United States.svg Dan Carmichael Ralt RT40
1996 Flag of the United States.svg Steve Forrer Ralt RT40 Ford
1997 Flag of the United States.svg Steve Forrer Ralt RT40 Ford
1998 Flag of the United States.svg B.J. Zacharias Ralt RT41
1999 Flag of the United States.svg Brian French Ralt RT41
2000 Flag of the United States.svg Larry Connor Ralt RT41
2001 Flag of the United States.svg Larry Connor Ralt RT41
2002 Flag of the United States.svg Mike Biangardi Ralt RT41
2003 Flag of the United States.svg Rennie Clayton Ralt RT41
2004 Flag of the United States.svg Bob Stallings Swift 014.a Toyota
2005 Flag of the United States.svg Graham Rahal Swift 014.a Toyota
2006 Flag of the United States.svg Mirl Swan Swift 008.a Toyota
2007 Flag of the United States.svg Hans Peter Swift 014.a Toyota
2008 Flag of the United States.svg David Grant Swift 014.a Toyota
2009 Flag of the United States.svg Mirl Swan Swift 014.a Toyota
2010 Flag of the United States.svg David Wilcox Swift DB4 Toyota
2011 Flag of the United States.svg Michael Mallinen Swift 014.a Toyota
2012 Flag of the United States.svg Jason Byers Swift 014.a Toyota
2013 Flag of Turkey.svg Sedat Yelkin Swift 014.a Toyota
2014 Flag of the United States.svg Connor Kearby Swift 016.a Mazda-Cosworth
2015 Flag of the United States.svg Tyler Hunter Swift 014.a Toyota
2016 Flag of the United States.svg Ryan Norman Swift 016.a Mazda-Cosworth
2017 Flag of the United States.svg Keith Grant Swift 016.a Mazda-Cosworth
2018 Flag of the United States.svg Mirl Swan Swift 016.a Mazda-Cosworth
2019 Flag of the United States.svg Flinn Lazier Swift 016.a Mazda
2020 Flag of the United States.svg Spencer Brockman Swift 014a Mazda

See also

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