Formula Junior

Formula Junior

Formula Junior is a formula racing class first adopted in October 1958 by the CSI ("International Sporting Commission", the part of the FIA that then regulated motorsports). The class was intended to provide an entry level class where you could use inexpensive mechanical components from ordinary automobiles. The idea to form the new class came from Count Giovanni "Johnny" Lurani who saw the need of a class for single-seater racing cars where younger drivers could take their first steps. It is often speculated that this class was founded as a reaction to Italy's lack of success in the 500cc Formula Three, and although Italian marques dominated the first year of the formula, they were soon overtaken by British constructors.

The rules for the class required the cars to be powered by production-based engines with a volume of 1000 cc with a 360 kg (792 lb) car or 1100 cc with a 400 kg (880 lb) car - in practice the latter was used in almost all successful FJs (the USA adopted other cc/weight ratios but they were rarely used). Parts like engine block, head and cylinders had to come from a production car; single or twin overhead camshafts, limited slip differentials and modifications to the number of main bearings were all forbidden. The brakes and transmission also had to be production-based. Constructors were allowed to increase the number of gears, but only inside a production gearbox casing. Formula Junior was also the first racing class to require roll cages. In Italy the popular Fiat 1100 engine was the obvious choice and in 1958 there were few other suitable engines in Italy; elsewhere the 1000 cc Mini engine as well as the DKW and the Saab three-cylinder two-stroke engines were obvious choices, as was the new oversquare Ford engine from the 105E Anglia. The first Italian FJ cars were very much in the front-engined tradition of contemporary Grand Prix cars; the first international Formula Junior championship in 1959 was won by the Swiss driver and engineer Michael May in a Automobili Stanguellini. The British constructors were initially not particularly interested; the 500cc Formula Three was still just about viable, and small-capacity sports car racing had become the accepted route into racing. As the formula gathered momentum, though, constructors started to take note.

In the UK Frank Nichols of Elva produced the Elva 100 series powered by a BMC A-Series (Sprite or Mini) engine or a DKW two-stroke engine tuned by Gerhard Mitter in Germany. The Elva became first mass-produced British Formula Junior car. Other early British designs included the Gemini (earlier called Moorland) and Lola Mk 2.

Although these early British FJs were front-engined, the F1 car was undergoing a mid-engined revolution and there were also strands of thinking in FJ that stemmed from the 500cc Formula Three where rear-engined cars had been the norm. It was not long before Cooper started to produce a car similar to their contemporary F1/F2 thinking, later F3s and "bobtail" sports car fitted with BMC A-series engines. On the engine side, Keith Duckworth of Cosworth Engineering took an interest in Formula Junior and managed to get hold of two of the new engine to be used in the 1959 Ford Anglia. Lotus also came into the game with their Lotus 18, a simplified derivative of their Formula One and Formula Two chassis fitted with a 997cc Ford Anglia engine. Later Lotus also raced in Formula Junior with Lotus 20, Lotus 22 and Lotus 27. These two marques (particularly Lotus-Ford), able to virtually mass-produce their cars and with close links to their Grand Prix teams, soon came to dominate Formula Junior on an international level, with other

In Sweden Saab produced the Saab Formula Junior, mainly to test new engine designs.

In Russia the most used engine came from the Moskvitch.

Through the formula's lifetime, though, the number of manufacturers increased. By the end of 1960 there were over 100 manufacturers worldwide, and by the end of 1963 the number had increased to almost 500 - but the vast majority of race wins went to the British constructors of mid-engined cars. Brabham's first racing car was the mid-engined BT1 (originally called the MRD, but renamed when it was realised that the initials had unfortunate connotations in French) in 1961. By 1963 the class had become expensive, the scope for wins in homebuilt or amateur cars was diminishing and the cost of tuning a 1000 cc engine to get up to 120 hp was getting too high. The 1963 series was the last series in the UK and Europe.

In the early 1960s, after Formula One was reduced to a 1.5l engine capacity and Formula Two disappeared, Formula Junior suffered from playing two roles, both an introduction to single-seater racing for novices, and the only international single seater category below F1. The latter role meant that costs were pushed up too high for many amateurs (competing against works or near-works Coopers and Lotuses meant that there was little chance of success in major races), and it was decided that two new formulae were needed to replace FJ; one-litre Formula Two and Formula Three were reintroduced for 1964, with F2 allowing pure-bred race engines and aimed very much at professional and serious up-and-coming drivers, and F3 essentially being a slightly tamer version of FJ for amateurs and those at an earlier stage in their career.

Slightly later in the 60s, classes based on the same original idea as FJ evolved as low-cost introductions to single-seater motor racing, notably Formula Ford and Formula Vee.

Because many cars and engines are still readily available, Formula Junior is now a popular category in historic racing.

Drivers with background in Formula Junior includes Jim Clark, Peter Arundell, Trevor Taylor, John Surtees (whose association with the formula was very brief!), Denny Hulme, Ed Leslie, Pat Pigott and Jack McAfee. German Gerhard Mitter successfully raced (40 wins) and sold (130) two-stroke-engines for FJ.

External links


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Fórmula Junior 1600 Española — El Campeonato de España Júnior 1600 también llamado Fórmula Junior 1600 Española fue un campeonato de Fórmula Renault disputado en España entre los años 2002 a 2004 en circuitos españoles. Este torneo se hiba recuperar para el año 2011 gracias a… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Fórmula Júnior FR2.0 Portuguesa — La Fórmula Junior FR 2.0 Portuguesa fue un campeonato de Fórmula Renault que únicamente se disputó en 2008. La serie corrió sobre todo en circuitos de Portugal y Jerez. Circuitos Estoril (2008) …   Wikipedia Español

  • Saab Formula Junior — Constructeur Saab …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Bandini formula junior — The Bandini formula junior is a racing car model produced from 1959 until 1962 by Bandini Cars in Forlì.The formula was a junior category promotional designed Europe and United States to start young drivers racing career, allowing a deserved… …   Wikipedia

  • Saab Formula Junior — The Saab Formula Junior was a 1960 car by the Swedish car maker Saab.In 1960 the Saab 93f was being replaced by the Saab 96 and a new 841 cc engine was developed. The competition and testing departments of Saab did not want to see any series… …   Wikipedia

  • 1963 Australian Formula Junior Championship — The 1963 Australian Formula Junior Championship was open to racing cars complying with Australian Formula Junior regulations. The championship was decided over a single race which was staged at the Warwick Farm circuit in New South Wales on 8… …   Wikipedia

  • Formula Three — Formula Three, also called Formula 3 or F3, is a class of open wheel formula racing. The various championships held in Europe, Australia, South America, and Asia form an important step for many prospective Formula One drivers. Formula Three has… …   Wikipedia

  • Formula Renault — is a class of formula racing founded in 1971. [ [http://www.renault 2000/presentation.php Présentation] (Presentation) from the French Championship] It is popular in Europe and other countries. Regarded as an entry… …   Wikipedia

  • Fórmula 2 — Temporada actual Temporada 2011 de Fórmula 2 Categoría Monoplazas Fundación 1967 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Formula Ford — is a single seater, open wheel class in motorsport which exists in some form in many countries around the world. It is an entry level series to motor racing, in which in the past many drivers aspired to one day reach Formula One (today karting is …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.