Last updated on February 22nd, 2023 at 01:49 pm
The 2023 season has already seen one long-running car being retired from iRacing series in the shape of the Pontiac Solstice. Now as iRacing tease a new Formula Ford, it suggests the same fate might fall on the Skip Barber Formula 2000 in the near future.
The Formula Ford class of single seater, open-wheel racing has been running since a first event at Brands Hatch on July 2nd, 1967. And despite the name, it’s not a one-make series with the freedom to pick from popular chassis manufacturers and other technical items. It began by using 1600cc Ford Kent engines, but evolved through 1800cc Zetecs, before returning to the original capacity with the Ford Duratec in 2006, and the EcoBoost in 2012 which introduced a turbo charger for the first time.
With various series running around the world since the 1970s, there continues to be championships for each era of engine, with the highlight of the season being the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch which attracts entries for the historic Kent cars, along with races for the more modern power plants.
The British Formula Ford Championship was replaced by the F4 British Championship in 2015 with different cars and regulations. But since it formally started in 1976, champions include Ayrton Senna, Eddie Irvine, Jenson Button, Mauricio Gugelmin, and Bertrand Gachot are among the names familiar to motorsport fans.
Performance is likely to be similar to the existing Skip Barber Formula 2000, which was based on a similar approach, but with a 2.0 litre Dodge engine and a rear wing. Which suggests the Ford might replace the Skippy as a natural progression from the Formula Vee. And that does make some sense, as although the American car has featured in the career of drivers including Juan Pablo Montoya, Marco Andretti, A.J Allmendinger and more, circuit racing tends to have more of a European following compared to oval racing in the U.S.
And with various series and one-off events still being held around the world for the Formula Ford, including the SCCA F1600 Championship Series, it makes more sense to adopt the model than update the Skippy. Especially as the winner is eligible for the Road to Indy ladder system, along with the BRSCC and SMVR Formula Ford winners in the UK, the Scottish Motor Racing Club Formula Ford 1600 Championship title holder, and champions in series in Canada, Australia, India, Mexico, New Zealand, Northern Ireland and Brazil.
Given that the Skip Barber Formula 2000 is a paid addition to your iRacing garage, we’d imagine the new Formula Ford will also cost the usual price of $11.95, although there may be a discount if you’ve only recently bought the Skippy. And as an archived legacy car, you’ll still be able to race the Skip Barber in private events and leagues. There’s no release date shared by iRacing yet, but we’d imagine it could be included in the 2023 Season 2 update.
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