Formula Atlantic

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.

2007 Formula Atlantic car


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, which Roger Barr won in a Twin-Cam powered Crossle 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 Three 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 Two and Formula Three 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 RacingEdit

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 from 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 ChampionshipEdit

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 RunoffsEdit

Year Winner Car Engine
Formula B
1965   Earl Jones LeGrand Alfa Romeo
1966   Don Morin Brabham Ford
1967   Chuck Dietrich McLaren Ford
1968   Roger Barr Crosslé Ford
1969   Bill Monson Brabham Ford
1970   Skip Barber Tecno Ford
1971   Bob Lazier March 71B Ford
1972   Chuck Sarich March 722 Ford
1973   Ken Duclos Brabham BT40 Ford
1974   Ken Duclos Brabham BT40 Ford
1975   Bobby Rahal March 75B Ford
1976   Bobby Brown March Ford
1977   Kevin Cogan Ralt RT1 Ford
1978   Jerry Hansen Lola T460 Ford
Formula Atlantic
1979   Tim Coconis Ralt RT1
1980   Ken Dunn Ralt RT1
1981   Hubert Phipps Ralt RT4 Ford
1982   James King Ralt RT4
1983   Riley Hopkins Ralt RT4
1984   Michael Angus Ralt RT4
1985   Michael Angus Ralt RT4
1986   Chris Clark Ralt RT4
1987   Russell Newman Ralt RT4
1988   John Thompson Swift DB4
1989   Wayne Cerbo Ralt RT4
1990   Joseph Hamilton Swift DB4
1991   Jordan Harris Swift DB4
1992   Christopher Fahan Swift DB4
1993   Greg Ray Swift DB4
1994   Stan Wattles Ralt RT40
1995   Dan Carmichael Ralt RT40
1996   Steve Forrer Ralt RT40 Ford
1997   Steve Forrer Ralt RT40 Ford
1998   B.J. Zacharias Ralt RT41
1999   Brian French Ralt RT41
2000   Larry Connor Ralt RT41
2001   Larry Connor Ralt RT41
2002   Mike Biangardi Ralt RT41
2003   Rennie Clayton Ralt RT41
2004   Bob Stallings Swift 014.a Toyota
2005   Graham Rahal Swift 014.a Toyota
2006   Mirl Swan Swift 008.a Toyota
2007   Hans Peter Swift 014.a Toyota
2008   David Grant Swift 014.a Toyota
2009   Mirl Swan Swift 014.a Toyota
2010   David Wilcox Swift DB4 Toyota
2011   Michael Mallinen Swift 014.a Toyota
2012   Jason Byers Swift 014.a Toyota
2013   Sedat Yelkin Swift 014.a Toyota
2014   Connor Kearby Swift 016.a Mazda-Cosworth
2015   Tyler Hunter Swift 014.a Toyota
2016   Ryan Norman Swift 016.a Mazda-Cosworth
2017   Keith Grant Swift 016.a Mazda-Cosworth
2018   Mirl Swan Swift 016.a Mazda-Cosworth
2019   Flinn Lazier Swift 016.a Mazda
2020   Spencer Brockman Swift 014.a Mazda
2021   James French Ralt RT41 Toyota
2022   Alex Mayer JDR Ford

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Introduction to SCCA Racing rules, North American Motorsports Pages, Retrieved 2010-01-02
  2. ^ Club Racing Archived 2009-10-10 at the Wayback Machine, Sports Car Club of America, Retrieved 2010-01-02
  3. ^ Formula SCCA goes national Archived 2011-06-14 at the Wayback Machine, Sports Car Club of America, December 12, 2006, Retrieved 2010-01-02
  4. ^ Atlantic Championship series expands for 2014, Racer, October 1, 2013, Retrieved 2013-10-02
  5. ^ USAC to Sanction Atlantic, F2000, F1600 Championships Archived 2017-03-10 at the Wayback Machine, Atlantic Championship, December 12, 2016, Retrieved 2017-01-30
  6. ^ "Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion Friday notebook". Racer. August 18, 2012. Retrieved August 29, 2012.

External linksEdit