These Aussies Are Building a High-Tech Racecar With A Beetle Engine, and They're Documenting It On YouTube
High-tech computer-aided design has made relative child’s play out of laying out new ideas when building cars and eliminates tedious, expensive, and time-consuming trial-and-error. Some Australians have taken to YouTube to show off what they can do when they turn their multi-core processors toward the most basic form of motorsport: Formula Vee.
For those who aren’t hip to amateur motorsports, Formula Vee is a class of single seat, open-wheel racecars powered by Volkswagen air-cooled flat four engines, such as those found in the original Beetle. Engine size and modification regulations vary between nations and sanctioning bodies, but in general, these are very low-powered racecars.
Aerodynamics, light weight, and handling balance can make a significant difference when all the cars have maybe 60 horsepower, so using computer power to maximize design isn’t as surprising as it might seem. Thomsen Motorsport has detailed the process of its design, which at this point runs and drives, but hasn’t yet turned a wheel in anger.
The builders start from a wooden plug on which they form the body, and continue to design and build the steel tube-frame chassis, exhaust system, subframe for the powertrain, suspension, and even a custom fuel cell.
One of the most recent videos steps away from the computer screen and looks at a shakedown run in a parking lot — sure to draw the attention of the local constabulary in the oft-litigious United States, but apparently quite acceptable Down Under, even with its notorious anti-hooning laws.
-Nate on Dec 08, 2016
I thought Formula Vee was limited to 1200 CC (40hp) VW engines ? . The image shown has a twin port and I haven't seen the 'D' cased 1200 twin port engine since the 1980's.... A young guy I know found and bought an original Formula Vee car and let it sit in the corner of his shop unloved until he left it behind when he sold the whole shop out of boredom . GRrrrrrrr. I so wanted to make it run and give it a spin . -Nate
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