These Aussies Are Building a High-Tech Racecar With A Beetle Engine, and They're Documenting It On YouTube

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
these aussies are building a high tech racecar with a beetle engine and theyre

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.

It’s a fascinating look at the process of building a racecar, and one that applies no matter the formula. Follow along with the project on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

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  • -Nate -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

    • See 3 previous
    • Turboencabulator Turboencabulator on Dec 08, 2016

      @Chris Tonn You guys should check out Project Binky on YouTube. They're stuffing the drivetrain of an ST-185 Celica GT-4 into a 1980's Austin Mini. It's from the gang at Bad Obsession Motorsports. It's funny and very instructive! It would be worth it to make a post about them too.

  • -Nate -Nate on Dec 08, 2016

    ? does this mean it'll be run with Positive Earthing too ? . . -Nate

  • Syke Congratulations on not mentioning the political possibility. I'm sure that during the reading of the article, I'm not the only one noticing the states primarily listed are primarily considered conservative states. And they're not all states bordering Canada.
  • Redapple2 I want my 5 minutes bck
  • Paul Alexander I'd love to buy a car without infotainment.
  • EBFlex Chrysler has the best infotainment by far. The older uConnect system was bulletproof and never had issues. The newer one based on android auto is a big step backward but it's still very good. Nothing else comes close to Chrysler's infotainment.
  • EBFlex People don't want compromises. They want a vehicle that will match what they have now with ICE which includes very short refueling times, long range, and batteries that don't degrade over a rather short time. In the midwest, people don't live on top of each other. People like their space and are spread out. 30+ mile commutes are common. So is outdoor living which includes towing.Government cars make sense for the coasts where people love to live on top of each other and everything is within walking distance. They don't make sense in areas where it's cold and 40% of your range could be lost. Government cars are just not viable right now for the majority of people and the sales reflect it.