By on December 8, 2016

How To Build A Racing Car (Inverted)

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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7 Comments on “These Aussies are Building a High-Tech Racecar With A Beetle Engine, and They’re Documenting It On YouTube...”

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  • avatar

    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 .


    I so wanted to make it run and give it a spin .


    • 0 avatar

      They are limited to 1200cc and produce around 45 hp once the engine builder is done with them, at least in the U. S. They also use most of the Type 1’s suspension, transaxle, wheels, and brakes. I’m not familiar with the ruleset down under, it may be a little different than ours.

    • 0 avatar
      Chris Tonn

      I do believe the Australian series uses 1600cc engines, rather than the 1200 here.

      Perhaps they need the extra power to overcome the reverse toilet swirl?

      • 0 avatar

        Turns out there are both 1600 cc and 1200 cc classes in Australia.

      • 0 avatar

        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.

  • avatar

    ? does this mean it’ll be run with Positive Earthing too ? .

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