VOLKSWAGEN MOTORSPORT TO CELEBRATE 50th ANNIVERSARY OF FORMULA VEE AT ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA By: Volkswagen
• Former stars of Formula Vee and Formula Super Vee will take to the track in historic cars, 50 years after the first official FV race
- Formula Vee will celebrate a big birthday at the Rolex 24 at Daytona this coming weekend (24–27January). Fifty years after the debut of the formula as an officially-sanctioned Sports Car Club of America race series, Volkswagen will return to the place where it all started with a number of significant car and drivers from the past. Among those present will be several ex-FV drivers who went on to become international motorsport stars: Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk; Indycar star and team owner Michael Andretti; Daytona champion Didier Theys; two-time Daytona winner Elliott Forbes-Robinson; former DTM and sportscar stars Hans-Joachim Stuck and Dieter Quester; and rally icon Markku Alen.
'Volkswagen can look back on major success on the motorsport scene. However, the continuous promotion of young drivers has been even more successful,' said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Jost Capito. 'Fifty years ago, Formula Vee was pioneering in this regard. Many eventual motorsport legends took their first steps towards a career in motor racing with us. Many of these legends will be brought together for the revival in Daytona and I'm really looking forward to this reunion.'
Formula V in the USA – the success story that began back in 1963
The first-ever SCCA Formula Vee race was held at the Daytona Speedway in August 1963, although cars had raced around the south-eastern U.S. prior to that event. Armed with the 40 horsepower, 1.2-liter engine and the running gear from the Volkswagen Beetle, motorsport enthusiasts put together extremely cost-effective single-seater racing cars—and launched a boom that was soon to spill over to Europe. On July 4th, 1965, Formula Vee made its official European debut in front of 50,000 spectators at the Norisring in Nuremberg, Germany.
This proved to be the start of a huge success story, to which a new chapter was added from 1971 onwards with the Formula Super Vee series, which ran parallel to the established Formula Vee 1300. FSV cars used a 1.6-liter Volkswagen engine that initially generated 120 hp, a figure that later rose to close to 200 hp.
Formula One world champions Niki Lauda, Nelson Piquet, Emerson Fittipaldi, and Keke Rosberg all began their careers in Formula Vee championships, as did Le Mans winners Gijs van Lennep, Dr. Helmut Marko, and Jochen Mass. Indycar stars such as Michael Andretti, Al Unser Jr., Arie Luyendyk, and Scott Dixon competed in FV and FSV in their formative years. As such, Formula Vee formed the basis for the tradition of promoting young drivers in motorsport, one that lives on today through the likes of the German ADAC Formula Masters 'powered by Volkswagen.'
The best Formula Vee racing cars from Europe and the U.S. will complete a 'lap of honor' ahead of the start of the 24-hour race at Daytona, driven by some of the heroes from the series' heyday.