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Formula Atlantic open wheeler workshop in Sydney

Yes - if you have ever thought about owning an open wheel racing car you can. Our workshop can help service & maintain them. Look at Darren's Formula Atlantic
Car-workshop-for-open-wheel-racing-cars-in-Sydney-Swift-008-a-Formula-Atlantic

Open wheel single seater mechanical servicing in Sydney

  • A workshop that can do mechanical servicing for open wheeler racing cars
  • Mechanical maintenance, upgrades or rebuilds.
  • Race track preparation
  • Swift 008.a open wheeler recommission

If you have been to the ‘Our History‘ or ‘Our Team‘ pages you will see that we (George and Darren) are car nuts, but we try and also employ people who love their cars. This story is about Darren and his dream of owning an open wheel racing car. Depending on the type of single seater race car, our workload schedule and what you may require, we can help you with your race car too, have a chat so we can find out if there is a good fit.

Back to Darren’s Formula Atlantic; he had been searching for an open wheeler that would have similar performance to racing cars from the F2 and F3 days. He narrowly missed out on a Birrana, sister car to the one he and his Dad drove in the early 90’s. Although, this was fortunate because he then discovered an open wheeler that is pretty rare in Australia, a genuine ex SCCA Swift 008.a Formula Atlantic. Yes – he bought a real true wings and slicks open wheel racing car, with full ground effects (similar idea what the 2023 version of Formula 1 cars are running)

For those not familiar with Formula Atlantic, it was developed initially in the U.K. Conceived by John Webb of Brands Hatch 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. Formula Atlantic took off in the U.S. in 1976 and enjoyed strong fields and great racing right through to the current SCCA runoffs. 

The Swift 008.a is an open-wheel formula racing car, designed, developed and built by American company Swift Engineering, for use in the Formula Atlantic spec-series, between 1998 and 2001. It was powered by a naturally aspirated 1.6 L Toyota 4A-GE four-cylinder engine, producing 240-250 hp (180 kW), which drove the rear wheels through a 5-speed Hewland sequential gearbox.

This particular open wheeler was quite successful in the SCCA, and made its way to Australia in 2010, but saw little use. When Darren found it in 2020, it had not run for some years, so needed a full refresh before it would be track ready. The Toyota 4AGE engine was originally built by U.S. Atlantic specialists Lloynings and reportedly develops 250hp at 10,000 revs! In a chassis that weighs about 500kgs, with wings, slicks and huge downforce from the ground effects tunnels, that’s a potent combination.

Using an open wheel formula single seat race car in Sydney

You can actually buy and own an open wheel formula racing car in Sydney relatively easily. One of the most common places to find them for sale is my105.com or Race Cars Direct or Speed Sales as well as local car clubs, race category websites or local forums where you’ll quickly find a stack of different single seat race cars for sale.

While modern cars would probably need a crew to support it that included a mechanic, electronics specialists and/or a data analyst, the older cars that run simpler set ups using engines from say Ford or Toyota for example can be more manageable and accessible. Don’t be fooled though, these are quite unique racing cars and while many of the principles are the same as managing a normal car or even a touring car, you do need some level of knowledge to keep them running safely.

If you are starting out your journey then there are plenty of single seat racing car experiences available in NSW to try one out. Most providers will have Formula Fords in their fleet which don’t have huge aero but does give you a first taste of driving an open wheeler which is a step up from go karting.

Different race tracks in Australia host practice days that will have single seater specific groups that would enable you to get some track time, like the ARDC’s Private Practice Days. Depending on the open wheeler that you own & the specification that it is in you may be able to race it in various Australia categories such as Group F for Formula Fords, or Group K, L or M in historics. Motorsport Australia has all of the information relating to the classes on their website here

You will never be alone though, so for example there are clubs like the HSRCA that actively support different categories of race cars. With a focus on historic cars it means you can buy an old single seater and still be able to use it actively. There are also some big events around Australia during the year like the Philip Island Classic which will typically have classes for single seaters, even with mixed categories.

Peninsula Sports Cars is by no means a motorsport focussed workshop but if you are thinking about owning one to do some casual track days or even join us when we head out to historic race meetings then we may be able to support you, let’s chat about it.

 

recommissioning and servicing a formula atlantic open wheel racing car

  • New suspension
  • Electricals checked
  • Engine removed from tub
Car-workshop-for-open-wheel-racing-cars-in-Sydney-engine-replacement

So far the recommission of this Formula Atlantic open wheeler has progressed slower than we would have liked (yes we’ve been too busy working on our customer projects, no the rumours of George trying to lose weight to fit into the seat are not true) but this is the work that we have done so far;

  • Ohlins TT44 Dampers fully rebuilt by Racing Shocks Australia
  • All electrics checked and traced for faults
  • Steering wheel recovered
  • New harness sourced and fitted
  • New plumbed in fire extinguisher sourced and installed
  • Engine, transaxle, gearbox and rear suspension assembly removed from tub
  • Drive belts, seals and gaskets all replaced
  • Oil pump refurbed
 

The next phase will be to rejoin the rear sub assembly with the tub and work through all fluids, lines and hoses replacement. Once that is done we’ll check all the suspension components, brakes for age, cracks etc and get ready for the first shakedown run.

We’ll come back and update this with a few more progress notes.

Photos of the Formula Atlantic open wheeler in Sydney

can you Buy and maintain an open wheel, single seat race car in Sydney?
Darren-Freeman-driving-a-Birkin-S3-Clubman-on-Mount-Panorama

If you are thinking of buying an open wheeler to use for track days, or have one that needs to be recommissioned, we might be able to help you. While most of the work we do is focussed on road cars we have the equipment and expertise to also work on track specific cars. 

We own a mix of touring cars, sports cars and open wheel single seater race cars which we do track days or race ourselves.

What we typically do when someone asks us about getting a race car recommissioned is;

  • Provide an initial free phone consultation to understand the history of the vehicle, your requirements and if we are a good fit to be working together, and determine if we have the right expertise to help with the type of race car you have.
 
  • We’ll ask you to bring the car to our workshop to have a closer look at it or secure photos and videos to help assess what needs to be done and to work out the logistics.
 
  • Clearly define a scope of work that covers all mechanical or cosmetic requirements as per your brief.
 
  • Once the scope of work is agreed to and the vehicle is with us we create a detailed job sheet & begin capturing photos of each element that is being worked on. You get to literally follow the journey of what is being done and why.
 
  • If we discover anything that is a surprise or not in the brief then we’ll contact you to talk through the available options before we commence any further work.
 

So yes, you may be able to unleash those child hood dreams of throwing a race car around a track with support from our workshop. Lets have a discussion to see what is possible.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO GET A RACING CAR RECOMMISSIONED?
Caterham-7-sports-car-race-track-recommission-in-Sydney

Recommissioning a racing car in Australia is a meticulous process that involves restoring a race car to operational condition after it has been inactive or stored for an extended period. This procedure is crucial to ensure the vehicle’s safety, performance, and compliance with relevant regulations before it can be used for competitive racing events in the country.

Peninsula Sports Cars can help you through a recommissioning process which typically follows a structured sequence of steps, adhering to rigorous standards and guidelines. Some of this will be dictated by the state of the vehicle, available parts and your desired outcome or intended use. 

Some of the steps involved would include;

Assessment and Documentation:
The initial step in recommissioning a racing car involves a thorough assessment of the vehicle’s current condition. This can include reviewing the car’s history, specifications, and any modifications that may have been made since its last use. We can review records that come with the vehicle and/or help piece together its history. All of this is optional as our focus will be on the mechanical aspects.

Safety Inspection:
Safety is of paramount importance in any form of motorsport if you intend to drive the vehicle in any way. Sometimes owners will restore or recommission a race car as a static vehicle for display. If you intend driving it then the car must undergo a comprehensive safety inspection to identify and rectify any potential hazards or deficiencies. This includes scrutinising the chassis, roll cage if it has one, safety harnesses, fire extinguishing systems, and any other safety equipment like brakes, lines, hoses etc.

Mechanical Restoration:
The mechanical components of the racing car, such as the engine, transmission, suspension, brakes, and steering may require thorough inspection, restoration and/or replacement if necessary. Any worn-out or damaged parts we will recommend what approach to take depending on what it is and what condition it is in. For old race cars outright performance will take a second priority vs reliability and safety. Unless of course you will be competing heavily with the vehicle and want to be a the pointy end of any field.

Electrical Systems:
The car’s electrical systems, including wiring, sensors, and electronic components, must be inspected for functionality and compliance with safety standards. Wiring looms should be checked for wear and tear, and any damaged components should be repaired or replaced. Sometimes these will be in areas that are hard to see or from the outside look ok but further inspection will reveal otherwise.

Fuel and Fluid Systems:
The fuel and fluid systems, including the fuel tank, brake lines, and cooling system, should be inspected for leaks or corrosion. These systems must meet the safety and performance requirements mandated by motorsport regulations but common sense will always prevail from a pure safety perspective. Many of these items can be replaced.

Tires and Wheels:
Racing car tires and wheels play a crucial role in performance and safety. These components should be inspected for wear, damage, or even small cracks. Replacing tyres will depend on how the vehicle will be used and whether you need racing slicks or something less performance orientated.

Compliance with Regulations:
Recommissioning a racing car in Australia may necessitate adherence to strict motorsport regulations and safety standards. The car should comply with specific category rules and technical regulations established by the governing body of the respective racing series. For historic racing categories this can sometimes come down to decals, major mechanical components etc in terms of preserving the original state of the vehicle when it was raced. For some categories this is less important but modern safety equipment will still be needed.

Testing and Tuning:
After the restoration and maintenance work is completed, the racing car should undergo extensive testing and tuning. This involves ensuring that all components work harmoniously to optimise performance, handling, and reliability. Typically this will be done at our workshop but there is the option for us to help you at the race track which can be added to our service provisions.

Logbook and Documentation:
A comprehensive logbook detailing all recommissioning activities, modifications, and inspections should be maintained in an ideal world. This logbook is essential for demonstrating compliance with regulations and facilitating future scrutineering checks but may not be necessary depending on the type of race car and how you intend using it.

That is a brief explanation about recommissioning a racing car in Australia and the actual process will vary based on where your vehicle is located, what it is, its age & your intended purpose. The last factor to consider will be budget and we can help you structure a scope of work that addresses the most important items first and work through anything else you need after that.

Either way it is possible to get a racing car recommissioned and ready for use or demonstration.

Enquire about getting work done to your vehicle

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Peninsula Sports Car Services
Peninsula Sports Car Services

A team of passionate car enthusiasts providing a range of services and support for the local classic car community in Australia

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