To this day, Formula Vee remains the most cost‐effective category to enter the world of national circuit racing in South Africa.
There are various ways one could enter the sport and compete, depending on the level of commitment, knowledge of the cars, period of commitment and, of course, budget.
This guideline serves to give a newcomer to Vees a general idea of what is involved, including costs and infrastructure required. Costs mentioned in this document may vary with the market.
AVENUES OF CHOICE
Formula Vee cars can be built new, found second‐hand or rented.
The option of buying a car will appeal to those that are interested in racing in Vees for more than one year.
Vehicles do retain value depending on how well the car is looked after and market availability.
Second hand prices range from R15,000 to over R90,000 depending on the condition, race‐readiness and competitiveness of the car. A decent race‐ready vehicle which could be instantly competitive in the right hands can cost between R40,000 to R60,000.
The most recent Rhema 2 Vee design has been the choice of all the front‐running drivers for the past decade, and these could cost around R75,000 to R90,000 second hand.
Each deal can come with a trailer to transport the car, or with spares such as an extra engine, gearbox, or bodywork.
The Rhema 1 or Rhema 2 design are the most common, and would probably be the most cost effective in terms of running costs as there are plenty of spares readily available that are made to fit the car design. The older Rhema 1 design is very similar to the Rhema 2, but has a smaller cockpit.
Larger individuals would be more suited to a Rhema 2 design.
New Forza cars can be bought from Greg Wilson and built by Johan Gouws Snr and Rhema 2 cars can be built new by Dean Nel, as well as possible options for just building a rolling chassis. This will cost over R100,000 for a full car and could take up to 12 weeks to build. Please contact the Association for more info.
Some cars are available by owners to rent, should you not be in a position to buy a vehicle or are looking for a short term solution. Rental of a vehicle usually involves a preparation cost by a specified race mechanic who will service the car. Depending on the competitiveness of the car and other terms involved, rental could cost around R5,000 to R10,000 per race (including race preparation).
If possible, ask a member from the Vee Committee to accompany you when going to look at a potential car if you are not altogether familiar with Vees or race cars in general. However, there are some basics which can be checked which cover some major faults:
Find out when it was last raced, as you should be aiming to look for a car that is as race‐ready for our current regulations as possible.
Ensure it has a 1.4L Formula Vee spec legal motor with twin carburettors and disc brakes all round.
Make sure it is not physically impossible for you to fit inside the cockpit. There should be enough space above your head to the top of the roll‐over hoop.
Check the safety belts for any damage and make sure they have not expired yet (expiry date can be viewed on the label).
You should inquire when last the engine and gearbox was rebuilt, and by whom. A committee member can assist you with the general history of a specific vehicle.
Also ask for the bodywork to be taken off as to have full view of the chassis to inspect and ensure that nothing is bent and all welds are still intact.
One should aim to test the car out on‐track before making a final decision.
During a test, one can then easily ascertain any major problems with a car, check for leaks etc.
The engine should be legal and working and the gearbox should be working cleanly without any grating.
One point to note is that Formula Vee cars are currently difficult to find second‐hand, and spending too much time deliberating could result in someone else purchasing the vehicle before you do. Not all vehicles will be perfect and might have a bit of work to do on them, and it is up to the buyer to decide what is acceptable or not.
The Committee cannot be held responsible for any advice given in this document; these are guidelines to assist your own decision.
RACING GEAR AND LICENSING
To race Formula Vee on the national circuit, there is a certain minimum requirement of safety gear that you will need to be allowed on the track. This includes, and is not limited to, a racing helmet, fireproof race suit, fireproof gloves, fireproof boots/socks. These items need to be within a minimum specification. Please contact an Association member should you require more info.
The safety belts in your vehicle must not have reached their expiry date, read on the label.
You will need to purchase a national circuit racing licence from Motorsport South Africa and insurance. Details and pricing can be found on the MSA website (www.motorsport.co.za).
You will need to purchase a Formula Vee members licence (currently R1350 for 2014) and sign a member’s agreement which will include a Driver Code of Conduct which must be adhered to.
There are two options for running your vehicle once you have chosen to purchase or hire a car. You can either work on the car yourself, or hire the services of a race mechanic to do the job for you at the race track and also for pre‐race preparation and servicing.
Formula Vees are relatively simple race cars. Mostly made up of standard Beetle and Golf components, the technicalities can be picked up with some basic knowledge.
If you choose to purchase your own vehicle and work on it yourself, you will need to consider storage space of the vehicle and tools to work on the car. You will need a trailer to transport the vehicle, and a suitable towing vehicle. The Formula Vee fraternity is one of the friendliest around and there will be no lack of assistance – do not be deterred by little to no knowledge of the cars.
Experienced mechanics are available for race preparation should you not have the infrastructure to work on a car yourself. Their fees are based on personalised terms and conditions and must be contacted directly. An Association member can assist you if you wish to find out more about these services and the logistics involved.
Running costs are fairly affordable should you not have any damage or mechanical breakdowns. Some basic costs that are common to each race would be fuel (around R500), entry fee (around R1200), and general maintenance costs which you should budget at around R500 to R1000. One should factor in an engine rebuild every half year at least (about R2000).
Formula Vee is a national category and incorporates two or three races on the calendar outside of Gauteng. If you choose to run these races, travel and accommodation costs etc must be factored in.
Drivers are currently regulated to a maximum of three sets of tyres for the season, which currently cost around R4500 per set.
Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions or require more info. It is highly advisable, should it be possible, to attend one of our races to meet the guys and see what Formula Vee is all about!