Following a successful private shakedown at Winton Raceway in northern Victoria on Monday, the prototype Formula Thunder 5000 car is set to make its public debut with demonstration runs at Sydney Motorsport Park’s Muscle Car Masters meeting on October 29-30.
Nearly 12 months of design and car build work, based at Borland Racing in Melbourne, reached a milestone this week, with the car turning a wheel for the first time at the northern Victorian track.
Formula 3 champion Tim Macrow took the wheel of the five-litre V8-powered car for the day, initially working through a program of technical systems checks, before winding up the pace through the afternoon.
Macrow will also be at the wheel when the Formula Thunder 5000 prototype takes to the circuit at Muscle Car Masters for three 15-minute demonstration runs over the weekend, with one session Saturday and two on Sunday.
“It couldn’t have been a more productive day for day one with a brand new race car,” said Chris Lambden, who has overseen the development of the FT5000 concept to date.
“The systems checks – primarily ensuring the engine, gearbox, and MoTeC system were speaking to each other correctly – were done by lunchtime, and Tim was able to push things along later in the day, even though we were running the car in relatively conservative spec.
“All our technical partners had someone on hand for the day and, I’d have to say, everything went like clockwork, which is a great credit to all of them. After all the work that has gone in, it was pretty exciting to see and hear the car on track.
“We’re looking forward to running the car publicly for the first time at the Muscle Car Masters and illustrating the sight, sound and smell of the FT5000 concept. Sydney Motorsport Park is a venue that should allow the car to stretch its legs a bit.”
The FT5000 prototype is the result of a desire to create a cost-controlled ‘Big Banger’ crowd-pleasing, modern open wheeler race car, at the same time providing an exciting challenge for top racing drivers, from Formula Ford/Four graduates to more experienced racers.
Based on a chassis design by American company Swift Engineering modified to suit, it utilises a 5-litre V8-engined, big tyre, modest downforce philosophy that, even prior to the car’s completion, has created a lot of interest.
While a small number of one-off warm-up events are planned through the second part of 2017, FT5000 plans to concentrate on a summer season of events (December 2017 to early February), along the lines of the Tasman series of days past. Initially at least, the cars will run under CAMS’ generic Formula Libre umbrella.
“Completing and now running the car is just one further step, one box ticked in the process,” says Lambden.
“The next one is to assemble a decent grid of cars, by confirming interested teams/drivers as soon as we can, so we can set about creating cars over following months. For now, we’re thrilled with the first run of the car, and looking forward to the next step.”
Muscle Car Masters is a celebration of Australian motorsport history, heritage and passion jointly promoted by the Australian Racing Drivers Club and Chevron Publishing, a division of nextmedia.
First held in 2005 it has become a permanent part of Sydney Motorsport Park’s calendar and this year moves from the Father’s Day weekend to October 29-30.