Getting To Know: The iRacing Formula B Super Formula Series

Let’s learn more about one of iRacing’s newest championships, the Formula B Super Formula series.

The newly-released Super Formula SF23 machine that came to iRacing for 2023 Season 3 brought with it two all-new series for open-wheel fans to sink their teeth into.

The Super Formula series slots in alongside the Renault 3.5 championship and US Open Wheel Dallara IR-18 series at Formula B level within the iRacing single-seater ladder, in between the Formula A Grand Prix Series and the Formula C Dallara F3 Championship.  

With the SF23 providing significantly more downforce than the Renault 3.5 machine, the Super Formula series provides an all-new challenge for any racer that either wants to move on from the 3.5 or potentially step up from the Dallara F3 car into something faster.

The Car

The new Super 2023-spec Formula SF23 will provide the base for all competitors out on track, the vehicles utilised by the real-life Super Formula series.

Super Formula is a Japan-based championship that predominantly features the best Japanese drivers in the country, as well as up-and-coming pilots from all over the world looking to bolster their CVs. 

The likes of current F1 stars Pierre Gasly and Liam Lawson have won races there, while ex-F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi still competes alongside his Toyota World Endurance Championship programme.  

The SF23 features a fixed-specification chassis built by famed Italian manufacturer Dallara, twinned with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 540 bhp. Just like in real life, iRacing features engines from two suppliers, Honda and Toyota, both of which provide identical performance.

The car also has a push-to-pass system like in the American IndyCar series which allows drivers to use more power, created with a richer fuel mix when the system is activated, for up to 200 seconds across a race distance. It can be useful to either attack or defend from a rival.  

The Super Formula car is also well-known for having a very potent aerodynamic package that produces the most downforce of any single-seater race car outside of Formula 1.

Need Setups For The Series?

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Race Series Format

The Formula B Super Formula Series has fixtures that run on both an open and fixed setup format, the pair running on alternate hours.

The Super Formula championships are run over a particular number of laps rather than time, with both featuring differing lengths.

  • The fixed series lasts for around 15 minutes
  • The open setup version runs for around 35 minutes

Despite the difference in terms of the race distance, both have identical structures in terms of the pre-race format.

  • Both have three-minute practice sessions before qualifying
  • Both feature an eight-minute qualifying test that grants you two laps to secure the best place possible on the starting grid

Which License Is Needed To Race

The Super Formula Series requires you to have earned a B-class racing license, making it the ideal playground should you fancy moving into the Formula A Grand Prix series in the future.

Getting used to the high-downforce nature of the SF23 will also help should you want to get into the IMSA Sportscar Championship in the future, especially if you’re keen to run in the ever-growing GTP class.

If GTP competition sounds attractive, adopting some setups from Coach Dave Academy will make your transition to sports car racing as smooth as possible. 

Series Costing

The Super Formula series features a schedule made up predominantly of paid tracks, with only one of the 12 circuits featuring on the 2023 season 3 calendar free, that being the Okayama International Circuit.

This means that to take part in every round of the campaign, you would need to spend around $165 for the tracks alone. This combined with the $11.95 cost for the Super Formula SF23 car adds up to a total of $176.96 to compete across the entirety of the season.  If you want to learn how to cut costs in iRacing, make sure to check out our guide to the cheapest way to get started.

What’s So Special?

While the SF23 has a similar power output to the Formula Renault 3.5 race car, it has a significant amount more downforce due to the aggressive aero package it has installed.

This makes it drive closer in feel and technique to an F1 car, making it slightly easier to control as a result compared to the Renault 3.5. The Dallara IR-18 meanwhile has much more power at around 650 bhp, though like the 3.5 it produces a lot less downforce than the SF23.

This sets the SF23 apart from the other two Formula B-level series as it will allow you to acclimatise to the incredible braking and cornering performance of an ultra-high downforce machine, thus preparing you better for stepping into Formula A in the future.

Smoothness and smart use of Push To Pass are crucial

Carrying good cornering speed while also achieving a good corner exit is crucial for the best lap times in this machine. Due to the large amount of power the SF23 produces, there is less chance of a rival easily slipstreaming by so a good exit can make all the difference.

  • Allowing the aero to do the work in the medium and high-speed bends is critical to lap time as well as getting a run on – or potentially defending from – an opponent.
  • Knowing when to utilise push-to-pass could all the difference, taking advantage of other’s mistakes is a good time

The lessons learned from this series will be handy in terms of improving your racecraft by simply out-thinking your opponents as opposed to purely out-driving them.

Being able to intertwine advantages such as this to your craft is ever more important as you race in a series where opponents are difficult to overtake, chiefly due to the high cornering and braking capabilities of the cars.Before you head out on the circuit in the SF23, remember to download the free Coach Dave Delta app today to access the full range of setups to fight for supremacy whenever you hit the track! 

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