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iRacing Guide: Formula Vee

Positioned right at the beginning of iRacing’s ever-evolving single-seater ladder, the Formula Vee offers a great opportunity to learn the basics of open-wheel competition.

Alongside the Ray FF1600, the Formula Vee is one of iRacing’s two entry-level open-wheel cars available with the base subscription. With modest power and emphasis on driver skill, the Formula Vee offers an accessible platform for learning the fundamentals of open-wheel racing.

You can use it in the single-make, fixed-setup Formula Vee Series which is open to drivers with a Rookie licence or above, and with no additional cost to participate because all circuits on the calendar are included in your iRacing membership, the Formula Vee is the perfect open-wheel car to kick off your iRacing career.

Introduction to the Formula Vee

The Formula Vee is a small single-seater race car with specifications emphasising simplicity and cost-effectiveness.

Looking at it in raw numbers, it is powered by an air-cooled, four-cylinder Volkswagen engine that produces 69 brake horsepower. Weighing 396 kg, it also features a four-speed manual gearbox and a simple suspension setup with front and rear swing axles. As a result, outright speed over a lap is not its strength, but the Formula Vee is nimble and easy to approach.

The car uses narrow, treaded tyres, promoting a unique driving experience focused on momentum, although this also means you don’t need to worry so much about having no grip straight out of the pits.

Steering and Cornering

The cornering behaviour of Formula Vee is defined by the unusual characteristics of suspension and chassis uncommon on faster open-wheel race cars.

  • The car’s length and width are only 3.4 by 1.1 meters, which is tiny by modern open-wheel standards. For comparison, the 2023 season Formula 1 car dimensions are 5.6 by 2.0 meters – almost double that of the Formula Vee.
  • The Formula Vee has no sophisticated dampers used on modern racing cars. As a result, weight transfers quickly from the rear to the front under braking, making the car prone to lift-off and turn-in oversteer.
  • The car has no aerodynamic downforce, so the cornering behaviour is down to the mechanical grip, which is sensitive to weight transfer.

The crucial technique to counteract these features is to use the throttle as much as possible during cornering if you are struggling to keep the car flat on entry. Even a little application of throttle stabilises the rear and helps to negotiate mechanical oversteer in corners.

Power Delivery and Braking

Overall,  you need to try and maintain momentum as well as possible throughout the lap with the Formula Vee because it is not a powerful car that can compensate for lower apex speeds. With limited horsepower to muscle through turns, the key to quick lap times is conserving energy and minimising speed loss upon corner entry.

The gear ratios in the Formula Vee differ from those found in typical modern racecars. The first gear serves solely to initiate movement from a standstill, while the second gear sees limited use, mainly reserved for navigating extremely slow-speed turns like tight hairpins. You will almost always use only third and fourth gear in races. 

Due to the considerable gap between gear ratios, downshifting to second gear for most turns risks locking the rear axle and causing the car to spin. Excessive shifting is suboptimal in this car. Given the relatively low speeds, many higher-speed turns only require a slight release of throttle.

On the brakes, locking up isn’t a huge issue due to the Formula Vee’s relatively primitive braking system. However, it is a tricky car to slow down because it tends to oversteer on the corner entry. If you are inexperienced with it, brake in a straight line and apply the throttle early after the turn-in.

  • With Coach Dave Academy’s iRacing Setup Subscription, you can feel assured that your car is performing to the best of its ability. Granting access to our entire suite of iRacing setups, the free Coach Dave Delta app, our Never Lift coaching course and much more, what’s stopping you?

The Series

The Formula Vee Series is a fixed-setup championship open to drivers with a Rookie licence or above. It is as popular as many other starting series and often fills over ten splits. 

The calendar updates weekly and includes only circuits in the base subscription, so there are no extra costs for you to accept during the season.

Race Format

The series follows a typical format for a rookie series, allowing drivers to join quick races regularly and compete over short periods. However, featuring standing starts and iRacing’s usual 8-minute qualifying sessions, the Formula Vee Series will prepare you well for graduation further up the single-seater ladder, such as into the Formula D FIA F4 series.

  • New race sessions appear every hour
  • Qualifying is 8 minutes 
  • Each race is only 12 minutes
  • Maximum grid is 12 drivers
  • All driving aids are allowed
  • Standing start

What’s so special?

The Formula Vee is an excellent starting point for drivers looking to begin their iRacing career for several reasons.

  • It’s a perfect platform for honing fundamental driving skills. As a newcomer, you’ll have the opportunity to learn how to handle an open-wheel car without an insane power-to-weight ratio and advanced aero.
  • Despite being an entry-level series, the competition in Formula Vee races is intense. Racing against other beginners can be a great way to improve your racecraft and competitiveness without feeling overwhelmed by more experienced drivers.
  • Racing in the Formula Vee is one of the more affordable series to get started with. You only need the base subscription for the entire season, so if you don’t like this car, you can always try something different, like the Formula FF1600.

Summary

The Formula Vee is the first step of the comprehensive open-wheel career ladder in iRacing that feeds all the way to the modern Formula 1 Mercedes-AMG W13 and it’s perfect for beginners to learn the basics of open-wheel racing, including car control, racing lines, and racecraft.

As you progress into more advanced open-setup series, Coach Dave Academy setups will help you get the most out of these cars and gain an edge against the competition. 

The setups are available as a part of the iRacing Setup Subscription, and you can install and manage them with our free Coach Dave Delta app.

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