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iRacing Guide: Ray FF1600

The Ray FF1600 is a unique car in the world of single-seaters but it’s a vital stepping stone for those looking to graduate to Formula B or Formula A competition within iRacing.

The Formula Ford 1600 is a popular entry-level open-wheel racing car that has been a stepping stone for aspiring drivers since it was first introduced all the way back in the 1960s. It is a simple and affordable base, focused on driver skills rather than advanced technology or aerodynamics. 

The Ray FF1600 is one of iRacing’s open-wheel cars for rookie drivers and D-License competitors that’s available with the simulator’s base subscription. The fixed setup championship is one of the most popular in iRacing and a great starting point for drivers interested in Formula racing.

Introducing the Ray FF1600

The FF1600 uses a 1.6-litre engine producing approximately 110 horsepower, weighing in at about 400 kilograms without a driver. It has no wings and relies only on mechanical grip that enables close racing with many overtaking opportunities. Narrow and treaded tyres provide just enough grip for this low-powered racecar without the complexities of slick tyres.

The FF1600 requires a different driving style than the more advanced Formula cars. You should maintain momentum, rely on brake and throttle to rotate the car in corners and slide a lot in this junior Formulae.

Steering and Cornering

The FF1600 is very agile and responsive, both on the brakes and on the power, which will make you adjust inputs quite a lot through the corners. 

On entry, you want to start braking as late as possible and then trail brake to dial in more rotation as you progress through the corner. Your braking technique is crucial to keep weight on the front tyres and get good rotation in this car.

The FF1600 tends to understeer if you do not get a little slide going, which worsens after you open the throttle. It is a delicate balance, as being too heavy on the brakes or throttle will swing the rear around too much. Besides, the iRacing tyre model does not encourage sliding (compared to rFactor 2, for example) because tyres overheat and lose grip. 

Elsewhere, the car is sensitive to bumps and kerbs because of its simple suspension and low weight – clipping kerbs on the inside will push the car away from the apex. You should remember that on circuits with high curbs, especially if you race in the fixed setup championship.

  • If you need more tips on getting the most out of your car, check out Coach Dave Hotlaps YouTube channel.

Power Delivery and Braking

Unlike in Formula Vee, the gearing in FF1600 is straightforward. There are only four gears, and the gearbox makes shifting nice and simple. You don’t need to use the clutch, apart from getting the car moving from a standing start.

Simply lifting is enough for an upshift, and then just a blip on the downshift will do the trick, meaning you can brake with the left foot in the FF1600. Not blipping the throttle during downshifts can lead to instability in the rear, but you can make the simulator do this automatically within the iRacing settings menu under “Driver Aids”. No heel and toe or clutch foot is required.

Maximising momentum is crucial when driving the FF1660, as its lack of power means it can’t make up for slow apex speeds; remember, after all, it gets its name from its 1600cc engine. Preserving energy and reducing speed loss when entering corners are therefore essential for fast lap times.

The car features an open differential, so pushing the throttle too hard after the apex will shift the weight to the rear and cause the front to understeer. This behaviour is particularly noticeable in the medium to high-speed corners, where you do not need to bleed off too much speed, but you do need to get the nose in and downshift.


The Series

iRacing has two championships dedicated to the FF1600. The Formula 1600 Rookie Sim-Motion Series uses a fixed setup and the Formula 1600 Thrustmaster Trophy uses open setup rules.

Both championships follow a typical format for a rookie series, allowing drivers to join quick races every hour and compete in short races. The calendar updates weekly and includes several circuits in the base subscription.

Here is the summary of regulations for both championships:

SeriesLicenceSetupTracks in base subScheduleRace length, minutes
Formula 1600 Rookie Sim-Motion SeriesRookieFixed8 out of 12Every 1 hour12
Formula 1600 Thrustmaster TrophyDOpen3 out of 12Every 1 hour20
  • You can learn more about the Formula 1600 Thrustmaster Trophy with our guide, here.

What’s so special?

Despite being a beginner series, the FF1600 championships offer intense competition with multiple splits suited for all skill levels. Close racing in a Formula car without advanced aero is an excellent opportunity to enhance racecraft and competitiveness without feeling overwhelmed.

It is also a cost-effective option compared to many other series – a base subscription will cover the car and most of the circuits used for the Rookie championship. If the car doesn’t suit your preferences, you can easily explore other options, such as the FIA Formula 4, Dallara Formula 3 or Super Formula Lights.


Summary

The FF1600 is the first step on the iRacing’s extensive open-wheel career ladder, ultimately leading to the fastest Formula 1 cars. The car may appear slow, but its design encourages close and exciting racing. It is an ideal starting point for newcomers to grasp the fundamentals of open-wheel racing and essential skills like car control, optimal 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 easily with our free Coach Dave Delta app.

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