Thursday, Aug 23 05:03pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

Why Super5000 could be Australia’s next best single seater series

The early days of Chris Lambden’s Formula Thunder 5000 project garnered plenty of attention, and rightly so.


Whether it was the appropriation of the Swift tub, the tall airbox, or the wild wing styling, it gathered a lot of momentum from the outset.


Until recently no one had taken a proper stab at a modernized Formula 5000 that wasn’t going to take your legs off in a crash—a sad reality of the sheet metal single seaters of old.


The fallout and “friendship” between Lambden (Formula Thunder 5000) and Supercars (Super5000) is well documented. With the two concept cars consolidated, Super5000 is only a matter of months away from properly getting going.


What’s left is a hybrid of sorts. Ironically, little remains of the initial Supercars conceived Super5000 and their involvement lessened with the Australian Racing Group (ARG) taking stock of the series.


Instead what’s come out is a bona fide current Formula 3 chassis with a Ford Coyote V8 at the driver’s backside as well as some big wide rubber boots to put 420kW to the tarmac.


Initial reaction from social media commentators has thus far been mixed. Some say the hodgepodge mix of Formula 3 front and Formula 5000 rear makes for an oddly proportioned car and one that’s not overly aesthetically pleasing—that’s not even mentioning the halo.


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Fortunately the first look is only a render and the first proper photos should paint a better picture of what we’re in for.


The car looks stout from front and rear on. A narrow, simplified, mid-downforce front wing compliments a wide, low slung, SUPER FORMULA-style rear wing—à la Formula 5000.


The narrow cockpit and absence of a tall airbox does make it look less Formula 5000-esque, but organisers have already motioned to say that the series has moved on from that first concept.


Initially Lambden had no plans for young drivers to go near his concept. Though he did eventually allow Liam Lawson, only 16-years-old at the time, to drive the concept car around Phillip Island.


Now the face of the Super5000 is very different.


Instead the CAMS Super5000 Championship, as it’ll officially be known, looks more like a junior single seater series for the brave. In reality it’s everything a junior level single seater series should look like.


Why? Because most single seater series – think Formula 3 and Formula 4 – give racers little power, little mechanical grip and force drivers to drive straight.


With a 5.0 litre Ford Coyote V8 strapped in the back it’ll make the lightweight Formula 3 chassis ridiculously fast and slide around like the Formula 5000 cars of old and to a lesser extent the modern-day, high torque, wide wheel Formula 1 cars.


Need some more convincing? Watch this:



What purpose the series serves is yet to be known, though organisers today likened it to IndyCar.


Despite the constant chatter of having too many series – both here and in Australia – the car does possibly fill one void.


There are a drivers who run through the ranks of karting, Formula First and Formula Ford and lost looking for the next step. Having learnt their craft there’s options in Formula 4 or the Toyota Racing Series, but those lend more towards a single seater career abroad.


What Super5000 could set out to achieve is giving young guns a chance to taste a V8-powered single seater, opening the door to go down the path of Supercars or spec-Formula series’.


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The other side of the coin presents an opportunity for journeyman drivers, those like the current crop of historic racers who might see some enjoyment in driving a Formula 5000-style car without the fear of losing a limb.


Like any fledging series, all of this obviously hinges on getting cars to the grid. That’s the biggest but. Australians are all too familiar to series getting off the line but never gaining traction, recently more so.


A field of 15 cars has to be the bare minimum. Anything less and people will say there’s not much in the way of competition.


Some have said the new Super5000 is too far detached from the original concept, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.


All going well, Super5000 will be wild and wonderfully entertaining.