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F500.org - The Formula 500 Racing Web FAQs (frequently-asked questions)

Category: Main -> General F500 Info



What is Formula 500?

Formula 500 is a Sports Car Club of America open wheel road racing class. Formula 500 was originally introduced in the late 1960s and is currently one of the fastest growing open wheel racing classes in the United States. Formula 500 is a spec class, which means that modifications to the engine, drive train and suspensions are tightly regulated. This provides very competitive road racing at a reasonable cost.

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What powers an F500?

Formula 500 cars are powered by a two cylinder, water cooled two stroke engine. Modern cars use either the AMW 250-2 R2c, or the Rotax 494. Older cars. mostly used for Solo events these days use the Kawasaki 440/A engine.

The Kawasaki engine is a 436cc piston port engine utilizing 38mm Mikuni VM series carburetors and a tuned dual exhaust. While this engine is no longer competitive in road racing, it is still widely used in Solo II and Autocross events.

The AMW 500 R2C engine, built by Two Stroke International was introduced to F500 in 1994. It is a 497cc reed valve engine using twin 38mm Mikuni SuperBN carburetors. To keep the performance of these larger, more powerful engines in line with prior engines, SCCA mandates the use of a spec Y exhaust manifold and single tuned pipe on the AMW engine.

Introduced for the 1997 season was the Rotax 494 engine. Rotax builds racing and industrial engines for a wide variety of application, including Aircraft, Motorcycles, Go-Karts, Snowmobiles and Watercraft, The 494cc Rotax engine is a rotary valve engine. Like the AMW, the Rotax utilizes a 2 into 1 "Y" exhaust manifold and an single tuned expansion chamber exhaust. The Rotax engine utilizes the same 38mm Mikuni VM carburetors as the Kawasaki. The Rotax engine has become, by far, the most popular engine in F500 road racing.

SCCA is current eveluating two new Rotax engine models for F500. The RAVE valve version of the Rotax 494 and a new Roatx 493 reed valve engine. The 493 engine is currently approved for regional compention only.

Engine specifications are tightly regulated by the SCCA. No engine modifications are permitted in formula 500. Engines must be run in stock form "as delivered" from the factory. No aftermarket parts, port modifications, or other variations from stock configuration are allowed. This helps keep costs down and means close competition on the track.

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What kind of transmission is in a F500?

F500 uses an advanced Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), similar to that used in F1 racing snowmobiles.

These advanced belt driven automatic transmissions are tuned to optimize the power curve of a two stroke engine, constantly keeping the engine at its peak power. One of the key benefits of the CVT is that it is a stepless transmission. This allows all of the engine's power to be transmitted to the drive wheels at all times.

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What is the difference between F500, F440 and FMod?

F440, F500 and FMod are all basically the same.

SCCA changed the road racing class name from F440 to F500 a few years back when we switched from the Kawasaki 440cc engines to the AMW and Rotax 500cc engines.

FM (FMod) is the Solo II or autocross class for F500 cars. Kawasaki powered cars are still often referred to as F440s, but technically (as far as SCCA is concerned) they are all F500s.

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Just how fast is a F500?

Top speed for a modern F500 is about 130 MPH on a road course. Lap times at most tracks are within 1 or 2 seconds of a top Formula Ford, and 5 to 10 seconds faster than a Formula Vee.

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Is there a weight limit for a F500 car?

F500 runs at a minimum weight (including driver) that varies depending on the engine used.

In Road Racing, the old Kawaskai 440A powered cars run at a minimum weight of 750 pounds. AMW and Rotax 494 powered cars run at 800 pounds, and Rotax 493 powered cars run at 850 pounds.

Minimum weights are different in Solo II competition.

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