Formula Open Victoria Joins VSRS

FORMULA Open Victoria will make its debut in Round 4 of the Victorian State Racing Series at Sandown International Motor Raceway.

The brainchild of two-time Australian Drivers’ Champion and all-round good guy, Tim Macrow, the category aims to offer a home for open wheelers and open top sports cars stranded without a local competition base in Victoria.

During his commute from the workshop to home, Macrow kindly spoke with to discuss the class’ maiden outing in the State Series.

Formula Open Victoria at Shannons Motorsport Australia Festival, 2020 – SDPICS. “Is Formula Open Victoria a case of necessity being the mother of invention?”

Tim Macrow: “I suppose… almost.”

“There are a lot of cars in sheds and a lot of those cars need a place to race and they don’t have anywhere locally.

“With the COVID-19 situation and borders closing, that contributed to myself starting the series initially last year at the Shannons Motorsport Australia Festival. This is a continuation of that.

“We used to have Formula Libre back in the 70s and the 80s, I’d think to myself ‘what happened to that?!’ So, I decided to get it back up and running again.”

VSRS: “What is eligible to enter Formula Open Victoria?”

TM: “If you have any open wheeler or any open top sports car, you’re eligible. Think back to the 70s and the 80s, it was mostly open wheelers and clubman sports cars competing in Formula Libre.

“The cars of today can be log booked as Formula Libre, or F3, Formula Holden if that’s what they were in their day… enter it. We’re just looking for variety.  

“For example, we have some Formula 5000s entered in the upcoming round at Sandown, Formula Holdens, Formula 3s, Radicals. ‘Run what you’ve brung’ in an open wheel class. That’s how it should be, especially at state level.

“Looking at classes like the MGs and Invited British Sports Cars at state level, they have a huge variety of cars and drivers so why not do that for open wheelers too.”

VSRS: “There’s a variety of cars entered so far, two F5000s, a smattering of F3s and some Formula 4000 (Holden) Reynards to name a few. On paper, they seem somewhat closely matched, who do you expect will come out on top?”

TM: “It’s funny, at the Shannons Festival round we last ran at Sandown towards the end of 2020, we had quite a mix of classes competing for the win, more specifically a Radial SR8 and an older Toyota Racing Series open wheeler.

“They did similar lap times but made their speed in completely different ways. The Radical obviously had the straight-line advantage, but the TRS car would reel them back in through the turns. It was really, really exciting.

“We anticipate intra-class racing, but also a dice between the different classes too. Take, for example, the F3 which is low power but massive grip that will be quick over Turns 6 to 9, compared with the SR8 and F5000s that will monster the straights.

“Similar to the Bathurst 12-Hour, different cars achieving their speeds differently makes for an entertaining spectacle.

“I know that it’s a cost saving exercise with spec racing, however I definitely think there is a place for multi-class open wheel racing.”

Tim Macrow Racing workshop, no shortage of toys here – Facebook.

VSRS: “What will determine the series’ ongoing success? Will Formula Open Victoria be an ongoing feature in the VSRS?”

TM: “I’d like to think so, yes. We enjoyed great success with the single event we ran last year. Obviously the situation we all find ourselves in at the moment contributed to a lot of people coming along because they hadn’t raced all year and they wanted something to do.

“But, every time I start promoting Formula Open Victoria I get a good reaction from the competitor base and I really feel there are a few extra guys and girls out there who are in a position to compete, but just need more time.

“People from the Historic scene, or other people with Formula Holdens from the 1990s. They still have their Formula Holdens somewhere, they haven’t just disappeared and they are mostly still in Australia.

“I reckon we have something with this class. I haven’t finalised the entry list for Round 4 yet, but there should be around 15-cars and that’s despite only starting to organise this a week ago. Imagine if we had a bit more time.

“I’d say if we could aim for three or four rounds per year, that would be ideal.”

Round 4 of the VSRS at Sandown International Motor Raceway is scheduled for July 23 – 24. Formula Open Victoria is one of eight invited classes to take part in the event, organised by the Australian Sports Sedans Association.

Don’t forget to check in regularly with the VSRS website and social media pages, as well as tuning into the live and free coverage of the VSRS on Blend Line TV.