SU­PER­LEAGUE FOR­MULA DP09

Motor Sport News - - Monsters: The Future -

OK, the foot­ball meets mo­tor­sport an­gle the or­gan­is­ers went for didn’t quite work out, but dig be­neath the cross-sport­ing metaphors and dodgy liv­er­ies and there was some tech­ni­cal mar­vel within the Su­per­league For­mula Cham­pi­onship.

The cars them­selves were far bet­ter than peo­ple gave them credit for, and were many peo­ple’s idea of an iconic sin­gle-seater.

Like car­bon chas­sis with not too much down­force and scream­ing 750bhp nat­u­rally as­pi­rated en­gines? Dis­like trac­tion con­trol and driver aids? The Su­per­league For­mula DP09 was es­sen­tially your per­fect mix­ture.

The chas­sis were de­signed and con­structed by Us-based Elan Mo­tor­sport Tech­nolo­gies – the par­ent firm of Panoz – so had pedi­gree. They were mated to a stun­ning Me­nard Com­pe­ti­tion Tech­nolo­gies [MCT] nat­u­rally as­pi­rated 4.2litre V12 en­gine, which was a work of beauty.

The units were pre­pared in the Leafield Tech­ni­cal Cen­tre, be­fore Cater­ham F1 Team ar­rived – and then went again. The award­win­ning MCT en­gine took its de­sign and per­for­mance blueprint out of the his­tory books, when en­gi­neers weren’t bur­dened with strict ef­fi­ciency tar­gets. The re­sult was a free-revving unit ca­pa­ble of 12000rpm and 750bhp.

F1 aban­doned V12s back in 1998, so to see a mod­ern sin­gle-seater buck­ing the trend and bring­ing back true mus­cle and noise was great.

Su­per­league For­mula’s Robin Webb said at the time the sole con­sid­er­a­tion for the car was to stir emo­tion. Webb said: “We like to con­sider our­selves the naughty boys of mo­tor sport. By that I mean we brought a V12 en­gine. It’s not very green is it? It’s not diesel is it? It’s not run­ning on bat­ter­ies. But it has the most glo­ri­ous sound and the fans love it.

“We went for cars the width of F1 cars, slick tyres and a 750bhp full-fat V12 en­gine, and it just seems to work very, very well.”

Driv­ers loved the un­aided pu­rity of the cars too. No trac­tion con­trol, launch con­trol or other elec­tronic aids left suc­cess up to driver skill, and the car used pre­dom­i­nantly un­der-body aero­dy­nam­ics to al­low them to run close to­gether.

The se­ries it­self be­gan in 2008 and lasted just four sea­sons be­fore whim­per­ing to a close in 2012.

Me­chan­i­cal grem­lins blighted its sec­ond sea­son but its out­right speed con­tin­ued to shine through, even­tu­ally bounc­ing back to the top step of the podium this sea­son.

While it has forged it­self as a gen­uine con­tender, the days of the S60 are num­bered with the car set to be con­fined to the his­tory books. Volvo an­nounced plans to with­draw from the sport at the end of the sea­son in May.

Garry Rogers Mo­tor­sport still in­tends to run the S60s next sea­son but faces a fight with Volvo which has vowed to re­call its cars, en­gines and in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty at the end of the year.

The S60 will be re­mem­bered for tak­ing the fight to Holden and Ford and for launch­ing Su­per­cars’ lat­est young star in Mclaugh­lin.

Su­per­league For­mula fea­tured thor­ough­bred cars

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