Things to consider when buying a Formula Vee
Before you buy a Formula Vee (or any race car for that matter), you first need to ask yourself what type of driving do you want to do?
People buy Formula Vee's for many different reasons, you may just want to drive in track days where you pay a fee to use a track and you drive to your own ability without racing, you may want to compete in speed events but not race like regularity (regular clocked lap times) or hill climb or you may want to race, two options being historic car racing and association racing such the state or national championship.
It is important to know what kind of driving you want to do as this will determine what you need to look for in a car, for example a track day car does not need to comply with race rules or regulations, while speed events (regularity and hill climb) and racing will have different levels of compliance for car components, configuration and set up.
Once I know what type of driving I want to do, where can I buy a Formula Vee?
Formula Vee’s are the most affordable way to start racing, cars will vary in price with 1200cc cars starting around the $5,000 - $6,000 mark and 1600cc cars starting around the $10,000 - $12,000 mark. There are many websites where you can find Formula Vee's for sale but some of the most popular places include My105.com, fvee.org.au and Gumtree.
If you are intending to enter your Formula Vee in a speed event or race then you need to buy a car that has a logbook and, if racing, sealing sheets. While these items can be sourced once you have purchased a car this will incur additional cost and hassle.
A logbook is necessary for all events including hill climb, regularity, historic racing and racing. If you do not have a logbook you will need to apply for a replacement through Motorsport Australia. This process is time consuming and you will also need to pay an application and replacement fee so buying a car with an existing log book will position you well.
Sealing sheets are needed for both the engine and the gearbox – this is to ensure engines and gearboxes comply with regulations – they are inspected by a certified sealer before a seal is put in place so further changes can not be made. If the seals are broken or missing, you will need to have your engine or gearbox inspected and sealed before you can compete. Generally speaking this is not a problem but it will consume more time and require you to pay for the inspection and any associated fixes. Buying a car with existing sealing sheets and seals in place will mean no further action until you have a gearbox or engine rebuild.
If you are buying a historic Formula Vee (cars raced pre 1985) you will also need a Certificate of Description (CofD), this is to certify that your car is maintained to period spec’s from when it raced, if you do not have a CofD you will need to obtain one before entering a historic race event – this involves tracing the cars race history and restoring the car to period specs, this process will likely cost upwards of $700.
Some things to consider when buying a Formula Vee include, when was the car last race and in what category? Is there any work that needs to be done to make it compliant? What is the service history like? Are parts with expiry dates such as seat belts still valid? Has the car been involved in any major accidents?
Most sellers are happy and proud to share the cars history with you, if they are not then they may be trying to hide something. You may also ask to see the car under its own power to ensure the car does not have any obvious problems. You will also need to transport your new race car so if you do not have a trailer ask if one is included otherwise you will need to source this. Also check if any spares are included and what these consist of.
Finally, if a deal appears too good to be true then it probably is. If you are uncertain or would like guidance the Formula Vee Association is only a phone call away and someone will be happy to assist you with any questions you may have, alternative feel free to contact us and we would be happy to assist where possible.