Ralph Firman Racing Adding New Chassis to the F2000 Mix
Sharon CT - Legendary race-car designer Ralph Firman is set to be a new chassis supplier for the F2000 Championship Series in 2010. The new RFR F2000 chassis is in the final phases of production, with potential teams set to take delivery sometime in March. The project has been under-wraps since summer.
"With the advances made in race car design and aerodynamics in the past decade, we would be very surprised if we did not find a considerable amount of speed with this design," said John Uprichard, sales manager for RFR (Ralph Firman Racing). "There are three main areas that make this car good: a very stiff chassis, a lot of mechanical grip and a very advanced aero package.
"The F2000 formula, with its open chassis format, has one of the best pedigrees in the United States for producing young drivers who ultimately make it to the top," added Uprichard.
RFR Cars has three distributors in the U.S. -- QuickSilver Race Engines on the East Coast, Firman West Cars on the West Coast and McLaughlin Motorsports in the Midwest (SCCA Central Division).
Firman founded Van Diemen and was an important player in the company until it was sold in 1999. In 2008 he created RFR, which also produces a F1000 chassis at their 10,000 square-foot facility in Norfolk, England.
"Our first project was the F1000 car," Uprichard explained. "We were planning to follow up with a sports-car version, but the continuing high interest level in F2000 made us change our mind, and we decided a 2-liter car was the best way forward for the company."
Uprichard noted that while the F2000 chassis is based around the concept of the RFR F1000 car, the new build will be completely different, including a new space frame chassis and all new bodywork. Furthermore, very little will be interchangeable between the cars.
"Right now the design is finished and we are only waiting for the final body lines," said Uprichard. "The chassis jig is already underway and we expect to be testing by February."
The original designer of the current 2-liter Van Diemen that most F2000 teams use, David Baldwin, has been contracted by RFR to design the new F2000 chassis.
With Van Diemen, Citation and Piper are all set to make appearances on the grid this coming season, the new RFR2000 adds a fourth chassis to the F2000 Championship Series mix.