Skip Barber Racing School presents the new and exciting Formula Dodge R/T 2000 and the inaugural Formula Dodge National Championship Presented by RACER. A discussion with Skip Barber Racing School President and Chief Executive Officer Skip Barber follows. Log on to www.skipbarber.com to view artist's rendering.
What is the R/T 2000 and why is it special?
The R/T 2000 is a new race car based on the existing Formula Dodge car. It has a five speed sequential gearbox, front and rear wings, and specially developed Michelin Pilot CS slick racing tires that are larger than those currently used on the Formula Dodge cars. It will continue to use the 2-liter Dodge powerplant although with more out-put for the R/T 2000. Development of this car has been undertaken as joint collaboration between Reynard Motorsport in England and Skip Barber Racing School. What makes this car so special is the technological leap that is being offered to racers at this level.
What was the motivation behind creating it?
We decided that we needed the R/T 2000 because the gap between the existing car and the Barber Dodge Reynard 98E used in the Pro Series had gotten too big. Auto racing is of course a sport that is constantly in a technological flux, and we wanted to create a race car at the amateur level that kept pace with the open-wheel racing world at the professional level. The wings, slicks and gearbox are all a part of that.
How is it different from other race cars in its class?
The principal difference is the sequential five-speed gearbox. What's important to note about that is that young drivers can go from shifter karts through the ranks all the way up to Champ Cars using a sequential shift gearbox, the one exception being the Lights cars which will have a sequential gearbox in their new car.
Along with the R/T 2000 is the creation of the Formula Dodge National Championship Series. What sets this series apart?
Unlike the Skip Barber Race Series which will continue on as four individual regional race series using the R/T 2000, the Formula Dodge National Championship, which is presented by RACER Magazine will be as the title implies a seven weekend National Series. However, what truly sets this championship apart is that it is the only amateur series where the drivers get in based on their proven speed rather than their ability to pay for it.
Will the Formula Dodge National Championship better prepare aspiring racers for the future?
Absolutely. There is no question that racing with a high caliber of competition improves driver development.
Was the Formula Dodge National Championship a natural consequence of the R/T 2000?
We were really thinking about the complete package when we came up with the idea of creating the R/T 2000. Raising the technology as well as the level of competition were both goals we set in order to better prepare aspiring drivers for the next step.
Formula Dodge R/T 2000
Chassis Mild-steel spaceframe Overall Width 61.5in. Overall Length 144in. Overall Height 41in. Weight 1100lbs. Wheelbase 96.75in. Track F56.5in./R54.5in. Front Suspension Unequal Length A-arms, pullrod-actuated coil-over shocks, adjustable anti-roll bar Rear Suspension Upright with lower A-arm, twin trailing arms, coil-over shocks, adjustable anti-roll bar Tires Michelin Pilot CS racing slicks 205/50-15 f;225/50-16 r Wheels 1-Piece Progressive Custom Wheels Brakes Dodge Neon ACR vented rotors, Dodge Stealth 2-piston calipers; Mintex racing pads Shock Absorbers Penske racing 7500 series Engine Dodge inline 4-cylinder Displacement 123cid/2000cc Valve train SOHC 4 valves per cylinder Horsepower 140 @5800rpm Battery Yuasa Spark Plugs Champion Copper Plus Transmission Gemini 5-speed sequential Clutch Mopar high-performance
2000 Formula Dodge National Championship presented by RACER Schedule
May 19-21 -Grattan Raceway, Grattan, Michigan June 2-4 -New Hampshire International Speedway, Loudon, New Hampshire June30-July1-2 -Road America Short Course, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin August 4-6 -Putnam Park, Mount Meridian, Indiana August 25-27 -Gateway International Raceway, East St. Louis, Illinois September 15-17 -Road America Long Course, Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin October 13-14 -Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, Connecticut (tent.)