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  1. #1
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    Default US F3 versus Swift08, 016 and PFM

    I see the US F3’s bring advertised in FA, like the one currently advertised in the FA sales section and was wondering if anyone had experience or thoughts on their relative performance and maintenance compared to the other FA’s, PFM’s and maybe even F1000.

    Where do they really fit from a performance perspective?

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    Contributing Member Lotus7's Avatar
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    Won't comment much on maintenance or those costs, as there are many ideas on "whats required"...

    that said, PFM is least cost to buy and run of the four, also slowest;
    016 will always beat the other three.
    Ian Macpherson
    Savannah, GA
    Race prep, support, and engineering.

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    Contributing Member lowside67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by racpercival View Post
    I see the US F3’s bring advertised in FA, like the one currently advertised in the FA sales section and was wondering if anyone had experience or thoughts on their relative performance and maintenance compared to the other FA’s, PFM’s and maybe even F1000.

    Where do they really fit from a performance perspective?
    It is worth noting that most of these cars all race in FA now where they have varying handicaps to try to create parity. I am unclear i you are asking which is the best FA car given the ruleset, or simply which is the fastest with no handicaps?

    If which is the fastest, no handicaps - it's easily the 016. The US F3, 014 Swift, and a max prep F1000 (which is not most of the ones for sale) I suspect are all similar. The 008 is probably slower yet, and the PFM is undoubtedly the slowest of all the options.

    -Mark
    Mark Uhlmann
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    '12 Stohr WF1

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    Thanks. That is what I suspected. I was just thinking about the car natively, without the handicaps.

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    I looked at a number of these options last year before deciding I couldn't justify the expense to be competitive in FA, regardless of the path. That said, and with the caveat that there aren't a lot of any of these being run to the limit... my semi-informed opinion:
    016 unrestricted is fastest.
    016 in club spec
    008/014, RT41
    Max prep F1000 (might be equal to 014, or faster?)
    Max prep PFM (motor and updated aero) is probably a tick behind, but relatively more competitive with a light driver who can get to min weight; I couldn't get close to min.
    I suspect F3 is also in this range, along with the older true FA cars.
    Stock motor F1000
    Stock PFM

    It really depends what you want to do. Trying to win Majors, HST, or the Runoffs... you're probably going to have $60k or more into the car before you're even getting close. Running cost are probably also nearly double for that as well (annual engine program, soft tires, etc.).
    Last edited by LarryWinkelman; 12.07.22 at 12:51 AM.

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    Contributing Member Lotus7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowside67 View Post
    It is worth noting that most of these cars all race in FA now where they have varying handicaps to try to create parity.

    -Mark
    Mark,
    Not sure what handicapping you are referring to. SCCA makes no attempt to do so that we are aware of.
    (nor in FX either).
    Can you elaborate?
    thx
    Ian Macpherson
    Savannah, GA
    Race prep, support, and engineering.

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    Contributing Member lowside67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lotus7 View Post
    Mark,
    Not sure what handicapping you are referring to. SCCA makes no attempt to do so that we are aware of.
    (nor in FX either).
    Can you elaborate?
    thx
    Of course they do - they use minimum weights and inlet restrictors in some cases to attempt to balance performance between those cars.

    As an example, the 016 was dominant for a few years, then they overcorrected by adding weight and removing inlet size, for the last few years it has been less favorable, now they have just given it a bit more pace in the last Fastrack.

    -Mark
    Mark Uhlmann
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    '12 Stohr WF1

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    Contributing Member Lotus7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowside67 View Post
    Of course they do - they use minimum weights and inlet restrictors in some cases to attempt to balance performance between those cars.

    As an example, the 016 was dominant for a few years, then they overcorrected by adding weight and removing inlet size, for the last few years it has been less favorable, now they have just given it a bit more pace in the last Fastrack.

    -Mark
    Interesting, guess we sold ours just in time. Thx
    Ian Macpherson
    Savannah, GA
    Race prep, support, and engineering.

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    Senior Member SV@RHC's Avatar
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    I think Larry is accurate in his assessment of FA cars and speed. You have to remember the F3 is a price point formula Atlantic meaning it is a spec class. in order for the car to compete in SCCA it must meet the FR America's "spec". In its present configuration it is a rocket coming onto a straight, it's really pretty impressive how hard it pulls. However, you must run the Hancook spec tire, along with the stock shock package and gearing. These are all good things when trying to keep the cost down. But, put a good set of Ohlins/Penke's on, gear the car for the track and change to a decent set of tires, maybe a wicker strip to help things out and you could easily nock 2-3 seconds a lap off. Looking at overall cost per mile to run there not as good as a PFM but way better than a purpose-built Formula Atlantic. On the west Coast the region has broken FA into three sub-classes, FA, FA2 and FA3. The F3's run their own group as FA2, Brent Morgan runs the series and has done a great job growing the class. They were able to cut a deal with Avon and that tire became the series tire, much better choice and it helped the car out tremendously while keeping pricing in check.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LarryWinkelman View Post
    I looked at a number of these options last year before deciding I couldn't justify the expense to be competitive in FA, regardless of the path. That said, and with the caveat that there aren't a lot of any of these being run to the limit... my semi-informed opinion:
    016 unrestricted is fastest.
    016 in club spec
    008/014, RT41
    Max prep F1000 (might be equal to 014, or faster?)
    Max prep PFM (motor and updated aero) is probably a tick behind, but relatively more competitive with a light driver who can get to min weight; I couldn't get close to min.
    I suspect F3 is also in this range, along with the older true FA cars.
    Stock motor F1000
    Stock PFM

    It really depends what you want to do. Trying to win Majors, HST, or the Runoffs... you're probably going to have $60k or more into the car before you're even getting close. Running cost are probably also nearly double for that as well (annual engine program, soft tires, etc.).
    what do you mean by max prep PFM? I drive a PFM and I’m looking for ways to make it a bit more competitive against Swifts. Are you referring to the gen 2 front and rear wings from star? Or custom aero mods?

    what kind of engine mods are you referring to?

    thanks.

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    But SCCA management says that they intend for F1000 to take over FA. (too bad there is not a rolling on the floor laughing emoji)
    Want to here another : That was the only option. (so explain Formula Mazda in FX)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rmag911 View Post
    what do you mean by max prep PFM? I drive a PFM and I’m looking for ways to make it a bit more competitive against Swifts. Are you referring to the gen 2 front and rear wings from star? Or custom aero mods?

    what kind of engine mods are you referring to?

    thanks.
    Max prep would include taking full advantage of the GCR allowances for aero and engine, at a minimum. I haven't looked at the FA, PFM spec-line section in a long time, but I'm thinking it would include custom, non-Star wings front & rear (e.g., a derivative of the HRP/Zebulon options), a max-width sidepod floor, tunnels and diffuser. I think there are also mild gains to be had in engine prep - porting, lightening rotors, ECU mapping, etc. The engine rules bounced around a bit, but I think the only constraint is the stock intake lower at this point... look it up, don't quote me. Another (maybe gray) area would be in optimizing the gear ratios, shock absorbers, etc. Again, I'm not entirely sure what would be considered spec, given that nobody is managing the rule set anymore... but I've heard tell of people doing all of the above. If lightweight, non-Star wheels are an option, there's performance to be had in reducing rotating mass. Likewise in finding the "right" tire. As I wrote, I realized that was going to be an expensive endeavor, and still probably not competitive against a 016. But faster than stock, and probably plenty of fun. YMMV.

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    Contributing Member lowside67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LarryWinkelman View Post
    Max prep would include taking full advantage of the GCR allowances for aero and engine, at a minimum. I haven't looked at the FA, PFM spec-line section in a long time, but I'm thinking it would include custom, non-Star wings front & rear (e.g., a derivative of the HRP/Zebulon options), a max-width sidepod floor, tunnels and diffuser. I think there are also mild gains to be had in engine prep - porting, lightening rotors, ECU mapping, etc. The engine rules bounced around a bit, but I think the only constraint is the stock intake lower at this point... look it up, don't quote me. Another (maybe gray) area would be in optimizing the gear ratios, shock absorbers, etc. Again, I'm not entirely sure what would be considered spec, given that nobody is managing the rule set anymore... but I've heard tell of people doing all of the above. If lightweight, non-Star wheels are an option, there's performance to be had in reducing rotating mass. Likewise in finding the "right" tire. As I wrote, I realized that was going to be an expensive endeavor, and still probably not competitive against a 016. But faster than stock, and probably plenty of fun. YMMV.
    I went through this "thought exercise" very recently and frankly there are few genuine advantages a true Atlantic build would have being based off of a PFM. There are a number of pros to the PFM... parts availability is excellent, you get a modern 6spd transmission that is common and parts are easy to find, traction control is permitted, the motors make 260hp and have significantly longer run times than a 4AGE between service, 13" tires are cheaper, etc.

    However, the single biggest DISadvantage is that the tub is considerably wider and squared at the bottom, which means that compared to a true Atlantic tub, the size of tunnels are significantly reduced since there is an overall maximum width that is actually quite narrow.

    I genuinely believe these cars could be a LOT faster than they currently are if they had nearly the development focus put on them that the F1000s or some of the real Atlantics have had. But at best, I think you'd have a car that was track dependent - some it would be as fast, and some it would still be down a bit.

    -Mark
    Mark Uhlmann
    Vancouver, Canada
    '12 Stohr WF1

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  21. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by LarryWinkelman View Post
    Max prep would include taking full advantage of the GCR allowances for aero and engine, at a minimum. I haven't looked at the FA, PFM spec-line section in a long time, but I'm thinking it would include custom, non-Star wings front & rear (e.g., a derivative of the HRP/Zebulon options), a max-width sidepod floor, tunnels and diffuser. I think there are also mild gains to be had in engine prep - porting, lightening rotors, ECU mapping, etc. The engine rules bounced around a bit, but I think the only constraint is the stock intake lower at this point... look it up, don't quote me. Another (maybe gray) area would be in optimizing the gear ratios, shock absorbers, etc. Again, I'm not entirely sure what would be considered spec, given that nobody is managing the rule set anymore... but I've heard tell of people doing all of the above. If lightweight, non-Star wheels are an option, there's performance to be had in reducing rotating mass. Likewise in finding the "right" tire. As I wrote, I realized that was going to be an expensive endeavor, and still probably not competitive against a 016. But faster than stock, and probably plenty of fun. YMMV.

    Sounds like a ton of modifications to only still be not competitive against a 016 hah. I suspect the money id spend on PFM modifications would be better spent upgrading to a Ligier F3. That would be closer to a 016 than a max prep PFM, no?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rmag911 View Post
    Sounds like a ton of modifications to only still be not competitive against a 016 hah. I suspect the money id spend on PFM modifications would be better spent upgrading to a Ligier F3. That would be closer to a 016 than a max prep PFM, no?
    I think it would be competitive against a 016 in SCCA trim, not a 016 unrestricted in SVRA/Pro trim.

    -Mark
    Mark Uhlmann
    Vancouver, Canada
    '12 Stohr WF1

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