Formula Vee: 60 years old and still going strong

Photography by James Heine

Story by James Heine

For the 38th edition of its popular Elkhart Lake Vintage Festival–now, officially, the Ariens Art on Wheels Vintage Weekend Featuring the VSCDA–the Vintage Sports Car Drivers Association celebrated the 60th anniversary of the venerable Formula Vee, September 15–17.

It was a popular choice.

Headlined again by the commercial and residential lawn, garden, and landscape equipment maker Ariens, the VSCDA’s annual early-fall classic at Road America included a feature race for Formula Vee, the weekend’s annual Friday enduro, a founders tribute race, the popular Sunday afternoon Kimberly, Sheldon, and Elkhart Lake Cup races, which recall Elkhart Lake’s founding road races between 1950 and 1952, and this year a special race for Formula B.

As in the past few years, Historic SportsCar Racing also was part of the 2023 event.

Brendan Alexander, 1966 Triumph TR4/Ambro.

With more than 40 vintage Vees in attendance, the weekend was a testament to the continued popularity of the class.

Is it still a popular class? I think the answer to that is this: There are 42 Formula Vees here this weekend, and they age in range from 1964 or 1965 to about 1972,” observed Formula Vee fan and driver Ed Smith. “Basically, all of them are equal. A lot of it is driver skill and experience. It is just a great, fun class, and it’s full of great people and camaraderie.”

Sarah Duffy and Ed Smith, 1968 Zink/Z4.

Smith was not alone in his assessment of the class. It was a common assessment in the Formula Vee paddock.

It’s fun, it’s people, and it’s the competition,” noted Formula Vee and Spec Miata racer Jack Heideman. “You always have people to run with. There are usually big fields with VSCDA, and at Road America that means a lot of drafting strategy.”

Jack Heideman, 1968 Zink/C4.

Formula Vee boasts an enduring appeal, not only because of its format–accessible, reasonably cheap (for racing), and good competition–but also because of the people involved, said VSCDA board member and Formula Vee restorer and expert Bob Shedd. “It’s a family, and it’s a community, and if you need help, they’re ready to give it,” he said.

Enough said.

For the record, Eric Coppock, driving a 1969 Lynx/B, won the Sunday Formula Vee feature race.

Eric Coppock, 1969 Lynx B (Formula Vee feature race winner).

Finally, also in the “fun” department, we admit to few things more enjoyable than spending an early-fall weekend in rural Wisconsin—cool weather, foggy mornings, afternoon sunshine, and a hint of fall colors. Add three days of vintage racing across a myriad of classes and you have a foolproof recipe for fun.


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