With a feather-light car of merely 590kgs, 110hp, lateral G-forces up to 1.6G, a top speed over 208 km/h and very simple mechanics, Formula Vee is motorsport at its purest. And this basic approach is creating a grin on every racers’ face. Motul supported rider Laurent Guerinaud brought home the victory in the Brazilian series during the last season and is making solid progress to grab gold again in 2021. We caught up with Laurent to find out more about this accessible racing class.
Laurent, what is the history behind Formula Vee?
The Formula Vee is the most popular monoclass racing series in the world, with competitions in well over 20 countries. As it’s quite affordable, it is considered as one of the key entries for future young talents in motorsport. Besides Emerson Fittipaldi and Nelson Piquet, Formula Vee has seen Niki Lauda and Keke Rosberg participating, before they became F1 champions.
The Formula Vee was introduced in Brazil in 1967 by racing car manufacturers, the most important one was Wilson Fittipaldi Junior, former racer and creator of the F1 Copersucar car, who constructed 52 FVee cars during the first years of the Championship. In 1967 the first race took place, with Wilsinho himself and his brother Emerson, twice world Champion in F1 at the steering wheel. After a stop of 30 years, the category was reinstalled by the Brazilian engineer Roberto Zullino, who launched a new racing car prototype in 2011 of which he produced around 100 units until today.
It is a breeding ground for young talent?
Absolutely, besides the names I mentioned before, the 2020 Formula Vee Championship in Brazil revealed a very promising pilot: Wallace Martins, 17 years old, who took the rookie win of the 2020 championship. He’s a very modest racer, but extremely talented. He even got the nickname “the Hamilton of the favela”. He will do everything to eventually obtain a seat in F1 and is considered one of the most promising talents of the last decades.
As for yourself, you entered the championship in 2020, correct?
Yes indeed. I’m from France where, during a scholarship, I successfully participated in karting championships in the early nineties. Due to unforeseen circumstances I had to quit my racing career unexpectedly. Afterwards I moved to Brazil for my work and, when the pandemic hit last year, I started racing in the Formula Vee again. With success!
What is the construction of the car like?
Formula Vee is a popular open-wheel, single-seater junior motor racing formula competing in Brazil. A top-running Formula Vee will go over 208 km/h and corner at about 1.6 g. It weighs a minimum of 590 kg with me as a driver included. We no longer run the old Beetle engine but a Volkswagen Fox 1.6. It’s the first class to enter after karting and very accessible as you actually rent the car from the organisation.
How does Motul comes into the story?
We started collaborating last year after I won the championship. Motul is providing me with really good products. However, the local Brazilian distributor is the preferred oil supplier for the whole championship, meaning all the engines are being lubricated by Motul oil, too. The engines of the Formula Vee cars are constantly being pushed into the red zone, so good lubrication is crucial!