Thirty-odd years ago, Japanese car manufacturers began designing and building cars specifically for the world's largest automotive market place: America. Sadly, the big three never returned the compliment and have yet to design a car tailored to the second largest market: Japan. However, California's Swift Engineering has just won the contract to make all the chassis for Japan's top single-seater racing category, Formula Nippon, and so will be making a tiny dent in Japan's vast automotive trade deficit with America. Or they would be if the cars were road legal.
The new carbon monocoque replaces a steel-framed Lola chassis that the formula has used since becoming a single-make series in 2002, and will be bolted to 600HP+ 3.4L Honda and Toyota engines that are architecturally similar to those used in IRL. The most striking design change is that gaping 6'4" wide front wing which bucks the trend in international single-seater formulae for smaller, less efficient aerodynamic aids.
Will this help the car maintain downforce when drafting down straights and thus encourage overtaking? Let's hope so, but even if it doesn't, we think it looks cool.
[Source: Formula Nippon]