• Aug 30, 2007

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]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 11 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Anyone want to put bets on how many weeks until Toyota gives up, leaving Honda as the lone engine supplier?
      • 7 Years Ago
      That is one sweet looking racing car.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Those are really big side ducts!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wow, those cars look pretty damn slick and futuristic.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This car looks pretty awesome but ... wouldn't it be more awesome if they had a single make series of Suzuki XL7 pikes peak edition but tuned for road courses.
      • 7 Years Ago
      USA isn´t the biggest market and Japan is far away from second biggest market...

      only some days ago autoblog published a JD Power statistic about car market sice... Norht America(USA Canada) is only number 3 in the world and Japan is a smale part of the asian market which is completely dominatet by China... the biggest car market in the world is Europe with 2 million cars more sold as in North america in 2007 and most likely 3millions more in 2009.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "Sadly, the big three never returned the compliment and have yet to design a car tailored to the second largest market: Japan."

      Few imports have made serious inroads into the Japanese market, whether they be from the US, Germany or Korea. The Japanese have used a variety of trade, economic and non-tariff tools to protect thir home market for thie own goods. Without it, Toyota would not be the largest automaker in the world.

      Japan is the third largest AUTO market in the world, recently passed by China.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Justin,
      The domestic manufacturers would love to design cars in Japan for Japanese buyers. But unfortuneatly, the Japanese government doesn't feel that this would honor Japan and makes this difficult to virtually impossible. Sales of ALL non-Japanese vehicles in Japan continue to be limited, very limited. Currently, they sell about 4% of that market.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "the big three never returned the compliment and have yet to design a car tailored to the second largest market: Japan."

      lol... it's not that they didn't try, but why buy inferior products than local cheaper cars? 30 years ago the problems per hundred car was about 300 (yes 3 per car - off the lot) for American cars and less than 17 per japanese car.

      "didn't return the favor" bwhahahahah. This site IS biased towards american cars. Like you based (arguable so) the Chinese crash test video. BUT the FORD ranger crash test video looked JUST as bad, if not worse!, but did you post that one?

      nope.


        • 7 Years Ago
        No way, really?
        You mean to tell me that an American run website about cars has a bias towards American cars? As a fan of this site I don't feel they are biased but that's not my point.

        What you call bias could easily be called pride.
        Pride in cars that were built in North America by North Americans for North Americans.

        Not to mention their fellow countrymen who work for the car companies that play a big part in THEIR economy and thusly their way of life.

        American cars have also come a long way and I would be proud to own one of many different types of American cars. I think you can see from my user name though that I have a personal bias towards European cars though (Saab).

        On a final note, I'm not a resident of the USA nor was I ever or plan to be in the future. I'm just making a point.