• Aug 24, 2008

Just under a year since the concept was announced, two brand new 2009 Formula Nippon chassis, designed and built by California's Swift Engineering, have gone through shakedown trials at Fuji Speedway. Autoblog spoke to Team Toyota TOM'S Andre Lotterer, one of the first two F'pon pilots to take the radically designed machine out for a spin, to see what he thought of the exceptionally wide single seater.

First off, they seem to be pretty well put together. In an unusual turn of events for a brand new car, nothing broke or fell off during the its first outing in anger. Equally unusual, the new design is almost as quick as the Lola chassis it replaces, and with a few adjustments is destined to be even quicker. That's saying something: Andre has managed to lap Fuji in 1 minute 23 seconds in the 2008 Formula Nippon car, less than 5 seconds off Lewis Hamilton's record of 1:18.7

Although the chassis currently lacks mechanical grip, pitching the car in to crowd pleasing slides in slow corners, Andre reckons that the gigantic 6' 4" wide front wing and sculpted sidepods are generating plenty of downforce, keeping the car planted through higher-speed bends. Unfortunately, those advanced aerodynamics won't be able to prevent incidents such as F1 refugee Yuji Ide's aerobatics at Suzuka earlier this year, and super rookie Kohei Hirate's wince inducing flight into the barriers at Motegi a few weeks ago, but the Swift monocoque is even stronger than the 2008 Lola tub that saved those drivers from serious injury.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 12 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      are these the latest Formula 1?
        • 6 Years Ago
        except these Swift chassis look a helluva lot better than the FUGLY Dallara IRL cars
        • 6 Years Ago
        Think more IRL series of Japan
      • 6 Years Ago
      How come we do not have F1 in USA? I can guarantee you that Grand Prix NYC would be amazing.

      I mean F1's on the streets of Manhattan, how wild would that be?

      I think any city that wants to increase ints Tourists revenue should attemt to bring F1. I mean look at Detroit, they have NOTHING going for them, why not attemt this thing, you are the MO TOWN after all, or Miami, or LA, but NYC would be just crazy.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The ransom that Bernie demands makes it cost prohibitive. Maybe Vegas could afford it, but given the choice they'd probably rather build a Nascar oval right on the strip.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I think they'd need to sink a fortune into the streets themselves to have them in a condition for F1 cars to run on them. It would be cost prohibitive for a place like NYC, I think- but is there anything wrong with a cool road course? I'd prefer west coast so I wouldn't need to travel as far, so Infineon would be pretty badass. Laguna Seca would be cool if it were a bit longer, but it would shred the underbody of the cars with the Corkscrew and all. I'd love to see those run on a true road course- Indy was fun, F1 cars sound awesome/shockingly loud in person, but the track really left a lot to be desired.
      • 6 Years Ago
      These Nippon cars are nice as hell. If Batman were into Formula series, he'd drive one of these.

      All it needs is a missile launcher, grappling hook and a stealth mode.
        • 6 Years Ago
        yea im too ADD right now to look into the performance numbers but they look BADASS
        • 6 Years Ago
        The Formula Nippon cars will have 600hp + alpha 3.4L V-8s and weigh 670kg (engine has to last three races). So almost equivalent to a GP2 car.

        Also, these 3.4L V-8 will become standard in Japan's SuperGT GT500 series. So these engines will be used interchangeably between GT racing and open-wheel racing as a cost saving measure. Nissan, Toyota, and Honda all have these 3.4L V8s ready and waiting for next year.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Speaking of US designed monoposts.... I always wondered why the very American IRL uses Italian chassis (Dallara) and Japanese engines....
        • 6 Years Ago
        bc GM pulled out from Indy500 sometime ago and Honda began to supplies indy500 with there more reliable and fuel efficient v10...ok maybe not that fuel efficient^^

        The Grand Prix was in San Jose, CA downtown street for the last two summers, and it was loud as hell as I live about 4 miles from downtown and I was still able to hear it engine' rev. Incredible sound! I don't know what happened to it this year :(.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I coulda swore they used a v8.