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Honda HPD bumbs Volkswagen out of Formula Lites racing

Another win for Honda Performance Development in the the very competitive world of international auto racing. Previously announced as the dedicated engine manufacturer for SCCA sanctioned Formula Lites, Volkswagen has been replaced by the iconic Honda K24 i-VTEC.

The newly formed and SCCA sanctioned Formula Lites series is intended to bridge the gap for young and entry level drivers transitioning between Kart and IndyCar series or GP, Formula 1 racing.

The key to success for many racing teams in this transition is unit cost and bullet-proof engine and drive-train reliability. The Honda K24 engine will provide one of if not the highest race- cycle rates in the industry.

Honda powered cars win more open wheel and IndyCar races than any other engine manufacturer in racing.

Manufactured by Denver, Carolina racing mainstay Crawford Composites and promoted by the High Performance Group, the Formula Lite car and series will provide a relatively affordable training seat for those sports drivers heading for the big show.

Back in March, Crawford Composites had announced that a Volkswagen turbocharged 4 cylinder would power the dedictaed class Formula Lite series.

Crawford has changed engine suppliers.

For reasons known only to Crawford Composites and High Performance Group, Honda HPD has entered into contract to power the Formula Lite car.

Honda has indicated in its most recent press release that the K24 i-VTEC 4 cylinder engine was chosen by Crawford for its price-point and reliability.

As reported earlier by Torque News, The Honda K24 is arguably the most reliable race modified production engine in the world. We've seen it utilized in all race venues including the open wheeled Ariel Atom. However, Crawford, while utilizing its proprietary transmission and superior paddle shifting electronic interface is not forthcoming with the race engine power specifications of the modified Honda K24.

At any rate a normally aspirated K24 is capable of producing 225 horsepower and 162 ft-lb torque. A turbocharged “R” can exceed 350 horsepower as demonstrated here. Weighing in at under 1500 lbs, the FL15 will be a rocket fitted with either K24 HPD race prepared engine.

What we do know is that the term “affordable” is left to the perception of the holder. In this case Crawford’ “E” ride FL15 will set the buyer back $115,000+. Looking to the current campaign cost of a Honda powered Dallara DW12, the affordable FL15 is a relative bargain in the world of competitive open-wheel racing.

When a Dallara hits the wall hard at Indianapolis as witnessed in April, we’re talking a $100,000 + repair bill. At $600,000 per, most team owners will not take a chance on an under trained driver.

That’s where Formula Lite comes into play.

In late 2014, we will witness a handful Formula Lite outings with a full 2015 schedule announcement pending. For those wishing to explore their options, you may do so here.