Irish Formula Atlantic 1974-1983
Formule Libre had worked well for motor racing in Ireland, allowing drivers on both sides of the border to compete in the same races, but for 1974, with Formula 2 becoming increasingly expensive, it made sense to move to Formula Atlantic, which had been a great success in Britain. As the only permanent circuits on the island were Mondello Park in the south, and Kirkistown in the north, this only really meant finding an agreement between the Royal Irish Automobile Club (RIAC) in the south and the 500 Motor Racing Club of Ireland (500 MRCI) in the north. BP, sponsors of the British Formula Atlantic series in 1974, provided their support and a BP-IYI Formula Atlantic Championship of Ireland was announced for 1974.
Patsy McGarrity dominated the first season, and retained his title comfortably in 1975. For 1975, the 500 MRCI organised its own championship for Northern Ireland, and McGarrity also won that. He won the All-Irish title again in 1976, then scored a double again in 1977, winning both the All-Ireland title and a revived Texaco Northern Ireland title. A Duckhams championship was added for 1978, covering races in the Republic, and that year Eddie Jordan won two of the titles, only narrowly losing out to Mike Nugent for the northern title. In 1979, both the All-Ireland and northern titles were won by Gary Gibson, but Nugent struck back in 1980 to narrowly beat Gibson to the All-Ireland title. The 1981 title surprisingly fell to Patsy McGarrity, who didn't win a single race but regularly picked up points all season. Formula Atlantic stuttered on through 1982 and Trevor Templeton was the dominant driver, winning five races in his Ralt RT4/82. Kirkistown held a few races for Atlantics in 1983, and even Mondello managed to muster a race on a couple of occasions, and Pat Mooney was somehow declared as Irish Atlantic champion.