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1978 North American Formula Atlantic champion Howdy Holmes, seen here at Road America in 1979 in a March 79B.  Copyright Glenn Snyder 2011.  Used with permission.

Formula Atlantic

Formula Atlantic can trace its origins to the SCCA's 1600cc Formula B which began in 1965, utilising the widely available and cost-effective Lotus-Ford twin cam engine. The formula quickly spread to Canada and then to Britain in 1971, acquiring the name Formula Atlantic in the process. Canada adopted the British regulations and name in 1974, and Formula Atlantic became the major racing category in Ireland and South Africa over the next few years. The SCCA adopted Formula Atlantic rules for 1975 but kept the FB name until 1979. New Zealand adopted Formula Atlantic rules for 1977, using the name Formula Pacific, and were quickly followed by Japan, the Southeast Asian Internationals and Australia.

The worldwide success of Atlantic and Pacific led to a FIA-imposed Formula Mondial in 1983, designed to be part of a global formula with regional qualifying series and annual runoffs. The FIA had the authority to impose the new formula but neither the commercial ability nor the focus required to follow through and make it work. Mondial imploded and the planned runoffs were cancelled, which proved a fatal blow to the North American series. Its place was taken by a SCCA-sanctioned series which spread from the west coast of the US to become a national series under the leadership of Vicki O'Connor.

In 1990 it became Toyota Atlantic as the Toyota 4A-GE engine was mandated. The series was integrated into CART when CART bought O'Connor's Pro-Motion Agency Ltd in April 1998, and that same year a spec chassis was introduced, the Swift 008.a. The chassis was replaced with the Swift 014.a for 2002 and then the package was changed to the Swift 016.a chassis with a Cosworth-Mazda engine in 2006. After the collapse of the former CART series, the 'Atlantic Championship' was bought from Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe by Ben Johnston in October 2008, only to be finally cancelled a season later. A new Pro championship started by SCCA Pro Racing ran for a single season in 2012, followed by an "Atlantic Championship Series" run by Formula Race Promotions from 2014 using a dismal assortment of increasingly aged Swifts from the former Pro series, padded out by 2019 with motorcycle engined "Formula 1000" cars. The amateur SCCA class also staggers on with a similar selection of machinery.

The grid below shows the results that have been collated so far.

Results coverage map (1965-1988)

  65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88
USA                                                
Canada                                  
UK                                                
Ireland                                                
South Africa                                                
New Zealand                                                
Australia                                                
SE Asia                                                
Japan                                                

Key:

Formula Atlantic/Formula Pacific Formula B
Results due soon Results incomplete
Not organised as a series No events held
Similar formula (see notes below)

A series of races were held in Ireland to 1600cc rules in 1967 and this remained a class of Irish racing alongside F2 until the adoption of Formula Atlantic in 1974. Australian National Formula 2 was for 1600cc cars from 1969 onwards, firstly to F2 rules, then for twin-cams and later using single-cam engines such as the VW Golf. Races in South East Asia were generally limited to 1600cc from 1973 onwards until the Macau GP formally adopted Formula Pacific in 1977. After the 1979 season, South Africa moved to Mazda engines and continued with that local flavour of Atlantic until 1985.

All UK, Irish, North American, New Zealand and South African results have been compiled by Chris Townsend with the exception of three early US FB seasons: 1970 by Jim Thurman and 1969 and 1971 by Allen Brown. The Australian Formula Pacific results (1981-84) were also compiled by Chris, the Australian National F2 series for 1974 by Curt Bond and the Japanese Formula Pacific results by Michael Ferner. We are also grateful to Dominic St Jean of the Canadian website AutoCourse.ca for providing original results sheets.