Steve Shelton takes his new Swift DB4 to victory at Road Atlanta in April 1988.  Copyright Mark Windecker 2014.  Used with permission.

ECAR Formula Atlantic 1988

Compared with the drama in the west, Formula Atlantic's eastern division ran smoothly, with sponsorship continuing from HFC, and 1987 runner up Steve Shelton proving his ability with seven pole positions from the ten races, together with three wins, two seconds and a third in his Stuart Moore Racing Swift DB4. Scott Harrington and Eric Lang were Ralt's leading drivers, and Harrington gave the RT4/88 its only HFC series victory at Montreal. However, both swapped to Swifts before the end of the year. After six seasons in which the Ralt dominated North American Formula Atlantic, the RT4-series cars were finally defeated in 1988. The US-built Swift DB4 took the top three places in each championship, took pole position at every race, led nearly 95% of the laps and won 18 of the 20 races.

There was now a stark difference between the strength of the two divisions: in the west 60% the entries were in 1987 or 1988 cars, but in the west that figure was just 33%. In the west, more than half the grid was made up of cars over five years old, compared with 21% in the east. The new Group B which ECAR announced for 1989 to replace their old "flat-bottomed" category, would allow Ralts up to 1984, so most the other division's entries!

The races

11 Apr 1988 > Road Atlanta

15 May 1988 > Milwaukee Mile

11 Jun 1988 > Montréal

19 Jun 1988 > Mosport Park

17 Jul 1988 > Road America

06 Aug 1988 > Lime Rock

04 Sep 1988 > Mid-Ohio

25 Sep 1988 > Mid-Ohio

23 Oct 1988 > St Petersburg

30 Oct 1988 > Sebring International Raceway

1988 ECAR HFC Formula Atlantic Challenge table

1Steve SheltonSwift DB4 - Ford BDD Jennings110 pts3 wins
2Colin TruemanSwift DB4 - Ford BDD Jennings89 pts2 wins
3J O 'Jocko' CunninghamSwift DB4 - Ford BDD Jennings81 pts2 wins
4John ThompsonSwift DB4 - Ford BDD Jennings78 pts 
5Scott HarringtonRalt RT4/88 - Ford BDD Jennings
Swift DB4 - Ford BDD Jennings
74 pts2 wins
6Eric LangRalt RT4/88 - Ford BDD Mong
Swift DB4 - Ford BDD MWE
72 pts 
7John LloydRalt RT4/87 - Ford BDD Jennings
Ralt RT4/88 - Ford BDD Jennings
Swift DB4 - Ford BDD Jennings
51 pts 
8Freddy RhemrevSwift DB4 - Ford BDD Quicksilver50 pts1 win
9Robbie BuhlRalt RT4/88 - Ford BDD Jennings42 pts 
10Joe TeresiRalt RT4/86 - Ford BDD Robertson39 pts