US Formula Super Vee 1981

Thanks to its close links with Indycar racing and enthusiastic support from Porsche Audi, the US FSV series boomed in the early 1980s. Ralt RT5s had dominated the latter part of the previous season and were now the car to buy and March joined Lola and Argo in abandoning FSV. Of the other marques Gary Pratt took a surprise pole at Michigan in his Protofab Riley and Dave McMillan twice put his Autoresearch on the front row.

Rick Galles formed a new team for the 19-year-old Al Unser Jr and the experienced Bob Earl. Both had won races in the previous season, Earl having won both his appearances and Unser one of his two, and they were joined as pre-season favourites by 1977 European FSV champion Arie Luyendijk (who would later rename himself Luyendyk to help out the US press). Another leading contender from 1980, Pete Halsmer, missed the opening race in Frank Arciero's Ralt RT5/80 as he tried his luck in Atlantic and at the Indy 500. He and Unser then had a great battle through the season, finishing 1-2 in five of the nine races. Halsmer couldn't quite make up for missing that opening race and Unser took the title by just four points.

The races

17 May 1981 > Charlotte Motor Speedway

07 Jun 1981 > Milwaukee Mile

11 Jul 1981 > Watkins Glen

25 Jul 1981 > Road America

09 Aug 1981 > Brainerd

06 Sep 1981 > Milwaukee Mile

19 Sep 1981 > Michigan International Speedway

04 Oct 1981 > Riverside

31 Oct 1981 > Phoenix International Raceway

1981 Robert Bosch/VW Super Vee Championship table

1Al Unser JrRalt RT5/81 - VW Brabham98 pts4 wins
2Pete HalsmerRalt RT5/80 - VW Brabham94 pts3 wins
3Bob EarlRalt RT5/81 - VW Brabham56 pts1 win
4Arie LuyendijkMarch 81BE - VW Schrick48 pts 
5Dave McMillanAutoresearch - VW Brabham43 pts 
6Chip GanassiMarch 79/80V - VW Bertils
Ralt RT5/81 - VW Bertils
Ralt RT5/81 - VW Brabham
38 pts 
7Bob CicconiRalt RT5/81 - VW Bertils36 pts1 win
8Greg AtwellRalt RT5/80 - VW Brabham34 pts 
9John KalagianRalt RT5/80 - VW Heidegger30 pts 
10Mike RosenRalt RT5/81 - VW Brabham29 pts 

Next: the 1982 US FSV season

For a full review of the season, see Gordon Kirby's review in Autosport 17 Dec 1981 p23.