General Motors’ challenger to Ford’s domination of the junior single-seater racing categories was unveiled at Earls Court’s Motorfair.
The distinctive Reynard-built chassis, which also bears the name of GM’s Lotus division, will be the backbone of the one-make Vauxhall-Lotus series in Britain and Opel-Lotus series in West Germany and Benelux in 1988.
Like Formula Ford 2000’s unit, Opel’s 16-valve, 155 bhp, 2-litre engine will be sealed before it is supplied to competitors. But unlike FF2000, this is a one-chassis formula. The use of Bridgestone control tyres is Compulsory, and the aim is clearly to produce a cheap formula with the accent placed firmly on driver ability rather than on engineering or financial resources.
General Motors has guaranteed a minimum of five years backing for the venture, with chassis specification stabilised for at least three of those years.
Chassis price is fixed at £16,000, including engine and five-speed gearbox, and the total prize-fund for each round of the British series will be £4000.
An additional GM-Lotus European Challenge will comprise existing rounds drawn from the three domestic series, and five of its ten rounds will be GP supporting races.
Interest in the formula, which must be seen as a potentially cheaper alternative to FF2000 for drivers keen to make their mark, includes Formula 3000 outfits which are considering setting up junior teams in the lower formulae. Indeed, the prize for the winner of each national series will be a F3000 test-drive.