BriSCA Formula 1 Stock Cars
|BriSCA F1 Stock Cars|
|Engine||Unlimited capacity carbureted normally aspirated cast iron block|
|World Champion||1 (217) Lee Fairhurst|
|National Points Champion||84 Tom Harris|
|British Champion||55 Craig Finnikin|
|European Champion||84 Tom Harris|
BriSCA Formula 1 Stock Cars is a class of single seater auto racing in the UK. Cars are custom-built and race on oval tracks of either shale or tarmac of approximately quarter-mile in length. The tracks they race on are surrounded by either armco or post and cable fences to keep the cars on the track. Racing is full contact, which means drivers are allowed to push, punt or spin fellow competitors out of the way. The cars are very strong and are of an open wheel design, but are designed with the contact element in mind, with front and rear bumpers and a sturdy roll cage. The cars are unlimited horsepower which means drivers can use any engine they like, but most use a Chevrolet small or big block V8 engine. BriSCA F1 is the pinnacle of oval racing in the UK, but is often confused by people with Banger racing which is a very different racing formula.
BriSCA (British Stock Car Association) F1 Stock Cars are governed by the BriSCA Management Board, comprising three members of the association of promoters (BriSCA) and three members of the BSCDA (British Stock Car Drivers Association) together with an independent secretary. Rules and regulations relating to car specifications, race procedures, track requirements and all other aspects of the sport are updated annually by the BriSCA Management Board. All drivers wishing to race at a BriSCA F1 meeting have to be registered in advance by the BSCDA. All venues that stage BriSCA F1 racing must be licensed by BriSCA.
BriSCA F1 Stock Car racing can trace its roots to the first stock car race in United Kingdom, which was held at New Cross Stadium in London on Good Friday, April 16, 1954, promoted by a Australian showman called 'Digger Pugh'. It was a raging success with the second meeting taking place at Odsal Stadium, Bradford on May 26 1954. The new craze spread like wildfire around the country and was dubbed the 7 day wonder, there were few rules. Originally, the cars were slightly modified saloon cars, hence the term stock as opposed to race cars. Most of the cars were American models with a V8 engine, although some were larger European cars. The cars were standard cars with wheel arches removed and with bumpers and roll bars added. In 1956 the Drivers Association was formed. In 1957 thanks to the efforts of Peter Arnold, a National numbering system was introduced, BriSCA, the association of promoters was formed and the Stock Car Racing Board of Control created. There was also agreement that BriSCA would only use drivers of the Drivers Association. From the initial explosion in 1954 things started to settle down, tracks opened and closed but racing rules were introduced and the cars became more refined, star drivers started to emerge. BriSCA has raced continuously since 1954 and held over 5000 meetings across the United Kingdom.
In 1975, about 30 southern based drivers broke away from the BriSCA and formed their own association, called SCOTA (Stock Car Oval Track Association). They were disappointed at the lack of F1 meetings being held in the south of the country. They raced for promoter Spedeworth in cars exactly the same as BriSCA F1. In 1978 it was renamed 'F1SCA' (Formula One Stock Car Association}. In 1980, F1SCA decided to introduce a five litre limit, and make the cars slightly smaller. Renamed 'Formula 80' the cars are still running today under the name of Spedeworth 'V8 Stock Cars'.
During the 1960s, the cars developed from stock road cars into specially built cars with fabricated chassis and race-tuned V8 engines. While NASCAR also races specially-built race cars, they retain the appearance of a road car, unlike the BriSCA F1 which now bears no resemblance to a road car.
A modern BriSCA F1 is a race car with front engine, rear-wheel drive, and open-wheeled with the driver located centrally. Cars make use of an aerofoil mounted on top of the roof that is similar to those found on American Sprint cars. A BriSCA F1 Stock Car is constructed of a race engineering steel chassis with aluminium sheet body panelling and aerofoils (wings) with a robust roll-over/safety cage. They must weigh 1350–1500 kg and use a heavily modified Ford Transit rear axle with a 'Doug Nash' style gearbox with two forward gears (one for racing) and one reverse. The most common engine used, due to its reliability and availability, are race-tuned American Chevrolet V8 engine in both small block (350 ci) 5.7 L and big block (454 ci) 7.4 L varieties, producing upwards of 740 bhp with approx 640 ft·lbs of torque. There is no limit in engine capacity or number of cylinders but engines must be naturally aspirated (no fuel injection, no supercharging or turbocharging permitted). Cars can reach speeds of 80–90 mph around a quarter-mile oval so they use large roof aerofoils to create downforce on the corners to provide some extra cornering grip.
Many drivers use two separate cars; one will be set up primarily for use on shale or dirt ovals, while the other car will be set up for tarmac or asphalt ovals; however a few drivers with limited budgets may optimise just one car for both surface types, changing various components for each different track and surface.
BriSCA F1 Stock Car races are normally held on short approximately quarter-mile oval tracks, either tarmac or shale. Heats usually consist of 16 laps, with meeting finals lasting 20 laps. Special events (such as the World Final) are held over 25 laps. The number of cars per race is generally between 20 and 30, but there have often been 40+ cars in a race.
Each driver is graded according to past results, their roofs painted accordingly: red aerofoils with amber flashing lights are known as 'superstar' grade drivers; then red, blue, yellow and white. The lowest graded drivers (white) start each race at the front of the field, while the superstar drivers start each race from the rear of the field. Championship winners are also designated specific roof colours: gold for the World Champion, silver for the National Series Champion, black and white checks for the British Champion, red and yellow checks for the European Champion.
Drivers are referred to by their racing number and name, for example 53 John Lund. Drivers tend to carry their number throughout their racing careers, but if they win the World Championship they are allowed to race as number 1 until the next World Championship.
The World Championship is an annual competition and the premier stock car championship. The winner is granted the honour of racing with a gold roof and wing until the next World Final and may choose to race under number 1. The World Final is usually held in September. The host tracks, all of which are based in the UK, are chosen by the designated promoter.
The grid for the World Final is composed of drivers from the UK who are chosen through a series of qualifying rounds and two World Championship Semi-Finals. Drivers who fail to progress from the World Semi-Finals may race again in a Consolation Semi-Final to choose two more entrants, and the reigning World Champion is entitled to start at the rear of the grid if they have not already qualified. The UK drivers are joined by stock car drivers from the Netherlands, and by invited drivers in the nearest equivalent motorsport formulas from other countries often including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA.
The most successful driver in World Final races is John Lund, who has won eight. Other notable multiple winners include 391 Stuart Smith (six), 391 Andy Smith (five), 33 Peter Falding (four), 103 Johnny Brise (three) and 252 Dave Chisholm (three).
The National Points Championship is a season-long competition. The winner is granted the honour of racing with a silver roof for the following season.
The first season-long championship started in 1956. Drivers' scores at every stock car meeting were recorded to create the championship table. During the late 1990s, when 515 Frankie Wainman Junior dominated, there was criticism that the National Points Championship was predictable and favoured drivers who had the money to race at as many meetings as possible. The National Series was created in 2002. Rather than the points accumulated over the entire season counting towards the winner, the National Series was competed for over 35 designated meetings. The season-long National Points Championship survived, but its importance was downgraded, and the privilege of racing with a silver roof for the following season was transferred from it to the National Series.
In 2009, the National Series was amended. This time, the top ten points-scoring drivers over the first two-thirds of the season were entered in the National Series Shootout, beginning with no points except for a small number of meeting attendance points. The drivers raced over ten designated Shootout rounds, with the points scored in them deciding the winner of the National Series. In 2010, the number of competing drivers was increased to twelve. From 2012, the National Series Shootout was rebranded the National Points Championship Shootout.
The most successful drivers in National Points Championships and National Series are 391 Stuart Smith and 515 Frankie Wainman Junior, who have both won thirteen. Other notable multiple winners include 53 John Lund (six), 38 Fred Mitchell (three), 391 Andy Smith (three) and 212 Frankie Wainman (three).
The current tracks where BriSCA F1 currently race are:
- Birmingham Wheels
- Buxton Raceway
- Coventry Stadium, Brandon,
- Hednesford Hills Raceway
- Ipswich, Foxhall Stadium
- King's Lynn, Norfolk Arena
- Manchester, Belle Vue Stadium
- Northampton International Raceway
- Sheffield, Owlerton Stadium
- Skegness Stadium
- Stoke, Loomer Road Stadium
- Venray (Netherlands)
Although not part of the official BriSCA calendar, BriSCA F1 drivers also occasionally compete at Emmen and St Maarten in the Netherlands and Warneton in Belgium.
Tracks where BriSCA F1 racing has taken place since 1954, but do not race any-more :
- Aycliffe Stadium
- Belle Vue, Hyde Road, Manchester
- Bristol, Mendips Raceway
- Racewall Cowdenbeath (Scotland)
- Crayford Stadium
- Crewe stadium
- Harringay Stadium
- Leicester Stadium
- Long Eaton
- Mildenhall Stadium
- Nelson Seedhill Football Ground
- Newcastle, Brough Park
- New Cross Stadium
- Odsal Stadium, Bradford
- Oxford Stadium
- Reading Stadium
- Athletic Grounds, Rochdale
- Walthamstow Stadium
- Wembley Stadium (1923)
- West Ham Stadium
- White City, Greater Manchester
- Wimbledon Stadium
- Yarmouth Stadium
- Baarlo (Netherlands)
- Brands Hatch
- Cadwell Park
- Knockhill Racing Circuit (Scotland)
- Lydden Hill Race Circuit
- Mallory Park
- Snetterton Motor Racing Circuit
The 1980s saw BriSCA F1 Stock Cars on national television, featured on ITV's World of Sport. During 2009, the BBC filmed an F1 Stock Car Season almost in its entirety to produce a 6-part television documentary titled Gears and Tears which featured the bitter battle between the two dominant clans in the sport, the Yorkshire-based Wainmans and the Lancashire-based Smiths. Over the nine-month season the film makers enjoyed unprecedented behind the scenes access. From 2011, satellite television channel Premier Sports began broadcasting selected meetings.
- Official website of BriSCA F1
- Official website of BSCDA
- Latest F1 News and Information
- Archive of Drivers and Race results
- V8 Stock Cars