Formula Thunder 5000, Super5000 join forces

Tom Howard

Monday 17th July, 2017 - 6:00am

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Formula Thunder 5000 and Super5000 will combine to develop a Formula 5000 car for 2018

Formula Thunder 5000 and Super5000 founders will join forces to work together on developing a Formula 5000 single seater to be raced next year.

Australian open wheel racing had been set for conflict with two Formula 5000 series vying for customers for new single seater series.

Former racer and publisher Chris Lambden announced plans for his Formula Thunder 5000 category last year, which saw him develop an all-new V8 powered car based around a Swift chassis.

However, this looked set to be rivalled by the Supercars backed Super5000 series with the launch of its new bespoke racer, powered by Supercars’ V8 engines and transaxles, last month.

Lambden labelled the Super5000 concept a ‘copycat’ series claiming it would threaten the viability of his own Formula Thunder 5000 plans.

In a bid to ensure a Formula 5000 series returns to Australian soil, Formula Thunder 5000 boss Lambden and Super5000 backer and Wilson Security boss John McMellan have decided to align the two projects.

The move arrives following a meeting between the two facilitated by veteran racer John Bowe.

As a result, a new Formula 5000 car will be developed incorporating beneficial technical elements from both the Formula Thunder 5000 and Super5000 cars.

Work has already commenced on the merged project under the overarching Super5000 project umbrella, with further testing and development planned for both chassis as part of a detailed technical evaluation.

It is anticipated that a combination of elements of both projects along with some new enhancements will result in a revised final technical specification, which will be revealed in the coming months.

“This is the significant step forward which will allow the concept of a modern 5000-style race car and series to actually happen, and happen well, which is what we both started out to do,” said Lambden.

“I am more than pleased with the way we have been able to reach this solution, which I happily endorse and support.

“I’d like to thank John Bowe who, knowing all the parties involved, organised an initial meeting with John McMellan (Wilson).

“It was from this meeting that John McMellan basically said ‘Let’s just get this sorted and find the solution to work together.’

“He then coordinated bringing all the relevant parties together and from there it all came together very quickly and easily.

“The one thing that became apparent quite soon was that we all are primarily what I’d call ‘motorsport people’, and our motivation for getting into all this was the same. It didn’t take that long to agree a sensible way forward.

“I’d really like to acknowledge and thank everyone who has supported our efforts to date and reassure them that this outcome will result in a ‘5000-style’ race car and series that will be well worth coming to see.”

McMellan believes the decision to join forces will result in a successful V8 powered open wheel racing series.

“I think it’s important to highlight that the team at PAYCE, who are involved in the development of the Super5000, have been responsible for the progress that has been made in getting both parties aligned,” said McMellan.

“I merely assisted in the parties coming together after JB and I met with Chris. This decision to work together is a credit to their vision and flexibility.

“It’s also good to have Chris on board, who will play a role in the ongoing technical discussion.

“An outcome such as this will only result in a better outcome both commercially and technically as well as for the sport.

“The project team will take the best elements of both designs and thinking along with some other new thoughts to ensure we have a stand-out category that results in exciting, fast and action-packed open-wheeler racing.”

It is anticipated that Formula 5000 cars will be racing midway through the 2018 campaign.