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SA developed cars to take over from Investchem Formula 1600

South African single seater racing is set for a revolution, when a Investchem MSA4 takes over from Formula 1600 as the country’s premier wings and slicks class from 2025. Formula 1600 will continue for as is 2024, before being replaced by the unique new South African developed MSA4 cars next year.

“While Investchem Formula 1600 has served us incredibly well, delivered champions and great talent that has gone on to bigger things, the rate of development in motorsport is starting to render our cars obsolete,” series boss Ian Schofield admitted. “We have however been moving with the times and will soon reveal our new Investchem MSA4 prototype before the series switches over to the new cars in 2025.

“Already two years in the making, WCT Engineering has quietly been designing and developing our new car, which we are excited to now see coming together. As per the artist’s impression, the new MSA4 car not only looks far more contemporary, but it is safer, stronger, and considerably more advanced too. It also has a new downsized turbocharged Volkswagen engine and will be ready to deliver the next batch of South African racing stars.”

The first stronger, safer, and completely re-engineered MSA4 car is nearing completion at WCT Engineering at Kyalami. Based loosely around the current Formula 1600 car, the new machine is designed to be cost effective to race competitively in South Africa, and plausibly in other ‘emerging’ market single seater race series.

While a traditional Formula 4 car is based on a more expensive carbonfibre monocoque chassis, the MSA4 machine goes back to basics. Built around a sophisticated and completely redeveloped spaceframe chassis using the same materials used to manufacture top class Dakar cars, MSA4 cars feature halo-inspired head protection and survival cell similar to that used in Formula 1. This allows a driver to be extracted in his or her seat, in the event of a major accident.

Beyond those massive safety strides, MSA4 will also step up to a downsized one-litre turbocharged triple cylinder Volkswagen engine developing slightly more power and a good deal more torque than the outgoing normally aspirated unit. Being heavier and safer than the existing car, series officials expect that the new cars should race at a similar pace to the existing machines.

“Volkswagen Motorsport is delighted to be MSA4’s engine supplier,” Mike Rowe, Head of Volkswagen Driving Experience confirmed. “MSA4 is an exciting prospect and another excellent driver development series. Our turbocharged one-litre three-cylinder engine is derived from Volkswagen’s proven small road cars and is already well proven on track. “It will now be adapted to the new MSA4 single seater, where we are confident that it will provide a powerful, dependable and reliable engine.”

To further contain costs, the new cars’ transmission, differential, all suspension components, brakes, front and rear wings, and several other components remain identical to the current F1600 cars. This allows existing racers and owners to utilise those components out of their current cars. MSA4 will however adopt new ‘mini-F1’ bodywork and run on slightly fatter slick tyres and new wider, centre lock wheels.

Watch for the new MSA4 prototype to roll out in the coming months before a period of testing and development. A build phase will follow later in 2024, in preparation for the maiden Investchem MSA4 season in 2025. The current Investchem Formula 1600s will meanwhile race as usual through seven Extreme Festival rounds in 2024.

Issued on behalf of Investchem Formula 1600

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