Formula Thunder 5000 Testing Waters Down Under

V-8-powered open wheel racing may stage a comeback

When Formula 1 axed the glorious high-strung naturally aspirated V-8 in favor of the heavily boosted turbocharged V-6; fans knew that the aural pleasures of the glory days of F1 were over. Turbochargers mean less noise, and less noise means less of the overall Formula 1 experience. The possible return of Formula Thunder 5000 aims to bring the noise back to open wheel racing.

Currently, there’s a prototype going through the test phase down at local racetracks around Australia and New Zealand. Some of the recent runs were captured in the videos below, including a few startups and shakedown laps.

Former Australian Touring Car Championship team owner Chris Lambden is leading this attempt at reviving Formula 5000, which ran from 1968 to 1982. The car uses a Swift Formula Nippon chassis and is powered by a 5.0-liter naturally aspirated V-8 that produces 570 horsepower mated to a six-speed sequential gearbox. It even has air scoop that looks like it was pulled off a 1970s era Formula 1 car. The only thing missing is Sir Jackie Stewart and his amazing side burns.

Formula Thunder 5000 rear

Lambden not only wants to bring back the sight and sound of Formula Thunder 5000 and early Formula 1, but also bring back the talented drivers that make these cars dance.

“Hopefully, a new generation of talented young drivers will get to experience the kind of mind-blowing performance that Alan Jones, Kevin Bartlett, Spencer Martin, Warwick Brown and the other stars of that 1970s generation did…and which motorsport fans loved,” Lambden recently told Motorsport.

“The [new] FT5000 car will be a seriously challenging, powerful, fast, open-wheel racecar to drive, and the sight and sound of a grid full of them getting off the line should be awesome.” We agree and can’t wait to see and hear them.