The Midget Grand Prix formula is the fastest of
all those that grace the country's Stock Car circuits, but these
machines are just about as far from Stock Cars as you can get.
The cars are pure racers and use highly tuned engines, but are
still well within the budget of the working man.
The tracks, known to aficionados these days as 'small ovals'
rather than Stock Car tracks, consist of two short straights
joined by two 180 degree bends. Average speeds over the quarter
mile tracks are therefore lower than the likes of Brands Hatch,
but the acceleration is phenomenal as the cars burst up to seventy
miles per hour for a few seconds before the driver slams on
the brakes and turns into the bend. Powering out of the corner,
the motor howls into life once again before the driver is back
on the brakes for the next bend. Add twenty five other cars
to compete with over a race distance of twenty laps and you
can begin to understand what Grand Prix Midget racing is all
Why Grand Prix Midgets?
Midget car racing dates back to the 1930's making it small oval
racing's longest serving formula. It's effectively American
'Indycar' style, but on a smaller scale. Unlike 'Indycar' racing,
however, the more experienced drivers start at the back of the
grid, which ensures plenty of overtaking and therefore entertainment
for the spectators and a sporting chance for the racing newcomers.
The current Formula was developed in the late sixties. The
first cars in the class were very similar to the Maserati, Connaught
and Vanwall Grand Prix cars of the late fifties. Over the years
however, the designs of the cars have changed with rear engine
machines becoming more evident in the late seventies.
The present Midget Grand Prix Club was formed in 1975 with the
late Graham Hill as its' President until his tragic death after
which Stirling Moss took up the position. In 1987 World Sportscar
champion and former Grand Prix driver Martin Brundle accepted
the position. There is no 'secret society' in the pit area and
more importantly help and encouragement is freely available
and given to new drivers.
What Are Midgets?
Don't be fooled by the word Midget because there is nothing
inferior about these racers. The cars are single seaters using
independent wishbone suspension, racing tyres and highly tuned
engines to a capacity of 1427cc. Cars may be either front or
rear engine, but the overall length of the car is restricted
to just 130", the wheelbase to 82" and the track width
to 66" - hence the name Midget. Despite being the fastest
of the small oval formulas, the Midgets are also the most cost
effective with competitive cars available in the region of £4,500.
Cars are either purpose built or converted from circuit racing
chassis and there are always cars for sale, details of which
the Club will be pleased to supply.