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Born in the USA—Formula Super Vee

The Wheeler Super Vee was designed by ex-All American Racers aerodynamicist Gary Wheeler.
Michael Andretti slides the all-conquering Ralt RT-5 Super Vee to victory at Riverside Raceway in 1981. Andretti was just one of dozens of drivers who used Super Vee as a launching pad for Indy car careers. Photo: Bob Tronolone

In attempting to relate the history and importance of the Formula Super Vee series to road racing in America, there are hundreds of people you could name and one person you have to mention, for without him there would be no Super Vee. That man is Joe Hoppen, who as director of Special Vehicles for Volkswagen of America, invented the formula. Unlike its predecessor Formula Vee, which was designed to be an “everyman’s” formula, Super Vee was intended to showcase young driving talent in an entry level of open-wheel professional racing. During its lifetime, from 1971 through 1990, professional Super Vee racing also became a tremendously fertile training ground for professionals who graduated on to the top levels of American and international motorsport. In addition to drivers who started in Super Vee, numerous mechanics, designers, journalists and even sponsors starting in Super Vee, successfully climbed the ladder to success in big time motor racing. Essentially, Super Vee became America’s version of Formula 3.


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