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by Jay Traugott
Volkswagen's Formula Vee celebrates its 50th anniversary at Daytona this weekend with a parade of classic racing cars and special guests.
It's been 50 years since Volkswagen first launched its Formula Vee race cars at Daytona and it celebrated the occasion by having a parade of classic FV and Formula Super Vee cars hit the pavement just prior to the start of the Rolex 24, which is currently taking place. For those who don't already know, Formula Vee is a low-cost racing formula consisting of open wheel, single-seat race cars that helped launch the careers of stars like Niki Lauda, Keke Rosberg, Michael Andretti and Al Unser, Jr.
Some ex-FV drivers who were back to mark the special occasion included Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk, who drove the first Formula Vee car, as well as two-time Daytona winner Elliot Forbes-Robinson and former DTM drivers Hans-Joachim Stuck and Dieter Quester. Rally driver icon Markku Alen was also on hand. Formula Vee first got its start in the US back in 1963 at the Daytona Speedway. The first cars were powered by a 1.2-liter, 40 horsepower engine with the running gear from the VW Beetle. This was one of the most cost-effective single-seat race cars at the time and its popularity soon spread to Europe.
In 1971 the Formula Super Vee series got underway where a 1.6-liter VW engine with 120 hp (later 200 hp) was used. The first-ever SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) Formula Vee race was held in August, 1963 at the Daytona Speedway.