Team Pelfrey rookie Robert Megennis
scored two podiums in the first four rounds
of the current USF2000 season. But when
the car design that Megennis was driving
made its debut, he hadn’t been born yet.
“For the chassis that we’re currently
using, the iteration that it’s in now was
new in 1999,” says USF- 17 project
manager Scot Elkins. “So we’re looking at
an almost 17-year-old car, which in
racecar terms is forever.”
A rolling USF- 17 chassis will cost
$51,800, which is a full $20,000 less
than the car it is replacing, despite
boasting significant upgrades in safety,
technology and performance. Key to the
“more car for less money” approach was
the decision to use the existing Formula 4
car as a platform, rather than starting
with a completely clean sheet.
“At this level, price is very important,”
says Andersen Promotions owner and
CEO Dan Andersen. “We were looking
around at all the options and talking to
different manufacturers, and designing
a clean-sheet car carries a higher price
point because of the invested cost by the
“At this level, price is very
important. Utilizing F4 as
a starting point gave us
some economies built in”
One of the few areas of
the new USF2000 package
that will remain (mostly)
unchanged is the engine.
The USF- 17 will be powered
by an updated version of
the current Mazda MZR
two-liter, inline- 4 powerplant.
All of the units are prepared
and sealed by Wisconsin
builder Elite Engines.
IF IT AIN’T BROKE...
manufacturer in order to do that.
“So we thought that utilizing the
Formula 4, which is worldwide and is a
price-controlled model, as a starting point
would give us some economies built in. If
we use some of the F4 components in
our new car, those have already been
designed, and there is already volume to
support the price point that they’re being
Monza-based Taatus designed the new USF- 17
chassis, which will mark the manufacturers’
return to USF2000 after a 15-year absence.