offered at. So we can start from a much
better price point.
“But in looking at F4 cars, I wasn’t
satisfied with the overall package in terms
of safety or performance. So we started
with that car as a basis to keep the costs
reasonable, and then we developed it
from there to give me what I wanted,
which was a better-looking car, a
better-performing car, and a safer car,
than what the F4 class offers, while
keeping it very close to an F4 price. It was
fortunate for us that the F4 model was
out there for us to tap into.”
Tap into, and then develop almost
beyond recognition. While the new
USF2000 machine retains many basic
components that are common to the F4,
other areas of the car represent a radical
departure. The chassis has been modified
and strengthened to accommodate the
demands of ovals, including full Zylon side
intrusion panels and reinforced bulkheads.
The current Mazda MZR 2 powerplant will
be retained with minor modifications, while
other upgrades include a six-speed paddle
shift gearbox, four-way adjustable
dampers, a Cosworth data system, and
Performance Friction four-piston brakes.
The car was shaken down for the first
time at Kentucky’s NCM Motorsports Park
in mid-June, with USF2000 driver coach
Joel Miller getting the honor of being the
first to put the USF- 17 through its paces.
“It’s kind of unique, because the
Taatus’s enthusiasm for the USF- 17
project led to it making several updates
to the original chassis spec – including a
switch to an all-carbon fiber tub – without
changing the purchase price.
“We made some changes
during the shakdown, and
the car reacted exactly the
way we wanted it to”
components of the car have all been used
somewhere else; they’re just new
[together] as a package,” says Elkins.
“And it worked pretty well during the
shakedown. We had the chance to do
some spring changes, plus some changes
Although the new USF- 17 will draw upon the
same amount of horsepower as its
predecessor, its lighter weight, better aero,
and other performance tweaks are all
expected to translate into faster lap times.