Event Program: 2022 VIR SpeedTour
Meet FR Americas & F4 U.S.
A Modern Approach to Motorsports
photos by Gavin Baker
In the mid-2010s, the FIA realized a need within the open-wheel development ladder system—an affordable step between karting and F3 to help drivers hone their skills, while focusing on safety and controlling cost. FIA Formula 4, and subsequently Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda (F4 U.S.), were organized nationally to be that step.
The car was constructed to keep costs down, while providing an ideal learning tool for young drivers who have never raced cars before. The series quickly proved it offered more value and benefits than any other form of entry-level open-wheel racing. In addition to development on the track, F4 U.S. offers developmental educational programs that cover everything from driving preparation to marketing and public relations.
Premiering in 2016 with 15 races held across five event weekends, F4 U.S. attracted a total of 19 drivers and nine teams over the course of the season. In year two the field doubled, and by year four, F4 U.S. smashed the FIA F4 entry record with 38 drivers entered in their race at the 2019 Formula One U.S. Grand Prix. To date, there are 12 other FIA Formula 4 Championships around the world.
As F4 U.S. proved its success, conversations started to discuss creating another step in the developmental ladder. After years of development, testing and manufacturing, the FIA launched the next step on the #RoadtoF1, the ground-breaking FIA Formula Regional Championship. Representing the North and South Americas, Formula Regional Americas Championship Powered by Honda (FR Americas) was ready for launch by 2018.
Like F4 U.S., FR Americas remained focused on affordability and safety, with the innovative series being the first with a car that featured a halo in North America. Driver training and manufacturer support remain key elements of the FR Americas structure, with series partners like Honda, Ligier Automotive North America and, beginning in 2019, Hankook Tires playing an active role. FR Americas, one of first established of the now five Championships globally, continues to grow its grid and driver pedigree each year.
With both Championships competing on the same platform, F4 U.S. and FR Americas allow teams, whether multi-car or single-car, the same opportunity to succeed without additional funding needed for car development. The step between the Ligier JS F4 and JS F3 chassis allow for significant setup adjustments to increase the driver’s technical knowledge and experience—skills and knowledge that prove valuable when continuing to move up the open-wheel ladder.
Both F4 U.S. and FR Americas attract the top up-and-coming talent from around the globe. The 2022 Championships featured drivers from eight countries.
Notable FR Americas & F4 U.S. graduates include: Kyle Kirkwood (IndyCar & IMSA driver, 2021 Indy Lights Champion), Dakota Dickerson (IMSA and SRO World Challenge Racer), David Malukus (IndyCar driver), Benjamin Pederson (Indy Lights driver), Hunter Yeany (FIA Formula 3 driver), and Cameron Das (EuroFormula driver).