Published on www.autoentusiastas.com.br on November 7 2022, the following is the original English text of an article by Daniel Demaras about Formula 1200. Our friend Rubens Junior made publication possible through columnist Alexander Gromow, who writes about VW racing and Beetles in particular. Rubens also handled translation (thank you, sir) but clicking on Google Translate to switch to English results in some really weird words. So, here’s the original English text.
From Canada to Brazil, Formula Vee is Open-Wheel Racing for Everyone
My name is Daniel Demaras, I’m a 19-year-old racer from Toronto, Canada. When I was 11 years old, I started racing go-karts, and over 7 years I went from being a kid who couldn’t complete a lap without spinning, into a multi-time Karting Champion. Though I enjoyed racing go-karts a lot, my dream was always to compete in open-wheel race cars at the most challenging tracks. Unfortunately, moving up to racing cars is very expensive, and I’m just a university student from a middle-class family. I didn’t want to remain in go-karts, but it was really difficult to find a road-racing series that wouldn’t cost crazy amounts of money. That was, until I found the Canadian Formula 1200 Championship.
F1200 (known as Formula Vee everywhere else in the world) gave me the opportunity to achieve my open-wheel racing dreams on a go-kart racing budget. The F1200 series requires only a fraction of the funding compared to other open-wheel series, but provides the same level of excitement. When I clinched my second consecutive TRAK Karting Championship last fall, I decided the time was right to step up to race cars. When I attended the last big road-racing event of the season, the 2021 Celebration of Motorsports, I was just amazed by the constant wheel-to-wheel racing action in F1200, and I knew this was where I wanted to race in 2022.
The big team in the F1200 paddock is Vallis Motor Sport, fielding four drivers in the Canadian F1200 Championship. I met the team principal, Bill Vallis, and arranged a private test day at a small local track called Toronto Motorsports Park. After one test day, I signed up for the full 2022 racing season.
With the F1200 series being highly competitive, it’s critical to have a race car that extracts the maximum from the formula. Vallis Motor Sport is the sole manufacturer of the Beunting Racing & Development BRD FV1200, a chassis designed by mechanical engineer Brad Beunting whose later work at Multimatic and Dynamic Suspension included design work for Formula 1 and WRC teams. The BRD chassis is designed to be simple and light, but with very rugged construction, good aerodynamics and handling. Vallis Motor Sport has manufactured and sold dozens of BRD chassis in Canada and the USA, and they also provide racers in the Canadian F1200 Championship with full trackside support. The team has also fielded drivers in Brazilian Formula Vee, competing at the legendary Interlagos circuit in 2018 as part of a driver exchange program, which had Brazilian racers compete in the Challenge Cup Series in North America. The opportunity to race for such an accomplished race team meant I was able to perform at the maximum level all year long.
The 2022 racing season was a constant learning experience. The F1200s don’t have a lot of power, meaning they need to be driven with smoothness and precision in order to be fast. On my first weekend at the historic Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (formerly known as Mosport International Raceway), I watched what the experienced racers did to try and get an idea of how to be quick in this discipline. Some of the guys had decades of experience in this series, yet it was only my first race weekend! Luckily, one of the veteran racers, competing in his 37th season of F1200, gave me some driving tips and reviewed my GoPro videos to help me improve.
That’s one of my favourite things about F1200; the welcoming attitude in the paddock. In kart racing, everything was just so cutthroat; everyone wants to win so badly that if you ask an experienced competitor about a new track, chances are they’ll give you bad advice just to mess you up. In F1200, the goal is to have everyone perform at their best. The experienced drivers give advice to the rookie racers to help get them up to speed, so more of us are battling for wins and podiums. Despite the friendly attitude off track, once we’re on track, the races are intense and exciting, fighting for position every single lap.
My first season was capped off with a podium finish at the final race. Second place in the 2022 Celebration of Motorsports helped me secure third overall in the Canadian Formula 1200 Championship, and I even took ‘Rookie of The Year’ honours. To compete against racers with decades of racing experience, and wind up in the Top-3 was a great achievement.
Racing will always be an expensive sport, and typically only young drivers from wealthy families (not necessarily the best drivers) get the chance to advance in open-wheel racing, and I’m definitely not from that ‘richest 2%’ of the population, so it was discouraging during my years in kart racing to think there wasn’t an affordable open-wheel racing series to step-up to, but I hope it’s different for tomorrow’s aspiring racers. The Canadian F1200 Championship is the best-kept secret in racing. It has allowed me to live out my dream of being a race car driver, and I’m so thankful this series still exists.
With the 2022 racing season complete, I’m looking forward to 2023, which marks the 60th anniversary of the Formula Vee. If I can find the sponsorship dollars, I hope to travel to Pittsburgh International Race Complex in Pennsylvania, USA, for my first international competition.
No. 12, Vallis Motor Sport
Canadian Formula 1200 Championship