The final Formula Palmer Audi Championship races, an important part of British motor racing, are set to end in 2010 after using Audi engines for 13 years.
The championship, which features identical specification single-seaters that utilized Audi’s 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol engine, was set up and run by Britain’s former Grand Prix driver Jonathan Palmer to give hopeful young drivers aiming for F1 an alternative to the expensive but established Formula Three class.
Considering there were 260 races, each one comprising of between 20-25 cars over the last 13 years and covering almost 1.5 million racing miles, there were incredibly only two retirements in races associated to engine component failure.
Palmer, Chief Executive of MotorSport Vision, which owns and operates Brands Hatch, Oulton Park, Snetterton, Cadwell Park and Bedford Autodrome, said his company wanted 250bhp with the "greatest reliability, consistency and of course, low cost."
He explained that achieving it was through a standard production engine. And keeping the weight down meant it needed to be small capacity and turbocharged - an engine philosophy soon to reappear in Formula One.
Palmer added that an evaluation of such production engines identified Audi's 1.8 liter 20 valve turbo unit as the most suitable and it was to prove an outstanding success and a great strength of FPA, especially with Mountune's management and development.
Many young drivers who try to reach F1 found that the financial hurdle to advancing their careers was too high to clear in the mid 1990s and that is why Palmer created this cheaper, yet ultra-professionally run alternative.