Home News South African F1600 to be succeeded by series for halo-shod cars

South African F1600 to be succeeded by series for halo-shod cars

by Ida Wood

Photo: Investchem F1600

South African Formula 1600 will come to an end this year as a new car is set to arrive on the country’s single-seater scene in 2025.

While F1600 has traditionally been a category for wingless cars running on grooved tyres and using 1600cc engines from manufacturers other than Ford (hence the difference in designation from Formula Ford 1600), South African F1600 has an unusual history as it replaced the country’s FFord championship in 2002 and since 2017 has been a spec series for winged cars running on slick tyres and using Ford engines.

Those Mygale chassis are still in use today, with the 2024 season starting this weekend, but will be retired at the end of the year as the pinnacle vehicle in South African single-seaters. A halo-shod car designed by Kyalami-based firm WCT Engineering, dubbed the Investchem MSA4 and pictured above in an artist’s impression, has been revealed as its replacement.

Design inspiration has been taken from the current F1600 car, but most of the focus with the MSA4 has been building to more modern safety standards. The halo cockpit protection device has been incorporated to match other entry-level single-seaters such as Formula 4, but unlike the cars of that category it will have a spaceframe chassis rather than a carbon fibre monocoque.

Powering the vehicle will be a “downsized one-litre turbocharged triple-cylinder Volkswagen engine developing slightly more power and a good deal more torque than the outgoing normally aspirated unit”. Without the power boost, the MSA4 would potentially be slower than a F1600 car due to it being far heavier.

Being carried over from the Mygale are the transmission, differential, suspension, brakes, front and rear wings. Other parts of the bodywork will take on a more Formula 1-inspired designed, and wider wheels – and therefore tyres – will be used.

“While Investchem Formula 1600 has served us incredibly well, delivered champions and great talent that has gone on to bigger things, the rate of development in motorsport is starting to render our cars obsolete,” said series boss Ian Schofield.

“We have however been moving with the times and will soon reveal our new Investchem MSA4 prototype before the series switches over to the new cars in 2025.”