israeli race car .
(photo credit: Blake-Ezra Cole)
Tuesday was a historic day for Israeli motorsports as the first ever singleseater racing car to be developed here was taken on its maiden drive.
Driver Aric Lapter and his team chose a race track in Ashdod to launch their Formula Vee car, a 14-month-long project.
Lapter, a mechanical engineering graduate of Tel Aviv University, began racing for Formula Ford in Italy eight years ago at the Henry Morrogh racing school. Since then, he has driven Formula 4 and Formula 3 cars and test driven Formula Vee at Silverstone in England.
"People thought I was mad, they said that a race car had never been made in Israel," the enigmatic driver said. "So I thought, why not? I'll be the first."
The car uses a 1.3-liter engine from a 1973 Beetle, and will achieve impressive top speeds as it weighs only 460 kilograms.
The car was developed with the assistance of volunteers, including major contributor Dani Brenner, who lives next door to Lapter. It was Lapter's raw ambition to realize this dream that inspired Brenner to give up his Fridays and Saturdays for over a year to help make the project a reality.
Brenner was also sentimentally attached to the project, as his grandfather engineered the first Israeli-built motorcycle 60 years ago.
Lapter was elated following the car's stuttering start to what he hopes could be a fruitful career of racing abroad.
"There were many problems, but today, I realized a dream," he declared, before continuing to explain how important this project was.
"It all started with Zionism, I thought to myself that we have everything here, hi-tech, food, amazing people. But there is one thing that we don't have and that is Formula motor racing."
Lapter and his team hope to race the blueand-white car abroad in one of the Formula Vee championships, which at present are held in other countries such as Italy, England, Australia and the US.
Any potential Israeli representation in international motorsports depends on sponsorship, however. Brenner admitted that they need "a minimum of $100,000" in order to take the next step, but was "very hopeful that this can be achieved."