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A common question when people are looking to start racing in Formula Vee with their own car is “What tools do I need?”

The easy answer to this is “All of them!”, and as with everything, your collection will grow and grow. One problem we’re having at the moment is the weight of getting everything we need to the circuits using an old VW camper van – but I don’t want to digress into transport issues for this one, so back to tools.

There are some essentials that you’ll use a lot, and you need to really get these together to have any sort of chance.

I’ve asked Glenn and a few drivers what they’d say are essentials – but even that isn’t very clear as you’ll need different stuff if you’re doing your own engine/gearbox etc. Here’s a basic list:

  • Spanners from 6mm-20mm
  • Sockets from 10mm-22mm
  • Plug spanner
  • Huge filthy great breaker bar
  • Big socket nut for the flywheel
  • Hammers (ball head, soft head)
  • Philips/Flat head screwdriver
  • Pliers (thin nose and circlip)
  • Wire cutters
  • Tyre pressure gauge and pump (you can borrow these trackside but best to get your own!)
  • Brake bleeding kit
  • Jack (add stands and a quicklifter for luxury)
  • Hacksaw
  • Files (flat, round etc)
  • Feeler guages
  • Duct tape
  • Plastic ties
  • Lock wire
  • Metal clamp rings (for fluid pipe fixings etc)
  • Fibreglass repair kit
  • Fuel can 20l x 2 (you might just get away with one can)
  • A weird length of rubber to shove in the petrol tank to try and see how much you have left
  • Rags/towels (save your old socks and y-fronts!) for cleaning, mopping up and wiping your feet before you get in the car
  • Slave/jump battery
  • Some kind of heat is a massive help, be it something for welding/undoing tight bits or a hairdryer to warm your hands up.
  • Gazebo – you can survive without one, but we’ve broken and bought one, finally!

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You’ll also need the more consumable stuff:

  • Engine oil
  • Gearbox oil
  • Brake fluid
  • Fuel – Tesco and Shell do 99RON petrol at the pump, or race fuel is allowed up to a certain octane rating (see rules)
  • WD40 (the anti-duct tape)
  • Brake pads (we use standard Beetle road pads, as the car is so light they work as well as anything)
  • Brake cleaner spray
  • Gaskets (for everything gaskety – some silicone might also come in handy)

You’ll notice I’m not giving specific oils, as people get all secretive over that, and what people use will vary quite a bit! I know people using DOT3 brake fluid and DOT5.1, but we have no reason to think DOT4 won’t do the job, for example.

When you get to engine oil you’re really into stormy waters – fully synthetic oil is great, but does a 50 year old engine really need it, especially as today’s mineral oil is many times better than the best oil F1 was using back then…? Or do you go middle and get semi-synth, and what weight?

Anyway, this lot should give you a rough idea of how to come in at the cheaper end of things and still make most things easier for you – feel free to add anything you’ve missed, or pick holes in anything I’ve got down here, too!

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