The opening Japanese F4 round at Fuji Speedway saw many cars struggle with engine issues, resulting in ten cars withdrawing from the second race of the weekend. Engine manufacturer TOM’S is targeting a solution ahead of the second round in Suzuka this weekend.

By Marco Albertini

2024 saw the FIA Formula 4 Japanese championship cars undergo a complete overhaul, with both a new chassis and a new engine adopted. The series shifted to the second-generation Toray Carbon Magic MCSC-24 chassis with a two-litre, four-cylinder TOM’S TMA43 engine.

However, the season opener at Fuji saw several cars experience problems because of pistons malfunctioning. Entrants including the manufacturer-backed HFDP Racing Team and TGR-DC RS withdrew from the second race, with only 24 out of 34 cars participating.

Race Director Naoki Hattari, a two-time Super Formula runner-up and former CART racer, explained his decision to run the second race. “Of couse, we could have cancelled, but if we did that, we wouldn’t be able to detect anything and we wouldn’t be able to move forward.”

TOM’S targets a solutionn

After conducting its investigations, TOM’S determined the cause of the engine issues to be damaged ignition coils. The engine manufacturer replaced the wiring harness electrically connecting the ignition coil to a higher-strength model used in top racing categories.

A test run with the new harness was conducted at Suzuka Circuit last week, which went smoothly with no further issues reported.

The next round of the Japanese F4 championship will take place on the 1-2 June 2024 at Suzuka Circuit.

Header Photo credit: Super GT

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