What about creating race that would have grater number of weaker ships, with penalty to hull points, and with less weapons hardpoints, but also with modifier to cost, so they would be cheaper.
I could see a specialty fer them to have support system which would eliminate pilot needed for frigates, so it is possible to place more ships than there is pilot limit, but the ships have to be weak.
Also racial benefit could be some sort of booster that work based on number of ships in close proximity, probably bonus to accuracy (tracking)
Another good style for them could be suicide ships, basically weapon system, that would detonate the ship, if reaching set distance, and would do a damage depending on reactor (probably multiplied by some some degree).
In essence Fighters would be weak, standard speed, low power, low hit points, but cheap.
Frigates would be cheap, small, weak in hit points, with few weapons, but numerous, and some suicide attacking enemy ships.
Cruisers would be more for support than direct attack, acting like mothership (boosting frigates in it’s vicinity / formation / escort)