Amateur in Northern Formula Ford
Burnley business-man, Mario Sarchet, is a regular competitor in Northern Formula Ford. Motorsport is a hobby which he thoroughly enjoys. Here he takes you behind the wheel of his racer to explain the amazing thrill he experiences and how far removed it is from travelling in a road car.
“The main handling difference compared to a standard saloon is the instant response you get from steering inputs, the speed at which corners are entered and the amazing acceleration. The grip is unbelievable!
“When you first start driving one of these single-seaters the thrill centres around going down the straights as fast as possible without any speed limits but this soon wears off. Then things move to another level entirely as you begin to learn how to become a real racing driver by starting to master the art of carrying corner speed through the 3 phases of a bend – at turn-in, through the apex and out of the exit.
“I cannot fully explain the excitement I get when the car is absolutely on the limit through a fast corner like Druids at Oulton Park. In this situation you are right on the edge of adhesion so turning the steering wheel has no affect at all! The only way to adjust the direction of travel is to lift off the accelerator very slightly. This causes the back-end to lighten and results in the rear tyres losing grip. In effect you are controlling the car by deliberately triggering a brief skid at 100 mph!! Once you’ve turned sufficiently, gently re-applying more throttle fires you off down the next straight. When executed correctly, it is mind-blowingly exhilarating but get it wrong and at best you have to back off which costs time... at worse you end up in the tyre-wall!!!!
“Driving a Formula Ford bears no comparison with a road car. The engine is bolted directly to the chassis and you are sitting on a piece of foam that has been moulded to your body. Your bottom is travelling 50mm (2") from the ground! You can feel every vibration from the engine and each bump in the road. With your custom-made seat, you feel like you and the car are one – the suspension, tyres and chassis feel like an extension of your own body.”
Photo courtesy of Chris Brennan - LightPrism Imaging