The two top Formula Fordsters will get a test in the Motorbase BTCC Focus next season. Photo:

Successful young drivers in Formula Ford next year will find themselves in the hot seat of a Ford Focus touring car as part of an exciting prize-drive initiative announced yesterday to celebrate Formula Ford’s new status as a BTCC support series.

The two top drivers in the 2013 Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain will share a full day’s testing with the Motorbase Performance team, sampling one of the squad’s Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship Focus ‘Next Generation’ touring cars.

The tie-in between the two championships comes courtesy of their common tyre supplier Dunlop and Motorbase boss David Bartrum, a keen talent-spotter famed for giving young drivers a helping hand with their careers.

“We are very pleased to be able to offer this opportunity,” said Bartrum. “You have only to look at the list of champions from Formula Ford who have gone on to stellar successes in other forms of motorsport to understand what a superb training ground it is. I’m sure that the test will be a popular incentive for competitors.”

Dunlop motorsport manager Gary Wassell added: “It will be very interesting for everyone, not least the drivers themselves, to see how well and how quickly two young single-seater racers can adapt to the very different environment of a BTCC car. Dunlop is very pleased to have been able to work together with Motorbase Performance to offer this prize, which I am sure will be a very attractive one for prospective competitors.”

“Generations of young drivers have learned their craft in Formula Ford,” said Ford Racing motorsport manager Mike Norton, “and have gone on to racing success not only in Formula 1 but also in IndyCars, sports cars and, of course, touring cars. This prize drive is a great opportunity for next year’s champion and vice-champion to learn some vital track skills and to make their mark in a BTCC car.”

Formula Ford has signed to support the UK’s premier motorsport package, the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, for the next three seasons. The deal includes live TV at each of the 10 events, broadcast on ITV4.

The first 15 drivers to sign up to contest the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain will receive free championship registration and race entries for 2013, as well as free pre-event testing.

The one-day Motorbase test will take place following the final rounds of Formula Ford and the BTCC, which are scheduled for Brands Hatch in mid-October.


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