FALCON SWOOPS TO SIGN RICKY COLLARD FOR FORMULA FORD


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Ricky Collard will be racing on the same package as his father Rob. Photo: www.jakobebrey.com


The Formula Ford grid is to be further strengthened for the coming season by the addition of 17-year-old Ricky Collard, who has concluded a deal to join front-running team Falcon Motorsport for his maiden season of car racing. Collard, son of British Touring Car Championship racer Rob, will be teamed with reigning Formula Ford Scholarship Champion Harrison Scott and series newcomer Chris Mealin.

Ricky’s switch from karts to cars represents not only a major change in career path for him but also comeback from serious injury – he was hospitalised in Italy last summer with several fractures after a kart crash. Now fully fit, he is raring to go: “I am really grateful to have been taken on by Falcon. To drive in Formula Ford, especially with a team like Falcon, is a great honour. The experience that I will gain from driving the car will be massive, and so will working with Harrison; it has been really helpful during testing to discuss lines and set-up with him. It’s great to have one of the championship favourites as your team-mate. It’s been a long road back to full fitness for me – quite a hard process. But I am on top form now and am coming back even stronger so that I can give it my best shot.”

He is pleased also to be racing on the same headlining package of events as his dad, who this season returns to the eBay Motors BTCC squad: “We have always dreamed of being able to race on the same package, so it’s a massive thing for us and we are both really looking forward to being together at the circuits.”

Ricky paid tribute to his karting career backer, the Racing Steps Foundation: “RSF’s support over the years has helped me get where I am today, on the verge of a single-seater career, and I can’t thank them enough for what they have done for me. I hope very much that we will be able to work with RSF again in the future.”

Falcon Motorsport boss Nick Streatfield could not be happier to be welcoming Ricky to the team, not least because he impressed when he tested with Falcon in Spain in December. “We are very excited to have him on board. He was very rapid when we tested in Spain last year, and we were impressed with his pace and consistency. Since that test we have been working with the family to conclude a deal and I’m delighted that it’s now all sorted. Ricky, Harrison and Chris get on well together and will work well – it is an impressive looking line-up.”

It is also a squad which may yet grow: Falcon is looking to field a fourth EcoBoost Mygale. “We have the capacity to run four cars are we are very close to a deal with a driver,” added Streatfield.

Collard, Scott and Mealin enjoyed a productive test session last week at Thruxton, the fastest circuit on the calendar. “It went very well and it was good for both Ricky and Chris to get some experience of the track,” said Streatfield, “and also for Harrison to reacquaint himself with the circuit and the car. We plan to be out testing again in a fortnight at Brands Hatch.”

Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship manager Sam Roach said: “Falcon’s driver line-up is looking very strong indeed, and I am sure that Ricky will prove an exciting addition to the grid, which is developing nicely in terms of quantity and quality.”

Eversley, Hampshire-based Collard started competing in karts aged eight in a Zip Blade cadet chassis. His first title followed within two years, when he secured the FEKC’s 2006 Southern Championship at his first attempt. The following year he moved on to compete in the BRDC Stars of Tomorrow Cadet Championship in which he finished 36th before signing off from the starter class two years later in fourth place in the driver standings and 10th in the Super 1 national cadet series.

Having served his apprenticeship he stepped up to the KF3 class in 2010. But that season was cut short by a crash which left him with a badly broken arm. But he still managed to finish in eighth place in the title race, attracting the interest of the RSF Zip Young Guns squad, which he was invited to join. In 2011 he secured 12th place in the KF3 MSA Super 1 British Junior Championship and 24th in the CIK-FIA U18s World Championship.

Formula Ford 2014 will feature 30 races at 10 rounds alongside the biggest attraction in UK motorsport, the British Touring Car Championship. The championship will boast live coverage on ITV4, as well as bumper trackside spectator attendance, and boasts a £30,000 cash prize fund.