MERIDIAN MOTORSPORT JOINS FORMULA FORD
Karting prodigy Connor Mills is Meridian’s first signing. Photo: www.jakobebrey.com . Photo..
Formula Ford, Britain’s fastest junior single-seater series, has attracted another new team to its ranks. Meridian Motorsport will join the championship next month at Snetterton and plans to be running two cars by the end of the season in preparation for a full campaign in 2014.
Sixteen-year-old karting prodigy Connor Mills is Meridian’s first signing: he will race an EcoBoost-powered Mygale for the duration of the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain season.
Essex-based Meridian is stepping into the world of single-seaters after success in other British Touring Car Championship-supporting series, including the Ginetta GT Supercup and the Clio Cup. Team principal Paul Abercrombie says the move into Formula Ford is aimed at strengthening the team’s driver development programme.
“We have long had good links with karting,” he said, “but in the past we have lost some good drivers because we did not have a single-seater progression to offer them. We have strong links with the BTCC package so it made sense for us to go for Formula Ford.
“The plan is to bring more juniors on from karting and into single-seaters as a development step and Connor will be the first driver to benefit. It’s his first experience of a single-seater so we are not putting too much pressure on him. He’s very young and very good, an exceptional driver, which is why he was selected to be part of the young driver development programme run by the Arden GP2/GP3 team.
“We hope to end the season with two cars in the team, and continue into next season. It will be a learning experience for the team also, even though we have engineers and mechanics who have single-seater experience from other series.”
Upminster, Essex-based Mills is relishing the opportunity: “I have been following Formula Ford all this season and it’s really good – I like the whole concept, especially the speed. It’s not too expensive, either. We have looked at other championships which are supposed to be affordable, but prices keep on going up and up. This season my target is to progress, to learn as much as I can so that I can go for the championship in 2014.”
Connor’s first karting experience came at the age of four, and as a 10-year-old he was competing regularly in the Super One series. Mills placed third in the Formula Kart Stars Championship in 2011 and last year won the Super One Winter, British, British Open and London Cup championships.
Sam Roach, director of championship promoter RacingLine, said: “In its first ‘reborn’ season as a supporting event to British Touring Cars, Formula Ford has impressed teams throughout the paddock who are looking for a strong, reliable and relatively inexpensive package for young drivers looking to make a step into single-seater racing. It is a massive boost to have a team of the calibre of Meridian Motorsport committing to the championship for the remainder of the season and beyond.”
One of the attractions of Formula Ford for young drivers is the championship’s link with the renowned Mazda Road to Indy programme. The incentive scheme will see a UK driver selected for an all-expenses-paid trip to the USA to take a free full-day test in a USF2000 single-seater, as well as a further full day’s testing in a Pro Mazda car.
Additionally, the top two 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 Ford Focus ‘Next Generation’ touring cars.
For more information about the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain visit www.britishformulaford.co.uk