NATIONAL FORMULA FORD TRAVELS BACK TO CROFT
The BRSCC Avon Tyres FF1600 National Championship visits the Yorkshire circuit of Croft for the fourth event of the 2019 season.
This Formula Ford single-seater championship is a traditional and affordable stepping-stone for young drivers looking to have a career in motor racing.
The most striking thing about these cars is the lack of aerodynamic devices – well wings! The drivers have to rely on mechanical grip and gain plenty of close racing experience because of it.
This makes the series an exciting one for spectators to watch, for drives to compete in and explains why the FF1600 National Championship has played a key role in the careers of legendary drivers including Ayrton Senna, Jenson Button, David Coulthard and Mark Webber.
More recent graduates from the series include the current leader of the Indy Car championship Josef Newgarden and 2018 Formula Ford Festival champion Josh Smith, who is now competing in the British GT Championship having been selected for the 2019 McLaren Driver Development Programme.
This year sees more potential stars of the future competing in the championship. Drivers to keep an eye on include Ross Martin (Team Dolan) who heads the championship thanks to his regular trips to the podium and a clutch of victories which began at Oulton Park. This was Martin’s first win in the series, and he followed it up by another two triumphs at Anglesey. However, the weekend in Wales did not end well with a retirement in race three through no fault of his own. Hopefully the Team Dolan Van Diemen RF99 will have suffered no long-term damage.
The young Scottish driver is certainly facing a tough battle for the championship with American racer Spike Kohlbecker lying just three points behind in the Pro Championship. Kohlbecker has proven to be one to watch, as has his Cliff Dempsey Racing teammate James Clarke. In Anglesey we saw that there are clearly no team orders, as Kohlbecker and Clarke gave a clear demonstration of the nose-to-tail and side-by-side racing for which this championship is famous.
Neil MacLennan, Kevin Mills Racing, and Rory Smith, B-M Racing, are both tough racers and have provided a lot of excitement in the first three rounds of the year, although Smith has had some bad luck with technical issues.
Don’t think all the excitement will be at the front. Watch out for the progress of our rookies, including Morgan Quinn and Nicole Woods, who are learning more every time they take to the track.
There is also a hotly contested Club Championship. John Svensson took the lead last time out, but he and Adam Quartermaine are sure to resume their on-track battle here at Croft.
Away from the racing, fans have the opportunity to wander around the paddock and meet the drivers. It is always a busy time for the teams to get the cars ready for each race, but you have the opportunity to get up close to the cars and come along to the trophy presentation after each race.