NATIONAL FORMULA FORD WARMS UP FOR THE FESTIVAL AT BRANDS HATCH


The BRSCC Avon Tyres National FF1600 Championship is a historic single-seater series which has been a key step on the ladder to motorsport success for a number of drivers.

Famous alumni include F1 legends Ayrton Senna, Jenson Button and David Coulthard, along with sportscar heroes Anthony Davidson and Mike Conway.

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. Smith has gone on to compete in the British GT Championship having been selected for the 2019 McLaren Driver Development Programme.

This season has been one of the closest in recent years. However, the impressive Scottish driver, Ross Martin, comes to Brands Hatch with a 47-point lead in the Pro Championship after scoring maximum points in a dominant performance last time out at Croft.

Hoping to rein him in will be the drivers lying second and third in the championship; young American racer, Spike Kohlbecker and Kevin Mills Racing’s Neil MacLennan, who have both been regular visitors to the podium and are hungry for more success.

There have been five different winners already this season, Ross Martin, Spike Kohlbecker, Neil MacLennan, Rory Smith and Jonathan Browne. But both Cliff Dempsey Racing’s James Clarke and Team Dolan’s Jamie Sharpe are potential race winners.

The midfield pack includes other Pro-Class drivers, Michael MacPherson, Aeron Jeansonne and Jamie Thorburn who are battling for points against the top Club Championship and rookie drivers.

The Club Championship has also been close. John Svensson took maximum points at Croft but is not due to be at Brands Hatch. Adam Quartermaine lies second in the championship, but he is also missing this round. This means they could both come under threat from the ambitious young racer, Max Marzorati, who returns after missing a couple of events. Other returnees are Henry Chart, with Oldfield Motorsports and privateer Klaus-Dieter Haeckel. Thomas Craincourt is due to make his season debut.

Team Dolan driver, Morgan Quinn, leads the rookie class and we wait to see if his rival, Brendon Leigh will be at Brands Hatch. Leigh is the reigning Formula One Esports World Champion, racing with the Mercedes Esports team. The National FF1600 championship is giving Leigh his first on-track experience, but with other commitments he is entering on a race-by-race basis. We hope to see him again as after some challenging weekends Leigh has been putting in some impressive drives in the heart of the action.

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 chance to get up close to the cars, chat to the drivers and come along to the trophy presentation after each race.

The series has a reputation for close, exciting racing thanks in part to aerodynamic devices (wings) being banned and having an exciting line up of young drivers hoping for a career in motorsport.

Can you spot a star of the future?

**Date for your diary** the spectacular Formula Ford Festival takes place at Brands Hatch on the 26th – 27th October. Get your tickets now for a feast of single-seater action.**

ALEX BIRLEY