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British Formula Ford Championship

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British Formula Ford Championship

Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain
Category Single seaters
Country  United Kingdom
Inaugural season 1976
Folded 2014
Constructors Mygale, Sinter
Engine suppliers Ford
Tyre suppliers Dunlop Tyres, Hankook
Last Drivers' champion Jayde Kruger
Last Teams' champion JTR

The British Formula Ford Championship was an entry level single seater motor sport category, designed to give racing drivers their first step into car racing after karting. Drivers from across the world were attracted to the United Kingdom to compete in the series, and successful Formula One drivers such as Ayrton Senna and Jenson Button won their first single-seater titles in the championship. The championship was run to various Formula Ford regulations over the years, based on the engines provided for the championship by Ford Motor Company. These engine based regulations/specifications include the Ford Kent engine, Ford Zetec engine, Ford Duratec engine and in the final years the Ford EcoBoost engine.

From the 2015 season onwards, the championship will be replaced by MSA Formula, which conforms to the FIA's new Formula 4 regulations. Many of the teams and drivers which competed in the final season of British Formula Ford will move to the new series.

History

Formula Ford Duratec car from Mygale, Ray and Van Diemen

Although the first British Formula Ford Championship was not held until 1976, Formula Ford's roots are firmly situated in the British racing scene. The first Formula Ford race was held at Brands Hatch in 1967 and was the precursor to the birth of the domestic championship. The first British Formula Ford Championship, held in 1976, was the original Formula Ford Championship which gave birth to many others over the years, including successful championships in Australia and New Zealand.[1]

The championship started out with the 1600cc Ford Kent engine and continued to use it until Ford introduced its newer, more powerful 1800cc Ford Zetec engine. Although this engine change didn't affect the other technical regulations, which still called for steel space frames which were much more economical to build and run compared to their carbon fiber counterparts, the increased engine power accelerated chassis development, causing many of the smaller manufacturers stopped producing cars, resulting in fewer constructors represented in the championship.[2] The Zetec regulations lasted only 12 years up until the Ford Duratec engine was introduced in 2006, providing better handling and power due to its lighter weight even though the specification had returned to 1600cc engines.[1]

The biggest changes to the championship came in 2012 when the latest Ford EcoBoost engine and specification was adopted as the main championship. The EcoBoost car marks a substantial change in the direction of Formula Ford racing as it introduces both smaller capacity Turbocharged petrol engines and for the first time a sequential gearbox.[2]

The car

2012 Formula Ford EcoBoost Car

The championship currently allows two specification of Formula Ford car to race: the current generation EcoBoost car and the previous generation Duratec car. The championship is multi-chassis, featuring manufacturers such as Van Diemen and Mygale. To help keep costs low, cars are made from steel, as opposed to the more exotic carbon fibre commonly found in higher categories of racing. The Duratec cars were introduced in 2006, when all the cars in the series were required to use the 1600cc Naturally aspirated Ford Duratec engine which replaced the Ford Kent engine that had been used since the championships inception. Beginning in 2012, the EcoBoost class was introduced to run as the premier class alongside a secondary class for the aging Duratec cars. The EcoBoost class utilises Ford's latest EcoBoost engine which provides greater power thanks to the introduction of a Turbo Charger. The chassis however remains a steel space frame rather than the carbon fibre Monocoque found in other formulae.[3]

From 2015 onwards, the MSA Formula will use Formula 4 regulations. Mygale will continue to provide the carbon-fibre monocoque chassis (As opposed to the Tatuus supplied chassis used in BRDC F4. The engine will be a Ford 1.6L EcoBoost engine as used in the more modern Formula Ford cars, tuned to a maximum of 160 PS. All engines will be tuned by the same race engine preparer, in an attempt to reduce costs. Similarly, all tyres will be provided by Hankook. Sadev will provide the sequential paddle shift transmission and data logging system.

The Championship

From 2013, the championship is composed of 30 rounds held at ten events in support of the British Touring Car Championship.[4] Both EcoBoost and Duratec classes compete in the same races as each other. Drivers who have competed in less than 4 junior formula races in the past are eligible to compete for the Rookie Cup, whilst both Teams and Constructors have separate championships for themselves. The Nations Cup is awarded to the highest placed registered driver from each country excluding UK.[3] In 2015, the series will again run 30 rounds at ten events in support of the BTCC, despite becoming the MSA Formula.

Weekend Format

A 20 minute qualifying session is used to decide the grid for the all the weekends races. The drivers fastest lap decides the grid for race one, their second fastest time decides the grid for race two and their third fastest time, the grid for race three. All three races will be run over 15 miles.[3]

Points system

Current points system

Points are awarded to all finishing drivers in each race as well as the driver setting the fastest lap using the following system:
Main Class, Teams Cup & Nations Cup points systems.[5]
 1st   2nd   3rd   4th   5th   6th   7th   8th   9th   10th   11th   12th   13th   14th   15th   Others  Fastest Lap
30 27 24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 3 2 1 1
Scholarship Class points system.[5]
 1st   2nd   3rd   4th   5th   6th   7th   8th   9th   Others  Fastest Lap
20 15 12 10 8 6 4 3 2 1 2
Constructors Cup points system.[5]
 1st   2nd   3rd   4th   5th   6th 
8 7 6 5 4 3

Champions

1981 champion Ayrton Senna in his Van Diemen built car
Season Champion Constructor Teams' Champion Secondary Class Nations Cup Winter Series Champion
1976 David Kennedy Van Diemen Not Held Not Held Not Held Not Held
1977 Trevor van Rooyen Royale
1978 Kenneth Acheson Royale
1979 David Sears Royale
1980 Tommy Byrne Van Diemen
1981 Ayrton Senna Van Diemen
1982 Mauricio Gugelmin Van Diemen
1983 Andrew Gilbert-Scott Van Diemen
1984 Dave Coyne Van Diemen
1985 Bertrand Gachot Van Diemen
1986 Jason Eliott Van Diemen
1987 Eddie Irvine Van Diemen
1988 Derek Higgins Van Diemen
1989 Bernard Dolan Reynard
1990 Michael Vergers Van Diemen
1991 Marc Goossens Van Diemen
1992 Jamie Spence Swift Winter Series Champion
1993 Russell Ingall Van Diemen Martin Byford
1994 Jason Watt Vector Narain Karthikeyan
1995 Bas Leinders Swift Vitor Meira
1996 Kristian Kolby Van Diemen Ricardo Sperafico
1997 Jacky van der Ende Van Diemen Mark Taylor
1998 Jenson Button Mygale Ricardo van der Ende
1999 Nicolas Kiesa Mygale Anthony Davidson
2000 Robert Dahlgren Van Diemen Adam Carroll
2001 James Courtney Van Diemen Joey Foster
2002 Westley Barber Van Diemen Alx Danielsson
2003 Tom Kimber-Smith Van Diemen James Walker Sebastian Hohenthal
2004 Valle Mäkelä Van Diemen Not Held Robert Sunderland
2005 Charlie Donnelly Mygale Andrew Bentley
2006 Nathan Freke Mygale David Mayes
Season Champion Constructor Teams' Champion Scholarship Class Nations Cup Winter Series Champion
2007 Callum MacLeod Mygale Not Held Matt Dobson Not Held Not Held
2008 Wayne Boyd Mygale Chrissy Palmer
2009 James Cole Mygale Daniel Cammish
2010 Scott Pye Mygale Jamun Racing Tristan Mingay  Australia
2011 Scott Malvern Mygale Jamun Racing Cavan Corcoran  Australia
Season Champion Constructor Teams' Champion Duratec Champion Nations Cup Winter Series Champion
2012 Antti Buri Mygale JTR Matt Rao  Finland Not Held
Season Champion Constructor Teams' Champion Scholarship Class Nations Cup Winter Series Champion
2013 Dan Cammish Mygale JTR Harrison Scott  Argentina Not Held
2014 Jayde Kruger Mygale JTR Ashley Sutton  South Africa

Other UK Championships

Such was the popularity of the formula in the UK over its history; there is an abundance of second hand chassis from previous generations of the championship. This has led to the formation of several other national and club level championships within the UK catering for legacy chassis, engines and cars.

  • BRSCC Formula Ford Duratec Championship - Created at the end of 2012, the proposed championship will give a home to the previous generation Duratec class Formula Fords after the British Championship switched solely to the new EcoBoost class.[6]
  • Formula Ford 1600 Championships - Operated by the BRSCC, this championship caters for cars built to the Kent specification, utilising the Ford Kent engine. Consisting of two regional and one national championship, it give opportunities for a range of drivers to showcase their talents. A two class structure based around the construction year of the chassis allows a range of different chassis to remain competitive.[7]
  • Several Club level championships are also arranged. Of note include the Monoposto Racing Club Championship[1], the 750 Motor Club Formula 4 championship [2], the Castle Combe Formula Free championship [3] and the Classic Formula Ford Championship[4].

Formula Ford Festival

The Formula Ford Festival is an annual meeting of Ford powered single seat racing cars which is held at the end of the British racing season, at the Brands Hatch motor racing circuit in the county of Kent, in Southern England. The events are held over the course of a weekend and although various classes of past and present Formula Fords are present, the high point for many is the championship in which young but skilled drivers from Ford competitions in Europe and beyond race against one another. Often it is a rare chance to compare the skills of drivers who take part in different Ford competitions across the world. The event is administered by the British Racing and Sports Car Club.

References

  1. ^ a b "The History of Formula Ford Racing". [britishformulaford.com]. Retrieved 30 October 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "History". [formulafordzetec.co.uk]. Retrieved 30 October 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c "2012 Formula Ford GB Regulations". British Formula Ford Championship ( 
  4. ^ "Formula Ford returns in 2013".  
  5. ^ a b c "2013 Formula Ford Championship Sporting Regulations". British Formula Ford Championship. Max Communications. 14 March 2013. Retrieved 30 March 2013. 
  6. ^ "BRSCC ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR DURATEC FORMULA FORD".  
  7. ^ "AVON TYRES FORMULA FORD CHAMPIONSHIPS".  

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