The British Formula Ford Championship returns this weekend, looking somewhat different to previous generations.
Gone are threaded Dunlop tyres and smooth chassis; since replaced by narrow Dunlop slicks and front and rear aerodynamic wings.
The have also been alterations under the engine cover, with the now standard Ford EcoBoost 1.6l turbocharged engine producing approximately 200 bhp. A pre-season test at Brands with racer and team boss Nick Tandy behind the wheel was considered to be impressive and positive.
Following a difficult period on SRO’s British GT / F3 package, Formula Ford has returned to the TOCA support slot, where it will play as opener to the British Touring Car Championship.
Admittedly at this early stage, the move has not helped boost numbers – the opening round at Brands Hatch this weekend only boasts a twelve-car entry; however a touch of perseverance may see this number rise gently as the year progresses.
There are some familiar names amongst the small pack. Former champion Scott Malvern returns for another shot at the title, while Dan Cammish will be eyeing the title after several months away from the cockpit following a serious injury last year.
George Blundell, Fred Martin-Dye and Luke Williams are three names that previously raced in Formula Ford – they will be hoping for bigger things in 2013. Matt Rao will also return, but is set to miss the opening rounds.
Drivers new to the series include former Kart racer Sam Brabham (son of David) who will be racing for JTR from the 2nd round onward, while Andy Richardson makes the move from Ginetta’s to single-seaters with Richardson Racing.
Falcon Racing have three drivers at their disposal – former Intersteps racer Lassi Halminen, law student (!) Neil Winn and karting graduate Harrison Scott.
Argentina’s recent motorsport push continues with Juan Angel Rosso and Nico Maranzana both making push, although the former misses the opening round at least after he broke his hand in testing. Rosso has being replaced at Brands by Autosport journalist Ben Anderson.
American pilot Camren Kaminsky has also joined JTR, with club racer James Abbott also making the field.
With BRDC Formula 4 on the horizon – never mind the possibility of an FIA F4 category – and a rebranded Formula Renault UK (formerly BARC), this may be Formula Ford’s last shot to firmly cement a position in the market place.