Formula Ford began in England in 1967 as a cost-effective and reliable training formula for the pupils at the Brands Hatch-based Motor Racing Stables. But it very quickly outgrew these origins to become one of the best-known and most instantly recognised racing categories worldwide.
WHERE LEGENDS ARE BORN!
The majority of Formula One stars, both past and present, began their top-level careers in Formula Ford. World Champions, including Ayrton Senna, Jacques Villeneuve, Damon Hill, Michael Schumacher and Mikka Hakkinen, first came to attention during their junior years in Formula Ford.
Australia's current Formula One stars, Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo, began their top-level career in Australian Formula Ford.
Many past and present Australian champions, including Russell Ingall, Marcos Ambrose, Garth Tander, Jamie Whincup, Steven Richards, Craig Lowndes, Jason Bright and Rick Kelly, honed their racing skills in Formula Ford and some have achieved international success.
The UK Connection Lives On!
The links to the UK have been maintained, with engine and chassis regulations being brought into line with those published by the RAC. Like UK, Australia uses both the original Kent 1600cc engine, and the new Fiesta 1600cc Engine. Each engine competes in separate classes throughout State racing, whereas the Australian Formula Ford Championship solely uses the Fiesta engined cars.
The Battle of the Chassis!
The most successful chassis in Australian competition has been the UK-built Van Diemen, winning every Australian Championship between 1987 and 1997. This record was broken in 1998, when the Championship was won by Adam Macrow in the Australian-designed and built, Spectrum 06, the first victory for an Australian chassis since 1986.
Since the introduction of the Fiesta engine in 2006, Australian Championship spoils have been shared between the Spectrum and Mygale chassis.
There are two levels of current competition in Australia - state and national.
State competition is open to both Kent and Fiesta competitors. National Formula Ford competition (since 2006) is for Fiesta Class cars.
The Association organises Formula Ford events in all States of the country. It attracts competitors from 16 to 60, whether they are future Formula 1 stars, executives escaping from the office or enthusiasts "trying their hand at the wheel". The aim is to allow both novice and experienced drivers to progress and compete at Australia's most prestigious sporting events. There are approximately 250 regular competitors throughout the country.
There is an ever-growing band of enthusiasts regularly competing in Historic Cars, particularly since the category extension to include cars constructed before 1983.
All-Historic race meetings are held throughout the year and competitors with Historic cars are also given the opportunity to contest in State Series meetings, often in an exclusive class, with awards on offer at the end of the year.
There are several options open to potential Formula Ford competitors. The one chosen will probably depend on the level of technical skill of the competitor, budget and the expected level of competition.
Most competitors in State based competition use second hand cars, whereas there is a greater demand for new cars in the National Championship.
Most of the cars currently raced in Australia are built in either Australia or Europe; the most successful being Van Diemen over time, however this is rapidly being eroded with the increased success of Spectrum and Mygale.
A new rolling chassis, including gearbox, will cost between $80,000 and $90,000, tax and freight paid.
You will need to buy an engine, gear ratios and a trailer to transport the car.
SECOND HAND CARS
The best time to buy a second hand car is at the end of the season (October to November), from competitors who are moving into another class of racing or updating their cars for the next year.
Cars are advertised in the motorsport press and the Formula Ford Association publishes a list of available vehicles. The Marketplace section of this Site includes current listings.
A second hand rolling chassis (without engine) varies considerably, from approx. $7,500 for an older model to around $60,000 for a recent car.
Formula Ford Kent competitors often build their own engine, from new or second hand components. The engine regulations are tightly controlled and your engine must comply. If you do all the work an engine will cost around $6,000.
Many competitors choose to buy or lease engines from experienced engine builders, most of whom provide technical support at major meetings. You can expect to pay approximately $10,000 to $13,000, with second hand engines available for around $7,000.
Fiesta Engines are a controlled engine, whereby a designated engine builder appointed by the Association in conjunction with the AFFM (organising entity of the Australian Formula Ford Championship). These sealed engines are the only engine able to be used in Fiesta class competition.
Second hand engines are increasingly becoming available since the introduction of the engine configuration in 2006.
The category in Australia competes on the Yokohama A048 racing tyre (except Historic competition), available through outlets in each State. The tyres are manufactured in Japan and the member cost of a set is currently $968.00. A supply and fitting service is available at every State meeting.
For further information contact your local distributor.
VIC/TAS :Traction Tyres & More- Ph:(03) 9764 2811
NSW: Gordon Leven Motorsport Tyres - Ph: (02) 4735 4500
QLD: Strathpine Tyres & More - Ph: (07) 3194 4548
NT: Darwin Tyrepower- Ph:08 8981 6911
SA: Kensington Park Tyrepower - Ph: (08) 8431 5856
WA: Wheelsworld Tyres & More - Ph: (08) 6260 0842
The last few years have seen a major change in the presentation of Formula Ford, highlighted by the development of teams, both as a way of sharing costs and of increasing the public awareness of individual competitors. These teams provide an opportunity for competitors to race at the level they choose, without the need to make a heavy investment in capital equipment such as cars, engines and support equipment.
The various teams offer different arrangements, in response to competitors' requirements. Some provide preparation, transportation and on-track services for competitors with their own cars; others offer lease arrangements, with and without support services, either for one race meeting or for a full season.
Costs vary, depending on the customer's needs. Lease deals are available for one meeting; some include consumables (tyres, fuels, brake pads, etc) and some require additional payments to cover these costs. Some arrangements include testing; some require additional payments to cover this service.
Teams offering preparation services also offer assistance with testing, technical support and expert advice to their customers.