It's time for one of the most historic events on the British motorsport calendar. This weekend is the Formula Ford Festival. For the 50th edition of this meeting, there's a some surprise lined up!
Past winners of the Formula Ford Festival include such big names as Jenson Button and Mark Webber, so it's always one to keep an eye on. Many more F1 stars have made their way through British Formula Ford racing, including Ayrton Senna. Double Indycar champion Josef Newgarden was a class winner at the festival in 2008. The category has lost its prominence in recent years though, with today's top duo of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen both opting to gain experience elsewhere on their route to Grand Prix racing.
Formula Ford cars
Formula Ford is a long-running category for open-wheel single seater cars. Road car derived Ford engines power these basic race cars. The Formula Ford category more recently was based on the Zetec and Duratec engines but for the Festival we'll only see the 1600cc Kent motor.
There are a range of chassis manufacturers. These different cars are divided into three categories: modern chassis, pre-1990, and pre-1982. They all run on road tyres and have no wings, so grip is very limited!
The Brands Hatch circuit
The Brands Hatch Indy circuit is the traditional location for the Formula Ford Festival. Its simple kidney shape masks the complexity of its corners as the elevation and also camber changes can multiply mistakes.
Gamers can experience Brands Hatch in many games. It looks fantastic in Forza Motorsport 7 and is also available in Assetto Corsa Competizione and Gran Turismo 6. If you've a copy of TOCA Race Driver 2, that game also features Formula Ford cars, so you can get a real sense of the Festival!
Drivers at the Festival will need to master their cars and the track quickly, as the weekend is in a knockout format. Only the fastest will make it through the heats and get to race for the trophy in the final!
The Formula Ford Festival
There's undoubtably one big star of the weekend. Nearly 30 years after his victory at the Formula Ford Festival, Jan Magnussen has been persuaded to return. He's excited to race such a basic car:
"My last time on treaded tyres and no wings was the Festival in 1992. It's going to be so much fun with an H-pattern gearbox and heel-and-toe!"
The Formula Ford Festival will stream live at brscc.co.uk throughout the weekend. There's also MX-5 action and other support series to watch between heats.
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