Following another successful Australian Formula Ford Series in 2015, that saw large grids and close racing at all rounds, the Formula Ford Association has announced the start of a planned six round national series with three rounds already locked in.
The Formula Ford Association sanctioned series has confirmed two rounds on the 2016 Shannons Nationals bill with Formula Ford to return to Sandown and Queensland Raceway and a final round at the prestigious Island Magic event at Phillip Island.
The FFA has worked closely with new Shannons Nationals owners, CAMS, to secure these two high profile events.
“Formula Ford has been a strong contributor to the Shannons Nationals events over the past two years which have always been well run and provided good value for our competitors. We were seeking more rounds on the 2016 CAMS run event but they were not forthcoming in giving us that opportunity. We are disappointed at their decision to limit our access to the Shannons events especially as we have been one of the events best customers in the past two years.
Our grid numbers were consistently the largest, we paid on time and were well coordinated. In any normal business relationship, we would be considered to be the perfect customer. As a result we have been forced to look at other events to create an FFA sanctioned national series, a series that our members and the wider Formula Ford community are seeking.”, said series coordinator Phil Marrinon.
The 2014 Australian Formula Ford Series ended at the Island Magic event so the return to this popular and fun event is greatly welcomed by the competitors.
“In 2014 we saw 31 Formula Ford cars on the grid at the Island Magic event, one of the largest grid of cars seen on any track in 2014. The event has always been well run and our competitors have always loved the challenge of racing on arguably Australia’s greatest permanent tracks”, said Marrinon.
The FFA is currently in negotiations to secure a further 3 rounds with Winton, Sydney Motorsport Park and Wakefield in their sites. Negotiations have commenced and the FFA is currently waiting for promoters to finalise their calendars before any further announcements can be made.
The FFA sanctioned series will once again feature both the Formula Ford and Formula Ford 1600 classes with the largest prize pool of any amateur racing category on offer.
The winner of the premier Formula Ford class will once again win a free test of a USF2000 car in the US as well as receive a financial incentive to compete in the series. A Formula Ford test will be offered to the winner of the Formula Ford 1600 category with a host of minor prizes for all series placegetters.
The Formula Ford’s alliance with the “Road to Indy” programme in the US has strengthened with the FFA sanctioned Formula Ford Series acknowledged as an official feeder category. As part of this acknowledgement, the 2015 Formula Ford class winner, Cameron Hill will compete amongst other international young guns at an event in the US with the winner granted a fully paid drive in the USF2000 series.
“Our alliance with the “Road to Indy” programme is a great asset to our racing programme and a springboard into an international racing career for our series champion. It is an initiative that fits with our strategic plan of providing tangible pathways to international categories that are affordable for Australian drivers”.
Since gaining control of the running of a Formula Ford national series in 2014, the FFA has worked to reduce the costs of racing to make it even more affordable. In 2016 a significant reduction in costs will come as a result of the shift to a new Yokohama tyre that offers greater durability and a cost saving of saving of over $8,000 for a racing season. Entry fees at non Shannons rounds will be reduced offering further cost reductions. The cost of competing in the 2016 Formula Ford Series sees an average cost reduction of $40,000 on pre 2014 championships which is testament to FFA’s ability to implement their strategic plan.
“Motorsport is not cheap but we have successfully positioned Formula Ford as the most cost effective development category for kids progressing from karting to cars. Not only can they compete at state level events to gain the necessary experience to be competitive at national level racing but save their money to help fund post Formula Ford racing in what is a significant jump in financial commitment”, said Marrinon.
“Building a cost effective racing category can only occur when the need to make a profit is removed. The FFA has the flexibility to operate a series that covers expenses and these cost savings are directly transferred to our competitors in the form of reduced entry fees. We often tell our competitors that lavish marketing laden categories do not make you a better driver but good racing does and that is what our sole focus is and that is what we offer.”
This new direction for Formula Ford helps strengthen its position as being the most affordable and effective development category in Australia and cements the category as one that will be here for many years to come.