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BRSCC FORMULA FORD 1600 - 50 YEARS
2017 marks the 50th Anniversary of the first Formula Ford race at Brands Hatch. This is the story of the inception of the World’s greatest Starter Category. In the 1960s, the Racing Schools that coached aspiring Grand Prix drivers employed a fleet of 1-litre Formula 3 and Formula Junior cars. Their tiny, highly tuned power units were expensive to buy and would self-destruct on a regular basis putting great stress on the finances of the schools. This was a time when the UK’s circuits largely operated independently and around the middle of the decade the school at Brands Hatch fitted standard road-going 1,500cc motors from Ford Cortina GT sports saloons to a couple of their single-seaters. As these cars proved just as fast as those with the pure-bred racing engines, students were quite happy to use them. Over the Winter of 1966/7, the legendary boss of Brands Hatch - John Webb - and Geoff Clarke who operated the Motor Racing Stables School at the circuit decided to commission the construction of a fleet of racing cars which would have road-going engines and tyres. Not only would they be used by the school but an entry-level Championship could be created for them to compete in. Naming the new category “Formula Ford” enabled a deal to be brokered with the manuafacturer on an initial batch of 54 Cortina GT engines while Lotus were commissioned to provided the chassis. They converted their 1964 Formula 3 car to create the Lotus 51. Soon other racing schools were adopting the concept, most notably the one operated by Jim Russell at Snetterton, power was supplied by the same Cortina engine as at Brands but chassis and gearboxes were made by other manufacturers. By the summer of 1967 there were enough cars in circulation to stage the first Formula Ford race at a pukka race meeting - this took place at the spiritual home for the category, Brands Hatch on 2nd July. Half of the 20 entrants were driving Lotus 51s, including the winner Ray Allan. Soon the power unit had evolved to become the 1600cc Kent crossflow engine that is still in use today with a Hewland gearbox becoming the standard transmission. Formula Ford 1600 quickly spread right around the Globe with Emerson Fittipaldi becoming the first graduate to become Formula 1 World Champion in 1972. Underlining what a great concept the category originally was, many today still believe that it is the best place for a young driver to begin their career.
©BRSCC Follow us on Twitter & Facebook Webite created by Gramtext     Photographs ©Bourne Photographic
BRSCC FORMULA FORD 1600 - 50 YEARS
2017 marks the 50th Anniversary of the first Formula Ford race at Brands Hatch. This is the story of the inception of the World’s greatest Starter Category. In the 1960s, the Racing Schools that coached aspiring Grand Prix drivers employed a fleet of 1- litre Formula 3 and Formula Junior cars. Their tiny, highly tuned power units were expensive to buy and would self-destruct on a regular basis putting great stress on the finances of the schools. This was a time when the UK’s circuits largely operated independently and around the middle of the decade the school at Brands Hatch fitted standard road-going 1,500cc motors from Ford Cortina GT sports saloons to a couple of their single-seaters. As these cars proved just as fast as those with the pure-bred racing engines, students were quite happy to use them. Over the Winter of 1966/7, the legendary boss of Brands Hatch - John Webb - and Geoff Clarke who operated the Motor Racing Stables School at the circuit decided to commission the construction of a fleet of racing cars which would have road-going engines and tyres. Not only would they be used by the school but an entry-level Championship could be created for them to compete in. Naming the new category “Formula Ford” enabled a deal to be brokered with the manuafacturer on an initial batch of 54 Cortina GT engines while Lotus were commissioned to provided the chassis. They converted their 1964 Formula 3 car to create the Lotus 51. Soon other racing schools were adopting the concept, most notably the one operated by Jim Russell at Snetterton, power was supplied by the same Cortina engine as at Brands but chassis and gearboxes were made by other manufacturers. By the summer of 1967 there were enough cars in circulation to stage the first Formula Ford race at a pukka race meeting - this took place at the spiritual home for the category, Brands Hatch on 2nd July. Half of the 20 entrants were driving Lotus 51s, including the winner Ray Allan. Soon the power unit had evolved to become the 1600cc Kent crossflow engine that is still in use today with a Hewland gearbox becoming the standard transmission. Formula Ford 1600 quickly spread right around the Globe with Emerson Fittipaldi becoming the first graduate to become Formula 1 World Champion in 1972. Underlining what a great concept the category originally was, many today still believe that it is the best place for a young driver to begin their career.