Seven members of the Investchem Formula 1600 championship will compete in the annual Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch in Kent, England on Saturday and Sunday, 21 and 22 October. This 2017 event marks the 50th year of Formula Ford racing – and the festival has taken place since 1972.
The Formula Ford Festival is a celebration of single-seater racing regarded as an annual highlight on the British Racing and Sports Car Club calendar, attracting entries from many countries.
“South Africa has a long history of single-seater racing and the Formula Ford championship here is an institution in the motorsport world that dates back to the late 1960s,” says Ian Schofield of the Investchem Formula 1600 series. “As an internationally-represented motorsport series, we will be providing a reminder of how strong our local competition is – and how passionate South Africans are about racing.”
For the 2017 event, six local competitors will join Investchem Formula 1600 competitor Rick Morris (who lives in England). Included on this list is both of the newly-crowned national Investchem Formula 1600 champions for this year, Julian van der Watt (42 – Race Driver SA) and Ian Schofield (10 – Investchem).
Lining up with these three drivers is Andrew Schofield (7 – Investchem), Dean Venter (77 – Desco) and his father, Steve Venter who races in the Formula Ford Kent category and Alex Gillespie (50 – ERP Trucking Solutions) . Between the seven of them, they will tackle the 1.93km Indy circuit at Brands Hatch over the two-day festival before returning to South Africa for the final round of the Investchem Formula 1600 championship at Kyalami on Saturday, November 4.
The Formula Ford Festival event his year will mark the 46th time this event has taken place at Brands Hatch and previous winners include current and former Formula One drivers Jenson Button, Mark Webber, Johnny Herbert, Eddie Irvine and Anthony Davidson.
South African A1GP driver Allan van der Merwe also appears on the list of winners and Morris has appeared on the podium at this event, claiming second and third place on six separate occasions since 1976!
For the delegation representing the Investchem Formula 1600 series and South Africa, the 2017 Formula Ford Festival is going to be a fast and exciting two days of racing. A largely unknown circuit to the competitors and a tough field of competitors all vying to take their place on the podium is going to make for a demanding weekend as they will have to quickly find their feet and start producing fast laptimes almost from the outset.
Only one round of the South African national championship remains in the 2017 season, with the champions in both categories of the Investchem Formula 1600 already crowned. There is still a fight on for the remaining podium positions and this will be certain to keep the racing action exciting for the final two races at Kyalami.
While the focus is on the Formula Ford festival – and the looming finale at Kyalami shortly after – there is also news to follow soon on the 2018 championship and a new car that is in the works.