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Monday, June 17, 2024

The frequent sense transfer that might increase a beloved nationwide racing staple

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Sadly, it may be uncommon to seek out frequent sense in motorsport. But final month’s affirmation that the British Racing & Sports activities Automotive Membership and MotorSport Imaginative and prescient Racing had reached an settlement to not run rival sequence for contemporary Components Ford 1600 machines from 2024 is a uncommon exception to that rule.

The top of the BRSCC’s long-running Nationwide FF1600 championship could also be unhappy information for individuals who hark again to FF1600’s glory days many years in the past when it was the place for younger racers to start the climb up the motorsport ladder, however the determination to pay attention all efforts on MSVR’s United sequence is a logical one. The chilly, laborious numbers dictate that.

Up to now this 12 months, Nationwide FF1600 has managed a measly 11 vehicles on common, whereas United – which caters for vehicles all through FFord’s historical past and never simply trendy machines – has fared solely barely higher with 12, though it has diverse wildly from 20 at some occasions to 6 at others. Put merely, there should not sufficient opponents to go round.

The 19-20 August weekend was the proper instance: Nationwide attracted 11 vehicles at Manufacturers Hatch, whereas United featured a meagre six at Oulton Park. Such a state of affairs merely isn’t sustainable at a time of financial uncertainty, when organisers actually can not afford to have small grids.

Whereas the end-of-season knockout Components Ford Pageant and Walter Hayes Trophy occasions proceed to tug in huge crowds of entries, it’s value noting how FF1600 has struggled extra usually in latest instances. The Scottish and Irish championships now not exist, and even the historic scene is much much less buoyant now than it has been in seasons passed by. The exception must be the Fortress Combe sequence, which had its personal droop just a few years again however has steadily and impressively rebounded since then.

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In order that leads us to the common sense determination taken over the 2024 FF1600 panorama. And, in one other break from the motorsport norm, this was one thing extensively mentioned between the related events and never selected a whim or bulldozed via.

Simply six vehicles entered a latest United Components Ford meet at Oulton Park, which is unsustainable transferring ahead

Picture by: Rachel Bourne

“All of the groups have been concerned on this – it’s not one particular person’s determination, everybody’s been collaborating,” says Andy Brickles, boss of the B-M Racing squad. “I feel it’s a great factor. FF1600 was diluted – it’s no secret that the grids are low in each sequence. By simply creating one dwelling for the fashionable vehicles to race, it will possibly solely be a great factor.”

Oldfield Motorsport founder James Oldfield provides: “We’ll attempt to hold everybody collectively to spice up the grids. At Manufacturers Hatch [in National], we had 11 vehicles however the prime six have been separated by lower than a tenth of a second. The standard on the grid is there, we simply want the amount.”

Alongside the overall financial downturn and considerations in some quarters a few lack of promotion, one other issue behind the 31% discount in Nationwide entries (following a 6% decline in 2022) must be calendar clashes with GB4. When it was launched final 12 months, GB4 was meant as a bridge between FF1600 and the upper single-seater ranks of British F4 and GB3, with a number of Components Ford squads shopping for vehicles. However 4 Nationwide dates conflict with GB4 rounds this 12 months, together with the Pageant, making a headache for groups.

“The time’s come for individuals to cease being grasping – we have to take a smart method to maneuver the class ahead” James Oldfield

“I can’t do GB4 and FF1600 on the identical weekend – I’m not a Carlin or Hitech, I had to decide on one or the opposite,” explains Oldfield, who opted for FF1600. In distinction, Kevin Mills Racing selected GB4, a transfer that has additional affected grid sizes.

However with trendy FF1600 congregating across the United championship subsequent 12 months – which, like GB4, is MSVR-administered – this calendar logjam needs to be eradicated. And there could possibly be wider advantages too, with Oldfield contemplating shopping for a second GB4 automotive now that there’s the potential to run in each classes once more.

What’s abundantly clear is that one thing needed to be completed to enhance the state of affairs to make sure a future for contemporary FF1600 within the UK. In spite of everything, allow us to not overlook that new vehicles are nonetheless being constructed, with Brickles saying a “sleeker” Mk2 model of the Medinas he runs is coming for the Pageant. With out the frequent sense and uniting of minds, the prospect of extra new creations would have been slim.

It's hoped that clashes with GB4 will be avoided next year, which should help Formula Ford

It is hoped that clashes with GB4 might be averted subsequent 12 months, which ought to assist Components Ford

Picture by: JEP/Motorsport Images

That doesn’t imply to say that groups are free from any considerations. There are worries that the lack of the Nationwide identify may make attracting drivers a more durable promote, and a few are disillusioned by the tip of the BRSCC’s involvement on this sphere (though it stays dedicated to the Tremendous Traditional pre-1999 sequence and the Pageant).

However there may be a whole lot of positivity, too. In spite of everything, the tip of the “over dilution” ought to imply one greater grid encapsulating the most effective drivers and subsequently victories change into extra significant. And, with the information being introduced now, there may be loads of time for groups and drivers to plan accordingly.

“We’ve received to do what’s helpful in the long term,” concludes Oldfield. “The time’s come for individuals to cease being grasping – we have to take a smart method to maneuver the class ahead.”

Now, if solely such commonsense pondering may be utilized to different motorsport eventualities…

There are hopes that the move to avoid running rivalling series moving forward will boost grid numbers

There are hopes that the transfer to keep away from working rivalling sequence transferring ahead will increase grid numbers

Picture by: Mick Walker

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