Big entry for National FF1600 at Silverstone
Organisers of the National Formula Ford 1600 Championship are confident of retaining big grids all season after the series’ first standalone round at Silverstone this weekend attracted the biggest entry in recent years.
As MN closed for press, 31 cars had signed up for the doubleheader on the Silverstone International layout, almost double the entry for the corresponding fixture last season.
The championship has enjoyed an surge in interest this year after a new partnership with the Mazda Road to Indy scheme, which will allow the champion into a global shootout to win a fully funded single-seater season in America in 2017.
While the opening round of the series at Oulton Park boasted a 27-car grid, entries were mixed with the local Northern Championship.
“To have so many cars for the first standalone National round was so important,” said leading team boss Cliff Dempsey. “With the huge Mazda Road to Indy prize we would have been disappointed not to have 30 cars at a track like Silverstone.
“The prize has helped give the championship some impetus and has brought a lot of young blood into the class again. I reckon we’re looking at this type of entry for all the rounds this year.”
Only drivers aged 25 and under are eligible for the Mazda Road to Indy prize. Some more senior racers in the series have suggested more could be done to retain those drivers. Rob Hall raced at Oulton, but won’t do the whole season as he focuses on the Walter Hayes Trophy and Brands Hatch Festival contests instead.
Hall said: “There should be more prizes, such as the entry fee for the following season to the champion, to encourage them to come back and defend the title.”