WILLIAMS: TWEAKED RFR CAN “DOMINATE”
Ralph Firman Racing driver Luke Williams believes developments to the new RFFF16 will put the car in a position to “dominate” October’s Formula Ford Festival after a recent upturn in form.
The new RFFF16 is mid-way through its maiden season of racing, being the first fresh Formula Ford design from Van Diemen founder Firman since 1998. With limited testing before the start of the season, the new car was blighted by problems on its debut at Oulton Park in April, with first customer Williams suffering gearbox issues.
Despite completing a second car for James Roe, progress remained slow – with a third machine, in which 2015 Walter Hayes Trophy winner Graham Carroll had expected to contest a full campaign, yet to be completed.
But Williams twice finished on the podium at the National FF1600 round at Brands Hatch in July, which also coincided with a switch from a Scholar to a Bold engine, and team boss Ralph Firman said he expected more progress soon.
“The biggest problem was the engine – we just couldn’t hold them together,” said Firman, who co-founded the Van Diemen marque.
“The car was always going to come together late, but we should have been able to go to Oulton without problems. I think the car is getting better and better. There are already areas where it’s stronger than the others.”
Despite playing down the effect of swapping engines, Williams was bullish about the car’s chances of being at the front come the end of season Festival and Walter Hayes Trophy blue riband events. “First time out, the car felt like it had potential, but some problems were bound to happen,” said Williams. “We switched to Bold [engines] before Brands Hatch but only for the rest of 2016 – we’re still talking with Scholar. It seems too easy to blame the engine. “Had the car been ready three months earlier and tested, we might have been in better shape to fight at the start of the year. “I think if you give us until the Festival, we’ve a good chance of dominating. We’ve only started to get over the early issues and haven’t added updates, but the tweaks we’ve made have had an impact.” Carroll has been told his machine will be ready to test before the next National round at Anglesey on August 6/7, with a view to competing there.
Williams has made progress with RFR
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