FORD CELEBRATION STARTS 50th YEAR
Famous cars and stars gather in Birmingham
Derek Warwick, Nick Tandy and Martin Donnelly were some of the star drivers who helped kick off the 50th anniversary season of Formula Ford during the Autosport International show at the NEC.
Drivers from across five decades of the category gathered at the HSCC stand where the club staged a display of iconic Formula Ford cars. The eight cars on show included those raced in period by Jody Scheckter (Merlyn Mk11) and Michael Schumacher (Van Diemen RF88).
Joining Warwick, Tandy and Donnelly were FF1600 aces like John Village, Rick Morris, Jim Walsh, Bernard Dolan, Roger Pedrick, Ed Moore and Grahame Tilley along with Ray Allen, winner of the first Formula Ford race in July 1967.
Representing manufacturers were Alan Cornock (Royale) and Howden Ganley (Tiga) and a number of race engineers and engine builders were also on hand. F1 designer Pat Symonds recalled his early design career creating cars for Royale.
Among those on show were Nigel Mansell’s original car.
Warwick, a leading contender in the 1976 season, remembered just how good Formula Ford was in the period. “In 1976, I raced in 63 races and won 32,” he said. “We ran it very cheaply and we were just amateurs at that stage. The racing was phenomenal.”
Le Mans winner Nick Tandy said that the category had been a pivotal part of his career. “I loved my time in Formula Ford and I’m proud that I’m part of the Formula Ford history.”
Nigel Mansell’s car was among the stars