How Formula Vee started and then very nearly ended
There aren’t many championships in the UK that can claim a female winner of its first ever race. But Formula Vee is one that can.
Just days before Formula Ford kicked off at Brands Hatch, Jenny Nadin (who had a successful motorsport career, competing in a number of different race and rally championships) became the first Formula Vee victor. However, her triumph was something of a surprise. Journalist Nick Brittan in another works Volkswagen entry led for almost all of the opening Silverstone race – until he spun on the final lap. Sure enough it was Brittan who became the inaugural champion after an 11-round season that featured races at the long-lost Crystal Palace and Rufforth tracks.
Although 1967 marked the first British Formula Vee race, the concept was nothing new. The idea of combining a Volkswagen Beetle engine with a low-cost single-seater was first dreamt up by Hubert Brundage in Florida, with a series established in 1963. This caught the attention of the German manufacturer, which set about rolling out the idea across the world.
But Formula Vee in Britain came close to dying in the 1970s. VW had lost interest and the series was struggling with small grids. It had also gained an unwanted reputation for featuring ugly and unreliable cars.
Step forward the 750 Motor Club. In 1979 Formula Vee was taken under the club’s control and the revival began. Support increased and specialist manufacturers and engine builders – such as GAC – were created. The championship has been with the club ever since and continues to thrive to this day.
seen here at Brands in 1989 Cars have developed since those