How For­mula Vee started and then very nearly ended

Motor Sport News - - Insight: Formula Vee -

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.

Photos: Gary Hawkins, Steve Jones

seen here at Brands in 1989 Cars have de­vel­oped since those

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.