WHT creator to launch Heritage Formula Ford series

Walter Hayes Trophy creator James Beckett will launch a new Heritage Formula Ford series for Pre93 cars in 2018.

The MotorSport Vision Racing-run series follows the “toe-in-the-water” creation of a Pre93 class at this year’s WHT. It is provisionally planned as a four-round calendar for 2018, with some events possibly double-headers and tracks such as Brands Hatch, Donington Park and Oulton Park in mind.

Heritage FFord would fill the current void for a series in which the popular early 1990s machinery can fight at the front.

Much-loved cars such as the Van Diemen RF90 and Swift SC92 are now too old to be competitive in the National Championship, but not eligible either for the Classic series or the often-standalone Pre90 races in the Northern Championship.

“The time is right I believe and it’s a bit of a gap in the market,” Beckett told Motorsport News and Autosport.

“If you’re running a Swift 93 or Van Diemen RF90 you’re running in races where you can make up the numbers but not where you can win.

“There will be a small number of races in 2018 with a growing potential for 2019 and beyond.

“I’m pretty confident we might end up with some good grids and I don’t see why we can’t have a really good series in two or three years. This is something I’m pretty excited about.”

Brian Soule, whose Souley Motorsport team dominated the National Championship’s Pre90 division this year and fielded Castle Combe Pre93 champion Paul Barnes in both series, said his squad would be on the Heritage grid.

“This is a great concept and I am really looking forward to running cars in Heritage Formula Ford next season,” Soule told Autosport and Motorsport News.

“Having been told of plans by James Beckett and MSVR, I instantly said yes to becoming involved and pledged to sign cars up to race.”

The early 1990s marked the end of Kent FFord’s first period of dominance of entry-level UK single-seater racing before the Zetec engine and its Duratec and Ecoboost successors took precedence.

While most chassis constructors focused on Zetec later in the 1990s, the turn-of-the-decade cars became the backbone of regional FF1600 series until the fashion for converting Zetec chassis to Kent began in the early 2000s.

The older cars long remained competitive in the right hands, with Stuart Gough winning the National title as recently as 2014 in Oldfield Motorsport’s Van Diemen RF92, but in recent years they had begun to disappear from grids, despite most believing that plenty still existed in both team and private hands.

Beckett said he hoped the new series would pay tribute to the cars’ heyday.

“I can’t force people to run their cars in period colour but I want them to look right and be right, to have a little presence in the paddock,” he added.

Alongside Heritage FFord, Beckett intends to continue with Champion of Brands and to “rework” the SuperSeries.

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