The BRSCC has announced that the highest-placed teenager at this year’s Aimshop.com Formula Ford Festival will be offered a prize test at the British Formula 4 Scholarship Assessment Day.
Festival organiser BRSCC has teamed up with F4 promoter RacingLine and Fortec Motorsports to offer the prize, eligible to drivers of any nationality competing at the October 26/27 event at Brands Hatch.
The recipient will join Fortec at Silverstone on November 5 for a test in a Mygale F4 car as well as media training and other mental and physical exercises. The day also acts as a chance to compete for a £35,000 prize package towards a 2020 campaign if the driver has no prior British F4 experience.
“This year you start to look at potential [Festival] winners, we know that we’ve got very good people coming back, people like Joey [Foster], we’ve got Josh Smith from last year, they’ve all got a good chance,” BRSCC chairman Peter Daly said.
The idea of the scholarship entry deal is an incentive to attract drivers to the Festival who would otherwise be put off by the experienced frontrunners such as Foster, and longer term wants more teenagers to consider Formula Ford as the entry-level car racing series of choice.
“We need to look at why we can’t get 15-year-olds into Formula Ford 1600 cars. That is an obstacle at the moment in developing some talent coming through from karting into a low-to-medium budget single-seater category to earn some good race experience, learn racecraft in a non-slicks-and-wings car and then move into F4, F3 and progress.”
B-M Racing boss Andy Brickles was however critical of this focus implicit with the F4 scholarship prize.
“They don’t want to shun out the loyalists, people like Joey Foster, people that are above the age of 19 who have been doing it years and years, where’s their reward for being loyal customers?” Brickles told FF1600website.
“Another concern is that should the BRSCC be actively placing FFord as the lowest rung of the ladder under F4? Because that’s the way it reads. FFord is a much more competitive category and for a fraction of the price. It’s also more rewarding because everyone knows you have to actually drive these cars, it takes skill.
“The BRSCC needs to actively campaign that this is where you learn to race rather than concentrate on it being a feeder series.”
Brickles’ rival team boss Cliff Dempsey was supportive of the F4 prize. “Any prize at this level is a bonus and if it’s something that helps them to move on, and gives them the incentive to come into our class with the view to winning the prize to move on, it’s always a big help,” he said.
“Losing the [Road to Indy] Shootout from the States probably hasn’t helped the class this year, so we needed something to get the numbers up and I think that [the F4 prize] should do that. It’ll definitely help, that’s for sure.”
Additional reporting by Steve Whitfield