Rockingham played host to the stars of the future as the annual Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain Sampler Day rolled into the Northampton circuit. The event, designed to give prospective young drivers a chance to meet teams and test their machinery, once again proved a huge success.
Around 20 drivers took part in the event, many of which came from hugely successful karting careers. Among those was 18 year old British Kart Grand Prix winner Jordan Chamberlain, who sampled several different chassis' as a prize for winning the Trent Valley Kart Club's summer Kartmasters event.
“It's been a great opportunity,” said Jordan, “and I want to thank everyone who made it possible for me. Formula Ford is very much an option for me for 2011.”
Other top class karters taking to the track included 2009 British KF2 Kart champion Josh Fielding, Senior Max karter Ben Lancaster and 16-year-old Junior Kart ace Chris McCarthy. Joining them in looking to make it to the Formula Ford grid was Laura Koivuluoma, runner up in this years Finnish KF1 kart series. Testing for the Enigma Motorsport, she received tuition from fellow Finn and series racewinner Antti Buri.
Enjoying his first taste of a Formula Ford machine was 17-year-old Sean Walkinshaw. Following in the footsteps of his father Tom, a former category champion before moving on to a successful racing and management career, he enjoyed his experience: “I have done some karting before, but this is my first time in a Formula Ford, and I'm loving it.”
As well as many drivers looking to move into Formula Ford in 2011, there was also a new team publicising their planned involvement in the series. Advent Motorsport, who have had a successful career in saloon championships including T-Cars, the Mini Challenge and the SEAT Cupra Championship, hope to run two Fluid-built Van Diemens.
Team boss Andrew Crighton said: “Formula Ford is where I started, and I love it. I have wanted to contest the championship for many years and I'm delighted that this opportunity has now presented itself.”
Other teams taking part in the action were multiple championship-winning outfit Jamun, JTR, Fluid and DW Racing.
As well as taking part in the on track action, drivers attending the sampler day were also offered a variety of off track seminars, aimed at helping them with their careers. Topics included sponsorship and presentation, with Dunlop also offering technical advice.
Sam Roach, of championship promoter RacingLine, reflected on the day: “It's been a valuable day for all concerned – for the teams looking for talent for the coming season, for Scott and Daniel, who have gained useful, career-enhancing experience, and most of all for the young drivers looking to make a good, solid start to their racing careers. We are very pleased with how things have gone.”