2011 is set to be an exciting year for Formula Ford with the introduction of a new Eurocup series. The blue riband events, which will take place at a variety of Europe's best circuits, will pit together the finest single seater talent from all over the continent, including the best drivers from the British, Benelux and Scandinavian series'.
The Zandvoort F3 Masters event is the first confirmed event on the four meeting calendar, with Formula Ford promoter RacingLine hoping to complete the schedule with races at circuits like Spa-Francorchamps, Brands Hatch and Zolder.
“We are delighted to be able to give Formula Ford a European showcase in which to display its many talents,” said Ford of Europe's Motorsport chief, Gerard Quinn. “In addition to providing the usual Formula Ford guarantee of spectator satisfaction, the four EuroCup events will provide valuable circuit experience for the youngsters taking part and build a platform to introduce FF back into other countries.”
The Eurocup events will dovetail the 2011 Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain, allowing UK teams to enter both series. The British series is set to run over 24 races, including seven triple header meetings across the UK and three races at the Zandvoort F3 Masters event. The series is set to continue supporting the British F3 series and will carry on recieving comprehensive TV coverage on Channel 4 and Motors TV.
Teams and drivers have reacted positively to the introduction of the Eurocup series, according to Sam Roach from RacingLine:
“Our races at the Zandvoort F3 Masters event were a highlight of the 2010 season for all concerned. We visited Spa in 2008 and the teams have been keen to return ever since. With Formula Ford growing in strength year on year, the time is right to join together with the Dutch and Belgian teams, and also those from Scandinavia, to present a unified Formula Ford force.
“The plan is to hold four EuroCup events in 2011; Zandvoort is confirmed and we are hopeful of securing slots at Spa-Francorchamps, Brands Hatch GP and Zolder. All the meetings will feature three Formula Ford races, and there will be an overall EuroCup winner declared at each event.
“The three Zandvoort and three Brands Hatch races will count also towards the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain and the plan is for a further six UK meetings, following the British F3 dates and circuits, to give us a British championship of 24 races.”
Formula Ford teams both in Britain and the Netherlands have been quick to welcome the new championship. Jamun Racing's Tony Mundy said: “Young drivers with an eye on their future careers are keen to gain experience of the international circuits on which they will race in Formula 3 and beyond. I am pleased that Formula Ford is meeting that need.”
Gert Valkenburg, of Dutch team Geva Racing, added: “A EuroCup can only strengthen Formula Ford, and will give drivers in the various European championships another target.”