In the world of Formula Ford, Van Diemen is a name long associated with the series, and will make its return to this year’s running of the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain as Alex Drabble, making the grid in his rookie season, and will contest in both the Duratec class and the new Rookie Cup. He will be driving a Duratec-engined 2011 Van Diemen, racing for Fluid Motorsport Development.

Even though 19-year-old Drabble is one of the new generation of drivers in the series, he has had an unusual rise through the ranks, as the Hampshire-based driver has shied away from the traditional route taken by most youngsters, as he explains: “I didn't really take to karting as a child, but then I passed my ARDS test and had a go in my father's Merlyn Mk 6 and a Turner-Climax.” After all this, he ended up behind the wheel of a 1992 Kent-engined Swift chassis, which has alluded to a natural progression within the category, that he will race in.

Even though he is the first of many entrants into the inaugural Rookie Cup, any driver that has limited experience at national single-seater level, who runs a chassis with either the Duratec or EcoBoost engines, will be able to win the cup. Lindsay Allen, Fluid’s team boss, says that Alex will be one to keep our eyes on for the future, with the rookie making his debut at Oulton Park during the Easter Weekend.  Allen says that the new addition to the grid will be someone who is looking to make a name for himself, and is taking things seriously: ” Give him a few races to settle into things and he will be up at the front, I am sure.”

Throughout its ever busy schedule, Formula Ford will test the drivers over 24 rounds, spread over 8 race weekends, as well as supporting the British F3 and DTM during the season, whilst the Eurocup will run alongside the UK dates, including the usual visits to Brands Hatch, Zandvoort and the Nürburgring.  It’ll be a matter of time to see if young Alex shows how serious he is, and whether the Hampshire driver’s perserverance and determination shines through.