Ford have just revealed their new for 2012 Formula Ford machine – and it looks perfect. As one of the last outposts of wingless single-seaters I’ve always had a soft spot for Formula Ford machines, this latest incarnation of the classic racing recipe features a turbo-charged 1.6 two years ahead of Formula One. The engine can be found in Ford showrooms worldwide already, hopefully keeping the racing cheap and extremely cheerful as ever. Formula Turbo Ford was originally mooted in the 1980s, Reynard even building a car to the nascent rules, but it has taken some 25 years for it to become a racing reality.
I am also a great fan of multi-constructor Formulae, something that Formula Ford has always majored on. I believe it gives the drivers and engineers the skills at developing and adapting a machine that they will need if they ever make it to the dizzying heights of F1, something GP2, GP3, et al are sadly lacking. Even bike racing is enjoying its own version of the one-engine multiple-makes Formula Ford way of doing things with Moto 2 which has proved to be a runaway success.
There are several fixed points on the chassis that the designers will need to keep so the rival machines are aero-equal, although Ford have yet to specify what these parts are. I’m hoping it’s the cheeky front intake, the angular roll-bar, the sculpted sidepods and the natty wheels. As ever the chassis is steel rather than carbon, but this time the safety levels have been upped to rival more sophisticated and expensive machines.
The 2012 Formula Ford cars will initially only appear in Britain, but before long expect all the 20 or so major series for Ford’s racing staple to look this way. The cars are essentially the same shape as they were 40 years ago but with turbos and sequential shifters along with striking aerodynamic detailing that brings the look bang up to date, the Formula Ford car of the future will continue to entertain crowds and educate drivers for a long time to come.