HSCC launches the 50th year of Formula Ford at Autosport International in January, with some iconic single seaters on display including Ayrton Senna’s Van Diemen RF81 , Nigel Mansell’s Crosslé 25F and Michael Schumacher’s Van Diemen RF88.
The Lotus 51, the first purpose built Formula Ford will also be on display alongside the 1969 Lotus 61 as well as the Medina Sport Van Diemen JL16 which debuted successfully at this years Walter Hayes Trophy.
Formula Ford has long been viewed as the spring board for developing talent with many drivers going on to Formula 1 careers including Jenson Button, Damon Hill and Daniel Ricciardo to name but a few.
Autosport International runs from the 12th to the 15th of January at Birmingham NEC.
Earl Bamber joins Andre Lotterer and Nick Tandy as the new additions to Porsches LMP1 FIA World Endurance Championship team alongside Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Neel Jani.
The New Zealander, who won the Le Mans 24 hour race in 2015, is a Porsche factory driver, also winning the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Drivers Championship in 2013 and 2014.
After the retirement of Mark Webber it was announced last week that Porsche were not keeping on Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas for 2017. Lieb now moves to Porsche’s international customer racing programme. Dumas plans are not yet known.
The Abu Dhabi season closer sees Jenson Button’s 305th Grand Prix and the finale of his Formula 1 career. The 36 year old rose from the ranks of British karting, progressing through Formula Ford and Formula 3, driving in Formula 1 in 2000 at the age of 20 with William’s. Button was Britain’s youngest racing driver and finished his first season in 8th place.
Then followed a move to Benetton which was rebranded Renault in 2002. Button was replaced by Fernando Alonso the following year and moved to British American Racing. Despite some early problems with team mate Jacques Villeneuve, Button took 10 podium places between 2004 and 2005. Honda’s takeover of BAR in late 2005 saw the team renamed Honda Racing F1 and the following year Button’s first win at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
2007 and 2008 were difficult years for Button with criticism leveled at him for under performing. The failing Honda Racing team then announced it was leaving Formula 1, eventually being bought out by Brawn GP. This then saw a period of success for Button with him winning 6 of the 7 first races before going on to win the driver’s title.
In 2010 Brawn was bought out by Mercedes and Button moved to McLaren driving alongside Lewis Hamilton. That year saw 7 podium finishes including a win at the Australian and Chinese Grand Prix. The following year he finished overall 2nd with 3 wins and 12 podium places. After further success in 2012 Button later went on to announce he intended to stay with McLaren until he retired. The following three years saw Button finishing overall 9th, 8th and 16th.
Button announced this September that he intended to take a year away from Formula 1 with an option open to return in 2018, but now with a firm decision to retire made, Button has commented; “It’s been a long journey since eight years old until now.
“You get to Formula 1 with many dreams and hopefully you leave the sport with memories – some amazing memories, some life-changing, some good, some bad. To walk away with the world championship is very special, too.
“I will definitely step away from F1 happy with what I’ve achieved and definitely my life starts now.”
Ariel have launched their new Ace R at this years Motorcycle Live. Building on their 2014 released bike, the heritage brand have increased the power to over 200bhp. The lacquered carbon fibre bike powered by a Honda V4 engine, achieves 0 to 60 in 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 187mph.
The V4 engine was developed by Mark ‘Brains’ Woodage of MJW Specialists who said “After over two decades of building fast road and race engines, it is a real pleasure to work with the guys at Ariel. Ariel is well known as the market leader in the manufacture of low volume vehicles and our MJW company values of quality, performance and outstanding reliability are perfectly aligned. We’ve worked with Honda engines for a very long time and had a huge amount of success in Supersport, Superbike, MotoGP and at the TT over the years so we’re all really looking forward to seeing the Ariel Ace R hit the road next Spring.”
The attention to detail is, as you would expect in the hand built bike, exquisite. From the black and gold Ace R badge to the Ariel nameplate displaying the name of the bike’s builder, the Ace R screams craftmanship, and with plenty of opportunity for the 1237cc machine to be tailored to the customers requirements, even with the £49,995 price tag it’s rightfully bound to attract a discerning following. The bike becomes available in early 2017.
One of the highlights at Motorcycle Live are the beautiful new, designed from the ground up, Norton V4 RR & V4SS.
The high spec 1200cc machines that were 6 years in the making, features the British Ricardo designed 72 degree, V4 engine which produces 200bhp at 12,500rpm and 95.88ftlb of torque at 10,000rpm.
The V4 frame is a hand built aluminium twin tube shot gun chassis and takes over 24 hours to polish by hand. Both models feature a revolutionary Kevlar reinforced carbon fibre fuel tank. The electronics include Multi-setting traction control, launch, cruise and wheelie control and datalogging systems for use on track.
With the limited edition V4SS at £44,000 already sold out, Norton lovers willing to pay £28,000 for the silver painted V4RR won’t be disappointed by the first class design and top flight engineering of this stunning bike.
Automotive Brands announced today their partnership with Vauxhall Motors, the pairing sees the manufacturer moving back into the British Touring Car Championship in 2017. Automotive Brands which owns Power Maxed Racing will run two Vauxhall Astra’s replacing the Chevrolet Cruzes they were racing this season. As yet no drivers have been announced.
Vauxhall first entered the Championship in 1989 with John Cleland winning the drivers title in an Astra GTE. The manufacturer went on to have a successful campaign in the series over the next 20 years, winning 4 consecutive titles between 2001 to 2004. Vauxhall decided to withdraw from the series in 2009 in part due to the economic climate and also as the series saw the decline of factory entries, that year seeing them as the only manufacturer left in the Championship.
The FIA World Enduance Championship class will now move over to Gibson powerplant for 2017. This follows a change in the FIA WEC regulations to move to a more cost effective, class wide, single engine supplier. Also introduced is a limit to only four chassis constructors in the class.
The Nissan engine has been very successful in LMP2, in its first year achieving 5 out 8 race wins and 35 consecutive FIA WEC wins since 2013. In the European Le Mans Series Nissan chalked up six consecutive LMP2 championships. In the 24 Hours of Le Mans, victories by Greaves Motorsport (2011), OAK Racing (2013), Jota Sport (2014), KCMG (2015) and Signatech Alpine (2016) were all powered by Nissan.
Nissan will continue in LMP3 and also in the Asian Le Mans series with the VK45DE engine.
Sam Tordoff announced today he will be stepping away from the British Touring Car Championship to explore other areas of motorsport.
Tordoff started his BTCC career in 2010 driving for Triple Eight Racing before signing with West Surrey Racing at the end of 2014. He won 2 races this season and 7 podium places but lost out on the Championship title to Honda racing’s Gordon Shedden by just two points.
Michael Laverty and James Ellison head up the new Superbikes McAMS Yamaha team launched Saturday at Motorcycle Live. The team that were previously Team Traction Control and raced in the Supersport class will also run the new YZF-R6 in that class adding current Supersport Champion Tarran Mackenzie to the lineup.
The Superbikes pair will be riding the YZF-R1 with backing from Yamaha Motor Europe.
Ellison had raced with GB moto Racing under JG Speedfit Kawasaki for the past three years, winning the final race of 2016 and finishing 3rd overall in the BSB Championship. GB moto Racing announced they were leaving the BSB series at the end of the season.
Laverty who was with TYCO BMW for the last two years came 8th in the Championship. He has previously ridden Yamaha in BSB with Shaun Muir Racing under Swan Racing.
Bournemouth Kawasaki unveiled it’s main sponsor and team for 2017 at Motorcycle Live, Team Green continue their relationship with JG Speedfit now as the title sponsor. Team boss Pete Extance revealed they would begin testing with the new ZX10 at Jerez in January.
Leon Haslam commented that there were lots of challeges ahead but staying with Kawasaki was a priority to get the Championship they deserve. Of the ZX10 Leon went on to say that the bike was very stable, very good on brakes, fighting with the no electric rules in BSB was a difficulty and to keep the tyre life compared to the Ducati was a challenge, but Pirelli were working on something new for next year and they were taking big steps with the new bike.
Luke Mossey who is only in his second year in Superbikes commented of 2016 they had made it hard on themselves at times but they were working on consistency, focusing more on racing and was looking forward to getting out on the new bike and beginning the testing in Spain.
Team manager Jack Valentine added that he was looking forward to a great season, it had been quiet this year but it was going to be serious next year and the team were going to be winning races right from the off.
The opening round of the 2017 British Superbikes series begins at Donington Park in March.
Audi completed their last ever WEC season by taking first and second position in Bahrain. It topped an emotional weekend for the team as they bid farewell to the endurance championship with Audi now concentrating on Formula E. Lucas Di Grassi, Oliver Jarvis and Loïc Duval in the No.8 Audi R18 took pole with sister car No. 7 driven by Benoit Tréluyer, Marcel Fässler and André Lotterer in 2nd place.
Porsche finished in 3rd with their No.1 Porsche 919 Hybrid, driven by Brendon Hartley, Timo Bernhard and retiring Mark Webber. 6th position was taken by Neel Jani, Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas who took the World Endurance Drivers Championship.
2013 BTCC Champion Andrew Jordan announced today he has signed a two year deal to join West Surrey Racing driving a BMW 125i.
WSR who have been in the BTCC since 1996 have previously raced Ford, Honda and MG. The team have been running BMW’s since 2007, Jordan begins testing the car next week.
Jordan who was with Motorbase Performance this year, finished in 8th place overall and also took the Independent Drivers Trophy, a title he has won twice before. He continues to be sponsored by Pirtek.
There was drama over the weekend for the Milltek Sport Team that had invited guest driver’s Sir Chris Hoy and Jon-Allan Butterworth to drive for them alongside Tom Onslow-Cole, Paul White and Jade Edwards at the Mission Motorsport flagship event, the Race of Remembrance. The Milltek Sports MKVI Golf developed an issue that couldn’t be resolved but a solution was found when Milltek Sports Managing Director Steve Pound suggested the team could use their track day MKVI instead, so with only hours to spare the Golf was converted to a race ready car, allowing the team to go on to finish 3rd in class and recording the fastest lap of the race.
The event held at the at the Anglesey Circuit by Mission Motorsport, the armed forces motorsport charity, went on to be won by Synchro Motorsport, a Honda factory based volunteer team.
Also competing was Nathalie McGloin with the Spinal Track team. Nathalie who was involved in an accident at 16 and is paralysed from the chest down, has just completed her first season in the Porsche Club Championship. The Spinal Track team is an all spinal injured race team, they finished in second position in class and 10th over all.
The Moto3 reigning Champion finished off his superb season by coming back from 22nd position to claim victory from Joan Mir. The KTM rider was in a class of his own at the Spanish track, providing a nail biting final 5 laps as he did battle with Mir, Andrea Migno and Enea Bastianini for the top spot. He eventually went onto lead in the last lap, bringing his 7th win of the season with Mir just behind him in 2nd and Migno in 3rd. Mir took the Rookie of the Year title. Pole man Aron Canet had to start his race from the pit lane after his bike stalled, he eventually finished in 19th place.
In Moto2, winner and World Champion Johann Zarco had a fight on his hands with Franco Morbidelli to start with. In the later laps Morbidelli dropped back unable to match Zarco’s pace. Morbidelli eventually finished in third with Thomas Luthi in second.
Jorge Lorenzo took centre place on the podium in his final ride for Yamaha after 9 years with the factory team. Lorenzo who started on pole position led the way throughout the race with very little competition to trouble his superior ride. Only in the closing laps did Marc Marquez look like he might be closing in on Lorenzo as Lorenzo’s tyres degraded , but it was too little too late for the reigning Champion to do anything but come in 2nd place.
Lorenzo slayed track records right from the opening laps, with his fastest being 1:31.171.
Behind Lorenzo, Rossi had an epic battle with Andrea Iannone, the Ducati rider was taking no prisoners and made sure he kept Rossi fighting, swapping places throughout the race. Iannone eventually made it to P3 knocking Rossi back into 4th place.
Last round’s winner Cal Crutchlow crashed out of the race as did Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa who had only just returned to the paddock after suffering multiple injuries, including a fractured collarbone that had required surgery, after a crash at the Japanese GP last month.
Jorge Lorenzo who moves to Ducati in 2017 has had a total of 43 wins and 3 World Championship titles with Yamaha. In a letter released by Lorenzo this week he thanked the team and the engineers for always giving him a winning bike. Maverick Vinales now join’s Valentino Rossi at Yamaha after a successful two years with Suzuki.
Lewis Hamilton won the Brazilian GP today, his 9th win of the year in very wet conditions. The race which saw a delayed start then two red flags found Nico Rosberg in P2 and Max Verstappen in P3. Rosberg is now just 12 points ahead of Hamilton. The Championship within his grasp, Rosberg needs only finish 3rd in Abu Dhabi to claim it.
The big story of the race was the brilliant drive by Max Verstappen. Verstappen started on the 2nd row of the grid and consistently kept the heat on the front runners, however after having intermediate tyres fitted mid way through the race, then the rain intensifying, he changed over to wets and rejoined the race in 13th place. Verstappen then consistently tucked away the 10 positions in front of him, at one point spinning his car but managing superbly to gain control.
The incidents started before the race even got underway with Haas’ Romain Grosjean slamming into a wall and out of the race on a warm up lap. 8 laps into the race itself Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson spun out and onto the pit straight.
Just a few laps later Kimi Raikonnen managed to walk away from a horrendous crash on the pit straight, which left debris across the track and stopped the race. Only 7 laps after the race was eventually restarted, it was stopped again due to the difficult conditions. The next restart found Brazilian Felipe Massa crashing out and making an emotional walk back to the pits in front of his home crowd. Crews from the teams in the garages formed a guard of honour as Massa who retires at the end of the season was joined by his family.
The Renault e.dam driver took his second win of the season, with DS Virgin’s Sam Bird in second place and Mahindra’s Felix Rosenqvist taking third. Rosenqvist who had started in pole position but suffered some technical problems early on, maintained his lead for most of the race until the closing stages when Buemi who had started on the grid in 7th place used his FanBoost to catch Rosenqvist, then take the lead. Buemi finished the race with only 2% charge left.
Bird also followed his lead leaving Rosenqvist in third. Buemi’s team mate Nicolas Prost came in 4th with the Abt Audi Sport team taking 5th and 6th. Briton’s Oliver Turvey for NextEV NIO came in 7th and Adam Carroll for Jaguar Racing came in 14th.
The next round takes place in Buenos Aires in February.
Another car garnering much attention at the Walter Hayes Trophy weekend was the original Jesus Saves Racing Team Van Diemen with Fernando Ribeiro driving as he did in 1979.
The team was founded in 1978 by Formula 1 driver Alex Ribeiro, brother to Fernando. Alex had long used the slogan Jesus Saves on his car during his time in Formula 2, so on forming his own Formula 2 team the committed Christian saw it as a way of further spreading his beliefs.
Alex went onto Formula 1 whilst his brother Fernando drove the Van Diemen in Formula Ford, going on to become a works Formula Ford driver.
The team was resurrected in 2013 now with Adriano Medeiros driving the Van Diemen in the Formula Ford Championship.
A car drawing quite a lot of attention at last weekends Walter Hayes Trophy was the Rondeau M585 driven by Thierry Boissiere.
The French car hadn’t been raced at Silverstone since 1984 when Andy Wallace won the Formula Ford Championship driving an M585. The same year that the French Formula Ford Championship was introduced.
The Formula Ford Rondeau was built by racing driver and constructor Jean Rondeau in 1985. The Frenchman drove in the Le Mans’s 24 Hour endurance race several times in the early 70’s but lack of results and frustration with the cars he was racing led him to build his own. He obtained sponsorship from French wallpaper firm Inaltera and under a year later an Inaltera branded Rondeau built car, achieved 8th place at Le Mans 1976 winning the GTP Class.
Financial problems hit Rondeau’s sponsorship firm, causing them to pull out leaving Rondeau without financial backing. However Rondeau managed to build a car, the M378 to compete in the 1978 Le Man’s race coming in 9th place and again winning the GTP Class. Rondeau in fact continues to be the only driver to have built and driven his own car entered in the Le Mans 24 Hour race.
Rondeau continued his quest to succeed at Le Mans throughout the late 70’s and early 80’s, winning the race in 1980 with the M379, beating closest rivals Porsche.
In 1982 Rondeau set his sites on the World Sportscar Championship, constructing a new car, the Ford backed M482. However the car was found to need further development so Rondeau entered with the M382. Porsche went on to controversially take the Championship after an FIA ruling allowed them to gather points from a privately entered car at Nurburgring.
From that point on Rondeau never achieved the results it previously had, the company finally going into liquidation in 1985. Rondeau himself continued car construction projects including the Formula Ford Chassis and working with Lancia on sportscar prototypes. Jean Rondeau died in December 1985 when his car was hit by a train.
The classic motorsport festival, held annually at Silverstone has announced an Austin A35 event to be raced by teams of celebrities, captained by eminent racing drivers such as Andrew Jordan, Gordon Sheddon and Robb Gravett. Celebrities so far announced are Stan Boardman, Theo Paphitis, Travis drummer Neil Primrose, Dennis Taylor and Wayne Gardner.
The Austin A35’s are the academy cars of the Historic Racing Drivers Club. The event will include qualifying for drivers on the Friday, a parade, qualifying session and race by the celebrities on Saturday and finally on the Sunday a race for the car owners.
A35’s were introduced in 1956 and were a successful saloon racing car throughout the 1950’s. The A35 is still popular today at historic racing events such as Goodwood Revival and the Silverstone Classic.
Porsche celebrated it’s 6th win of the Championships at the weekend in Shanghai, the winners in the Porsche 919 were Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley, with fellow LMP1 team mates Romain Domas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb finishing in 4th position.
The team secured the manufacturer’s title, Toyota taking the drivers title with their teams in second place and third place despite the Toyota TS050 driven by Stephane Sarazzin, Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway suffering two slow punctures.
The paddock then moves to Bahrain for the final round of the Championship on November 19th.