The world’s most successful racing car category will undergo its most radical upgrade since its launch in the late ‘60s, with the introduction of a new 1.6 litre Ford Fiesta road-car engine and front and rear aerodynamic aids. Ford has announced a new engine and aero package for Formula Ford in 2006 to complement its five-year financial commitment to Formula Ford.
“Ford’s commitment to the future of Formula Ford in Australia is reflected in the package we are presenting to you today,” Ford Motorsport Operations Manager Stephen Kruk said. “The new look Formula Fords will contest the Australian Championship title from 2006.”
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“The driving force behind the change is to maintain Formula Ford as Australia’s premier driver development category.
“Formula Ford is the stepping stone from karts to higher echelons of the sport, and we felt it was important to give our young drivers experience of the technical factors they will encounter as they climb the motor sport career ladder.
“This announcement clearly gives something back to the sport and gives young Australians the opportunity to show their talents and progress a career in motor sports.
“The introduction of the new engine will significantly curtail re-building and maintenance costs, which in turn, makes the series more accessible to more competitors,” Kruk added.
Chairman of the Formula Ford Association, Mr. Peter Wollerman, praised Ford’s on-going commitment and assistance with the implementation of the category’s new direction.
“It’s fantastic that Ford share the enthusiasm and passion that we harbour for our Formula,” Wollerman said.
“Our vision to maintain Formula Ford as an accessible category for young motorsport competitors is a common one, and would not be possible without their assistance,” he added.
The ‘new look’ Formula Ford for 2006 will be an aggressive looking open-wheel racecar with fixed front and rear wings.
Formula Ford’s new engine, derived from the recently released European built Ford Fiesta, is currently being configured for race use by a team of Ford engineers headed by Ford Racing Engineer Steve Hoinville. Several key Formula Ford engine builders are also assisting the development process.
Throttled to 110 - 115 BHP, the aluminium construction of the Fiesta engine makes it one of the lightest, most compact and efficient petrol engines produced in Europe. The engine features a double overhead cam design, with valves at an included angle of 42°. Cylinder size is 79 mm x 81.4 mm giving total volume of 1596cc. Fuel injection system incorporates injectors with a new two-hole design. These deliver a twin-spray pattern directly toward the twin inlet ports of each cylinder for more spray penetration and less wall wetting.
The Confederation of Australian Motorsport (CAMS) also welcomed the impending changes to Formula Ford, and issued the following announcement: “CAMS is delighted Ford and the Formula Ford Association have taken the next step to develop the formula. Formula Ford has been a vital conduit for showcasing young Australian driving talent," Chief Executive Officer Dr Rob Nethercote said. “History has shown the category produces outstanding drivers for the elite levels of open-wheel and other forms of racing, including V8 Supercars. It's great to see Formula Ford moving in a progressive direction which will ensure it continues to take its place in the development of tomorrow's champions," he added.
The Formula Ford Association’s intention is for all national-series Formula Ford competitors to run with the new engine in 2006, while Ford’s Kent engine, mainstay of the category for the past 35 years, will remain eligible for Formula Ford competition at a state level beyond 2006.