Historic Festival Celebrates Formula Ford’s 50th

Lime Rock Park’s annual Labor Day Weekend Historic Festival (Aug. 29-Sept. 2, 2019) will feature three days of “real vintage race cars” plus the Sunday in the Park concours and the largest “Gathering of the Marques” in the East.

This year's featured race group will be Formula Ford, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the single-seater class which launched the careers of so many Formula 1, Indy Car and sports car drivers.

Skip Barber, Lime Rock Park's President, earned the title of SCCA's first Formula Ford Champion in 1969 as well as in 1970. "Formula Ford was the first equal-opportunity category in road racing," Barber recalled. "It was the first class that you could buy the best car for a reasonable price, and the cars were inexpensive to run. It was a world-wide category, so it was the same all over the world where as Formula Ford was the same in Australia as it was in Sweden. It was all about the driver, not the engineer nor the check-writer; and it was a class where the best man, not the best car, could win. Consequently, it's where the most ambitions and talented drivers started. In the U.S., it started in 1969 and lasted at least 30 years, which is an incredibly long time for a series. Almost all the great drivers in the world drove in the category." 

Formula Ford was the SCCA's most popular and populous class, according to a January 2019 article in SCCA's SPORTSCAR magazine and its sister publication RACER, which documented the 50 year history of Formula Ford in an article headlined, "Don't Call It A Comeback." The article continues, "But, with costs escalating, supplies of its Ford 1,599cc engine drying up, and entries dwindling in the 1990s, Formula Ford was essentially being put out to pasture. Then in 2009, after much deliberation within the class, Formula Ford was renamed 'Formula F,' and a more modern and affordable Honda engine of similar displacement was introduced into the fray."

Here, at Lime Rock Park, the first-ever Formula Ford race took place in May of 1969 during an SCCA Regional race. Lime Rock Park Announcer Greg Rickes shared the below picture from the start of the race. Driving the No. 93 Lotus 61 was Fred Stevenson, who started from the front row amidst theoretically faster cars, and went on to win the Formula Ford class that day. 

Formula Ford Racing Entry

To honor the 50th anniversary of Formula Ford, Lime Rock will hold special anniversary race groups during Historic Festival 37. For Formula Ford drivers, the Labor Day Historics weekend will be packed full, offering:
• two practice and qualifying sessions on Friday;
• two tickets to the Friday-evening Competitors Dinner;
• two FF-only races on Saturday;
• a Saturday night FF party with a panel of significant players;
• the option of participating in the FF category in Sunday's Concours; and
•two races on Labor Day Monday.

Historic and classic FFs will run to Formula Ford Challenge Series rules featuring treaded tires and Ford engines.

Lime Rock Park’s Historic Festival is a major spectator event, the only one in the country that combines a world-class Concours d’Elegance with quality vintage competition on the same property, all on the same weekend. "Extra happenings" include a parade and street fair Thursday evening; a classic car auction Sunday afternoon; a Road Racing Drivers Club luncheon on Sunday; a swap meet; plus dozens of vendors and book signings.

To participate in the races, the entry fee is $700 and registration is available now by visiting http://limerock.com/historicfestivalparticipantinfo. For more information about Historic Festival 37, visit www.limerockhistorics.com.

Formula Ford Saturday Night Dinner & A Panel

Along with the racing, a fun part of the weekend will be the Formula Ford Reunion Party during the Saturday Dinner and a Panel. The party will begin at 6 p.m. in the Hospitality Tent overlooking the track's main straight and feature a light buffet, beer and wine. Reunion Ticket holders will be seated together to enjoy the Panel discussion featuring VIPs from FF's heyday.
 
Those who wish not to race, but would like to participate in the Formula Ford Reunion Party, can purchase a special $50 Reunion Ticket that will include entry and special reunion seating at the Saturday Night Dinner and A Panel as well. For more information on the special reunion ticket, email info@limerock.com.

 

Skip Barber Driving Formula Ford 1969
Pictured Above: Skip Barber, Lime Rock Park President, winning the 1969 Formula Ford National at Lime Rock Park in a Caldwell D9.

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