Classic Formula Ford 1600 class structure overview and brief history (U.K.)
Currently (2005) there are 2 classes competing for honours within the Classic Formula Ford 1600 Championship :-
Formula Ford 1600 quickly became popular after its inception in 1967. It aimed to promote driver talent by providing a low cost entry into motorsport - the original rules stating that cars were "Not to exceed £1000 retail complete in running order" ! The cars were single seater, open wheel, open bodywork racers and originally ran on treaded road tyres, only later was a special "control" racing tyre specified (although still retaining a tread pattern). Aerodynamic aids (wings) were not allowed. Although costs were kept down by specifying a basically standard 1600cc Ford overhead valve engine (originally the 1500cc engine from the Cortina G.T.) and space-frame chassis construction as opposed to the more expensive monocoque, it was not long before the cost limit of £1000 was dispensed with.
As development of the cars continued apace, lap times dropped and inevitably costs began to climb. There soon arose a demand from owners of older cars for a championship in which they could once again compete for victory on level terms with a limited budget. Thus in 1979 the pre-'74 Championship was born to cater for cars built prior to 1974. It was joined in 1984 by the '74/78 Championship and a year later by the Formula E Championship which cunningly excluded modern machinery by specifying "outboard" suspension (as opposed to the use of more modern rocking arms/push/pull rods acting on springs and shock absorbers within the bodywork) and making it effectively a pre-'80 category. This category had a particularly strong following in the north of England where most of its competition rounds were contested.
The '74/78 Championship was extended in 1991 to cover cars made and raced before the end of 1980, being renamed the '74/80 Championship in the process. These 3 championships (pre-'74, 74/80 and Formula E) thrived in parallel until 1994 when they were amalgamated under the Classic Formula Ford banner by the Classic Formula Ford 1600 Register - pre'74 cars racing as class A and pre-'82 cars as class B.
From 2004, the Classic champioship has been run by the BARC with backing from Universal Racing Services, and is one of the most cost effective forms of single seater racing with lap times only fractionally slower than modern FF1600's. In recent years Class B (for 74-81 cars) has been stronger numerically, but some front running Class A cars are still quite capable of winning races overall. Most of our races are run at BARC's Classic Package events together with URS FF2000 which caters for similar cars but fitted with 2 litre 'Pinto' engines, wings and slick tyres.
The Historic Sports Car Club also caters for older Formula Fords and runs a championship for cars built prior to 1971 with the emphasis on originality (resulting in higher costs than classics). More modern FF1600's take part in the various regional series (North West, Midland, Castle Combe, etc) and the new for 2005 MSV championship. Most of these events have classes for older cars, so 'classic FF's can also be used in these events plus the 'one off' events at the end of the season (Combe Carnival, FF Festival and Walter Hayes Trophy). The last few years has seen renewed interest in FF1600 racing generally, as people realise it provides affordable and exciting racing for all.