After a successful “warmup” race meeting last weekend at Donington Park and three days of testing this week at Brands Hatch, both Jake Craig and Colin Mullan feel well prepared as they head into this weekend’s Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch.
Craig, 20, from Mission Viejo, Calif., and Mullan, 16, from Danville, Calif., are the latest in a long line of talented young American drivers to take part in one of the most prestigious Formula Ford events of them all. The first-ever Formula Ford Festival was held at Snetterton in 1972, with future Formula 1 racer and Indy 500 champion Danny Sullivan among those competing for top honors. Four years later, in 1976, the event moved to Brands Hatch which has been its home ever since.
Jimmy Vasser, the inaugural Team USA Scholarship winner, was the first to represent the program at the Festival in 1990, while fellow Team USA driver Josef Newgarden, who went on to win the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series title, became the first and so far only American winner of the event in 2008. This year, as they have every year since, the pair of patriotically liveried Ray chassis will be fielded by Cliff Dempsey Racing.
The famed “Indy Circuit” at Brands Hatch, some 30 miles southeast of London, is only 1.2 miles in length but with its variety of corners and characteristic elevation change will provide a stern challenge for over 70-plus competitors.
“Brands Hatch is a phenomenal track,” said Craig, who has proved to be one of the fastest contenders in testing. “My favorite corner is definitely Turn 1, Paddock Hill Bend, because of the huge elevation drop.
“I’m happy with the way testing has gone. I’ve improved every session and I’m looking forward to getting in race mode tomorrow. I feel very confident going into the weekend. I ended the final practice day with good pace. The drivers here at the Festival are so fast, so it’s all about maximizing every little bit of the car set up and driving. I would love to bring home a podium for Team USA this weekend. It would mean a lot to me to get a good result at such a prestigious event.”
Both Craig and Mullan have impressed the Formula Ford regulars with their pace and versatility.
“Testing at Brands Hatch has been going really well,” added Mullan. “Although the track is small, it has a lot of intricacies that are hard to get right each time. Having lots of practice has really helped us become more consistent and feel very prepared for the racing tomorrow.
“Being able to race in the Formula Ford Festival is an eye-opening experience. With such a high level of competition, it’ll be a difficult and very close race. The elimination style progression puts a lot of pressure on the drivers to finish up front every time. With plenty of practice under our belt, I’m positive that we’ll be up in the standings.”
The field has been split into three heat races, with Craig assigned to Heat 2 and Mullan to Heat 3. Their 15-lap races are scheduled, respectively, for 4:20 (11:20 a.m. ET) and 4:50 local time ((11:20 a.m. ET)) tomorrow (Saturday), following 15-minute practice sessions earlier in the day. The schedule is subject to change. Live timing and scoring will be available at https://www.tsl-timing.com/event/184232.