Herta wins by a whisker in thrilling Rockingham finale

  • Closest finish of the season so far as Colton Herta pips Lando Norris to victory
  • Top two separated by 0.248s at the line, with Dan Ticktum third

ROCKINGHAM 6 SEPTEMBER, 2015 – Rockingham’s bumper BTCC crowd was treated to a nail-biting finish to the MSA Formula Championship weekend with Colton Herta claiming the narrowest of wins over his Carlin team-mate Lando Norris in the live-televised 24th round of the Ford EcoBoost-powered championship.

Norris whittled away Herta’s lead to a quarter-second at the line – the closest finish of the season so far but just enough for the 15-year-old Californian to claim his third win of the year and become the third different MSA Formula winner of the Rockingham weekend. Having wrested the championship lead from Ricky Collard with his Saturday race win, Lando has boosted his advantage over Ricky to 17 points, with six races remaining in which to decide the championship outcome.

Herta converted his pole position advantage into the race lead with a perfect grid getaway, pursued by Dan Ticktum and Sennan Fielding, up from fourth on the grid past Norris. Alas for Sennan he overcooked his entry into the tight Deene hairpin and hooked a wheel on to the grass, next stop the trackside barriers.

Retrieval of Fielding’s stranded JHR Developments car to a place of safety brought out the safety car for two laps, and Herta handled the restart perfectly to build a lead over Ticktum of 1.1s by the end of lap four. Fortec driver Dan was powerless to prevent Colton’s getaway, not least because his mirrors were full of Norris’s car. Lando spent a couple of laps trying to find a way past and into second, achieving the feat at Deene on lap seven. “I only just made it,” said Lando. “For the two laps before I had tried there on the outside but he defended. So I think he thought I’d try around the outside again, and I tried a dummy move and then I just tucked back into the inside. I thought I was going to go straight on but I just managed to get around the corner.”

By the end of lap seven Herta’s lead stood at 4.4s but it rapidly diminished thereafter as Norris claimed fastest lap of the race in his pursuit. Herta was in tyre trouble and as they entered the 14th and final lap his advantage had been cut to just eight-tenths. Norris closed on to his team-mate’s tail in the final corners but Herta hung on for the win. “One more lap and I could have challenged him,” said Lando.

Yards after the finish line Colton’s car coughed and cut out. “I don’t know what the problem was,” said Colton, “and I’m thankful it came after the flag. But my main problem was tyre wear – I had a lot of that! I’m pleased to have won my third race, but I think my first was the sweetest. I’ll still take this one, though.”

Ticktum’s third was under pressure for the final half of the race from Carlin’s Petru Florescu, but a last-lap effort from the Romanian to pass Dan ended up costing Petru a place to the charging MBM driver Toby Sowery. Ticktum crossed the line third overall – and the leading Rookie class finisher – with Sowery fourth (from 10th on the grid) to equal his best result of the season.

Florescu held on to fifth – and Rookie second – at the line ahead of Double R’s Matheus Leist and Fortec man James Pull, seventh his best finish since Donington. Erstwhile championship leader Collard (TRS Arden) did the best he could from 20th and last on the grid, the legacy of his qualifying accident, to make it up to eighth by the finish, with Louise Richardson (Richardson Racing) and Josh Smith (Fortec) competing the top 10. Poor Tarun Reddy was on for a top-10 finish but made a fiery exit on the final lap.

Dan Baybutt placed 11th for JTR, ahead of Jess Hawkins (Falcon) and Enaam Ahmed who, like his TRS Arden team-mate Sandy Mitchell, was summoned to the pits for a drive-through penalty; both men had been running in the top four before their calls came. Mitchell went on to complete the top 15, just behind JHR’s Jack Butel.

Provisional results Round 24 Rockingham 6 September 2015
14 laps / 27.16 miles
1 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin 20m 06.468s / 81.04mph
2 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin +0.248s
3 Daniel TICKTUM / GBR / Fortec +12.825s
4 Toby SOWERY / GBR / MBM +13.503s
5 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin +13.864s
6 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R +14.122s
7 James PULL / GBR / Fortec +14.144s
8 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden +15.506s
9 Louise RICHARDSON / GBR / Richardson +16.477s
10 Josh SMITH / GBR / Fortec +19.574s etc
Fastest lap Norris 1m 19.444s / 87.91mph

Rookie class 1 Ticktum; 2 Florescu; 3 Smith; 4 Daniel BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR; 5 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden; 6 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden; 7 Ameya VAIDYANATHAN / IND / JTR; 8 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / SWB

Provisional championship standings
1 Norris 325 points; 2 Collard 308; 3= Sennan Fielding & Ticktum 260; 5 Herta 253; 6 Leist 209; 7 Mitchell 159; 8 Ahmed 116; 9 Pull 96; 10 Florescu 87 etc
Rookie class 1 Ticktum 426; 2 Ahmed 318; 3 Mitchell 317; 4 Florescu 282; 5 Baybutt 260 etc

Full times

Norris back on top after Ford-powered win number six

  • Lando Norris leads from pole to chequered flag for Carlin to regain championship lead
  • Dan Ticktum second overall and Rookie class victor with Colton Herta P3
  • Back-of-grid battle to eighth for Ricky Collard

ROCKINGHAM 5 SEPTEMBER, 2015 – The overall lead of the Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula Championship changed hands yet again this afternoon, Lando Norris regaining control of the title race after a well-judged victory in Round 22, the Carlin driver leading all the way from pole position to chequered flag.

Erstwhile points leader Ricky Collard made the best of a difficult situation, racing from the very back of the 20-car grid after an accident in qualifying to claim eighth place at the line, and with it a front-row start for tomorrow’s reverse-grid race.

Fifteen-year-old flyer Norris did well to hang on to the lead in the first couple of corners with his team-mate Colton Herta getting a better getaway from P2 on the grid. They drew level through the banked first turn, with Lando managing to nose in front thanks to hugging the inside line into the Deene hairpin. Fortec’s Dan Ticktum managed to impose himself between the duelling Carlin men as they scrabbled their way through Deene, pushing Herta back to third.

Behind, there was a degree of chaos as the pack tried to funnel through the tight right-hander Yentwood, several cars getting tagged. Toby Sowery, in his first race with the MBM team, found himself beached in the gravel while Louise Richardson’s Richardson Racing machine was spun right around – fortunately she was able to get going again, albeit with time lost. Another casualty was Jack Butel (JHR Developments), who retired to the pits with deranged steering. Sowery’s car required retrieval and this prompted a three-lap safety car period.

At the restart Norris held his nerve to maintain the lead and at the end of the fifth lap he led Ticktum by just over a second, with Herta close behind for third. A series of fastest laps from Lando put his victory beyond doubt, and he crossed the line 1.8s clear for his sixth Ford-powered victory of the season. Said Lando: “Colton got a better start than me and was almost completely past me but I had the inside for the hairpin and I managed to get the lead again. After that the car felt really good and quite fast and I was able to manage the race.”

Norris’s getaway was aided by Ticktum’s need to protect his second place from a series of moves by Herta. Colton tried his hardest to outgun Dan into the Deene on several occasions, and Ticktum’s defensive action cost him time to the leader. Herta came under attack himself towards the end from TRS Arden man Enaam Ahmed, who went wheel to wheel with the American into Tarzan on the penultimate lap and was repulsed only by some vigorous defending.

Said Colton: “My initial start was good but things kind of evened out once we got on the banking. I didn’t see Dan with us until the last second, so it was all quite close into the hairpin. Then I had a close race with Enaam – we touched a bit but it was all clean racing.”

Less than five seconds covered the top six at the line – Norris, Ticktum, Herta and Ahmed heading home Matheus Leist’s Double R car and Sennan Fielding’s JHR Developments machine. Ticktum was the Rookie class victor for the 12th time this season with Ahmed second and Carlin’s Petru Florescu, seventh overall, competing the Rookie podium.

Ahmed, who last weekend claimed his maiden car-racing wins in Estonia in the SMP Formula 4 Championship, was pleased with his result but “really disappointed that I couldn’t make my move on Colton stick; I had to try, we were rubbing wheels and it was a good battle. I’m happy with another top five, though…”

Dan Baybutt held on to cross the line eighth for JTR, with Collard – who was being advised from the pit wall where he needed to finish to secure a good starting position for the reverse-grid race – right behind. Said Ricky: “I made sure that my pit board was telling me where I needed to be. My tyres look good, I feel good and I’ve practised my overtaking moves… Now I just have to go and win it tomorrow.” Unfortunately in one way for Ricky his ninth place became eighth post-race when Baybutt was judged to have been out of position at the start and was docked 10 seconds, dropping him to 17th, so what would have been pole for Collard becomes P2 on the grid…

Sandy Mitchell placed ninth for TRS Arden, ahead of Double R’s Tarun Reddy, with Jess Hawkins equalling her season’s best with 11th after a good drive for Falcon Motorsport.

The MSA Formula racers are back on track at Rockingham at 1020 tomorrow for the reverse-grid race with the Rockingham finale, in which Herta will go from the pole, to be televised live on ITV4, at 1550.

Provisional results Round 22 Rockingham 5 September 2015  amended
13 laps / 25.22 miles
1 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin 18m 44.709s / 80.72mph
2 Daniel TICKTUM / GBR / Fortec +1.872s
3 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin +3.491s
4 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden +3.836s
5 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R +4.353s
6 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +4.933s
7 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin +5.767s
8 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden +12.000s
9 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden +13.105s
10 Tarun REDDY / IND / Double R +13.816s etc
Fastest lap Norris 1m 18.898s / 88.51mph Est Rec

Rookie class 1 Ticktum; 2 Ahmed; 3 Florescu; 4 Mitchell; 5 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / SWB; 6 Josh SMITH / GBR / Fortec; 7 Ameya VAIDYANATHAN / IND / JTR; 8 Dan BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR

Grid for Round 23 Mitchell – Collard – Baybutt – Florescu – Fielding – Leist – Ahmed – Herta – Ticktum – Norris – Reddy etc

Provisional championship standings
1 Norris 302 points; 2 Collard 279; 3 Fielding 241; 4 Ticktum 235; 5 Herta 222; 6 Leist 189; 7 Mitchell 143; 8 Ahmed 107; 9 James Pull 89; 10 Tarun Reddy 81 etc
Rookie class 1 Ticktum 383; 2 Ahmed 293; 4 Mitchell 284; 4 Florescu 254; 5 Martins 239 etc

Full times

Win number two for Herta and a Carlin 1-2 in Snetterton finale

  • Pole-to-flag win for Colton Herta ahead of his team-mate Lando Norris
  • Ricky Collard’s ninth sees his championship points lead cut to 10

SNETTERTON 9 AUGUST, 2015 – Colton Herta delivered another inch-prefect performance at Snetterton this afternoon to add a second MSA Formula win to his racing CV. This time the 15-year-old Californian took the lead with a rocketship getaway from pole position ahead of his Carlin team-mate Lando Norris and never looked in danger of coming under serious threat.

Herta’s Ford EcoBoost-powered machine led all the way and crossed the line 2.5s clear of his pursuer, with Fortec’s Dan Ticktum close behind for third.

If Herta had any nerves about starting from the pole resulting from his spin from the lead in yesterday’s Snetterton opener, he did not show them. Colton said after his podium celebrations, and collecting the Ford £1000 winner’s cheque, that he hoped his season had now turned a corner: “I think we’ll do well from now on. I thought we had the speed coming here and so it has proved, and all thanks to Carlin for giving me a great car.”

Norris chased for all he was worth, with Herta unable to extend his advantage beyond 1.5s until the closing laps, but Lando knew he would have to rely on an error from his team-mate if he was to find a way past. “It’s a bit better than yesterday,” said Lando, “because I finished second and not third, but it was a hard race. I just about kept Dan behind but I struggled a bit while Colton has done a great job all weekend. We have a few things to work on before Knockhill.”

Norris came under attack from Ticktum around Riches and Montreal on the opening lap but managed to repulse the move. Thereafter Ticktum was unable to challenge Norris but nonetheless collected his third podium of the Snetterton weekend, and a Rookie class hat-trick. Behind him, the runners in fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh held their position from the first lap to the last, Sennan Fielding (JHR) leading home Petru Florescu (Carlin), Tarun Reddy (Double R) and Enaam Ahmed (TRS Arden).

Championship leader Ricky Collard started from the very back of the grid after technical problems in qualifying and set about the task of clawing his way through the order with typical gusto. Ricky made it into the top nine by lap five but Jack Barlow (MBM) proved immovable from eighth position despite a concerted last-lap attack from Collard. Ricky went to Snetterton with a 25-point championship lead over Norris; he leaves Norfolk with his advantage cut to just 10.

Rafa Martins’ hard work over the weekend paid off with a 10th-place finish for SWB Motorsport, with Jessica Hawkins 11th for Falcon Motorsport and her best finish of the season. JTR drivers Dan Baybutt and James Pull were next up, with Richardson Racing duo Louise Richardson and Ollie Pidgley completing the top 15.

Fortec had one car at the sharp end and two at the rear – Josh Smith 19th after a pit visit with mechanical woes and Toby Sowery retiring with fuel pressure issues. Sandy Mitchell was another pit-caller, with throttle problems, the Scotsman continuing to 20th. Poor Matheus Leist failed to make the grid, his Double R car suffering engine trouble immediately pre-race.

Provisional results Round 18 Snetterton 9 August 2015
11 laps / 32.66 miles
1 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin 20m 54.341s / 93.72mph
2 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin +2.462s
3 Daniel TICKTUM / GBR / Fortec +2.798s
4 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +8.165s
5 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin +8.691s
6 Tarun REDDY / IND / Double R +11.339s
7 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden +17.376s
8 Jack BARLOW / GBR / MBM +22.917s
9 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden +23.079s
10 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / SWB +27.146s etc
Fastest lap Herta 1m 52.879s / 94.68mph

Rookie class 1 Ticktum; 2 Florescu; 3 Ahmed; 4 Martins; 5 Daniel BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR; 6 Darius KARBALEY / GBR / Falcon; 7 Ameya VAIDYANATHAN / IND / JTR; 8 Josh SMITH / GBR / Fortec ; 9 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden

Provisional championship standings
1 Collard 244 points; 2 Norris 234; 3 Ticktum 208; 4 Fielding 178; 5 Matheus Leist 168; 6 Herta 160; 7 Mitchell 107; 8 James Pull 80; 9 Reddy 79; 10 Barlow 72 etc
Rookie class 1 Ticktum 320; 2 Baybutt 224; 3 Florescu 221; 4 Mitchell 218; 5 Ahmed 210 etc

Full times

Herta heals the hurt with Snetterton race victory

  • Carlin man bounces back from first-race disappointment to secure his maiden MSA Formula win
  • Dan Ticktum claims second from 10th on the grid, with Sennan Fielding third

SNETTERTON 9 AUGUST, 2015 – Colton Herta, who yesterday spun away what could have been his maiden MSA Formula win, this morning redeemed himself with a level-headed drive to victory in Round 17 at Snetterton. There were no errors forthcoming today from the 15-year-old American – the youngest in the race – whose Carlin-prepared and Ford EcoBoost-powered car swept into the lead past Jack Barlow after three laps and held on in front to clinch the race by a 3.5-second margin.

Barlow, starting from the pole in the reverse-grid race by dint of his 10th place finish yesterday, led Herta and the rest away from the grid in his MBM-run machine and held on to top spot until they exited Murrays at the end of the third, whereafter he was unable to prevent Herta, who got a better exit from the corner, from accelerating past. Worse was to come for Jack: race officials deemed he had anticipated the start and hit him with a drive-through penalty.

Herta’s hopes of building an advantage where thwarted after contact between the cars of Ameya Vaidyanathan (JTR) and Ollie Pidgley (Richardson Racing) brought out the safety car while Vaidyanathan’s car was retrieved from where it had come to rest. Colton handled the restart perfectly with Barlow (yet to take his penalty) and Double R’s Tarun Reddy in pursuit. Sennan Fielding (JHR) managed to dislodge Dan Ticktum (Fortec) from fourth at the restart but faltered when he found some oil on the circuit before the end of the seventh lap, allowing Ticktum to repass.

Reddy erred at the restart, colliding with the rear of Barlow’s car – which earned the Indian a post-race reprimand – and then again on lap eight, when he spun at Palmer and lost three places. It was good news for Ticktum who, when Barlow peeled off to take his drive-through, was promoted to P2. Dan crossed the line three-and-a-half seconds behind Herta – an impressive result from 10th on the grid – with Fielding completing the podium.

Said winner Colton Herta, who pockets a £1000 Ford prize: “It was quite an upset yesterday but this makes up for it. I should have gotten a better start but I was right there and waiting to see if there would be a mistake, and there was, so I made my move. It’s so hard to pass here that really you need another driver to make a mistake to be able to get by. It’s nice to get my first win under my belt.”

Third, Sennan Fielding: “It was a good race – enjoyable after all the problems we had in testing and qualifying. I got Ticktum at the restart but there was oil down at Palmer and I had to run wide and it caught me out a little bit.”

One of the drives of the race came from Fortec man Toby Sowery, who started 11th on the grid and made steady progress to climb to eighth before the safety car and then gained two more slots on the restart lap at the expense of TRS Arden team-mates Enaam Ahmed and Ricky Collard. Reddy’s spin and Barlow’s drive-through promoted Toby to a season-best fourth at the line. Reddy placed fifth with Collard getting the jump on Ahmed at the restart to secure sixth.

Ahmed crossed the line seventh overall (and second Rookie). “I made a few mistakes at the restart which cost me a couple of places,” said Enaam, “but overall I am happy with the way things have gone for me at the start of the second half of the season. When you come to cars from karts, something needs to click and it seems to have done so…” Ahmed finished ahead of Carlin’s Lando Norris and Jack Butel (JHR), whose ninth place was the best of his season so far. Josh Smith (Fortec) passed Petru Florescu (Carlin) on the final lap to complete the overall top 10 and the Rookie class podium.

Rafa Martins (SWB) and Dan Baybutt (JTR) finished in line astern for 12th and 13th with Louise Richardson (Richardson Racing) recovering well from a third-lap spin to take 14th, just ahead of Darius Karbaley’s Falcon car and JTR’s James Pull, who started from the back after a five-place grid penalty following contact in race one. Jessica Hawkins maintained her 100 per cent finish rate for the Falcon team with 17th, ahead of the penalised Barlow and Pidgley, who visited the pits for repairs after his contact with Vaidyanathan.

Double R’s Matheus Leist and TRS Arden man Sandy Mitchell both suffered mechanical issues and failed to finish.

Provisional results Round 17 Snetterton 9 August 2015
10 laps / 29.69 miles
1 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin 21m 06.852s / 84.36mph
2 Daniel TICKTUM / GBR / Fortec +3.545s
3 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +3.740s
4 Toby SOWERY / GBR / Fortec +5.666s
5 Tarun REDDY / IND / Double R +5.825s
6 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden +6.775s
7 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden +7.367s
8 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin +8.602s
9 Jack BUTEL / GBR / JHR +12.032s
10 Josh SMITH / GBR / Fortec +12.275s etc

Fastest lap Ticktum 1m 52.807s / 94.74mph

Rookie class 1 Ticktum; 2 Ahmed; 3 Smith; 4 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin; 5 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / SWB; 6 Daniel BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR; 7 Darius KARBALEY / GBR / Falcon

Provisional championship standings
1 Collard 242 points; 2 Norris 216; 3 Ticktum 193; 4 Matheus Leist 168; 5 Fielding 166; 6 Herta 134; 7 Sandy Mitchell 106; 8 James Pull 80; 9 Reddy 88; 10 Jack Barlow 68 etc
Rookie class 1 Ticktum 294; 2 Mitchell 216; 3 Baybutt 214; 4 Florescu 203; 5 Ahmed 195 etc

Full results

Herta claims a double pole with Ford power at Snetterton

  • Colton and his Carlin team-mate Lando Norris dominate qualifying in Norfolk
  • Problems blunt the pace of championship leader Ricky Collard

SNETTERTON 8 AUGUST, 2015 – Colton Herta continued his strong run of Snetterton form this morning in qualifying, following up his clean sweep of yesterday’s test sessions with further improvements in pace to claim a double-top at the wheel of his Ford EcoBoost-powered Carlin-prepared chassis.

The 15-year-old Californian will start this afternoon’s 16th round of the MSA Formula Championship from pole position thanks to a 1m 50.398s lap of the three-mile Norfolk circuit, and will go from top spot also in tomorrow’s live-televised Round 18. Herta’s Carlin team-mate Lando Norris will line up behind him for both races. Said first-time pole-sitter Colton: “I guess we just put everything together today. I knew after yesterday that there was more to come from the car and today we found it. I like Snetterton – it has all sorts of corners and seems to suit my driving style.”

Norris, who was 0.363s behind, was pleased for his running mate but frustrated: “It was hard – hard to beat my team-mate… Colton put everything together and was quicker than me in the second half of the lap.”

There was drama and disappointment for championship leader Ricky Collard (TRS Arden), who set third-best time before a gearchange issue brought his retirement from the session at mid-distance. Fortec’s Dan Ticktum knocked him back to fourth overall on the timesheet towards the end of qualifying, but Ricky’s enforced absence from the track cost him dearly in terms of setting a competitive second-fastest time and as a result he will start Round 18 from 22nd and last on the grid.

Fresh from competing in the States in USF2000, Sennan Fielding qualified fifth fastest for the JHR Developments team, ahead of Matheus Leist (Double R) and Petru Florescu (Carlin). TRS Arden’s Enaam Ahmed equalled his best qualifying performance of the season with eighth, with Double R’s Tarun Reddy and Arden’s third man, Sandy Mitchell, completing the top 10.

Technical issues blighted the session for SWB Motorsport’s Rafael Martins, who completed only three laps, JHR’s Jack Butel and JTR’s James Pull, all of whom will go from towards the back this afternoon. The first of the three Snetterton MSA Formula races follows at 1510.

Provisional qualifying times Snetterton 8 August 2015
Grid order for Round 16
1 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin 1:50.398
2 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin 1:50.761
3 Daniel TICKTUM / GBR / Fortec 1:51.086
4 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden 1:51.368
5 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 1:51.547
6 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R 1:51.673
7 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 1:51.700s
8 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden 1:51.854
9 Tarun REDDY / IND / Double R 1:51.877
10 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden 1:51.900 etc

Round 18 grid order (based on second-fastest times): Herta – Norris – Ticktum – Fielding – Leist – Florescu – Mitchell – Josh Smith – Reddy – Ahmed etc

Full times

Herta on top at Snetterton as Collard bids to maintain Ford-powered series lead

  • US star Colton Herta quickest in all three pre-race test sessions
    Herta’s Carlin team-mate Lando Norris second fastest and championship leader Ricky Collard P3

SNETTERTON 7 AUGUST, 2015 – Championship leader Ricky Collard battled back from adversity at Snetterton today in practice for the weekend’s rounds of the Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula Championship. Nineteen-year-old Collard suffered a brake problem in the day’s first session which hampered his progress, but be bounced back in the afternoon to set a time less than three-tenths shy of Norfolk pacesetter Colton Herta.

Herta, the youngest driver in the field, topped all three of the day’s sessions to buoy his hopes ahead of rounds 16, 17 and 18 of the UK’s leading youth-training single-seater series.

Carlin driver Colton’s best lap around the three-mile Snetterton 300 track was achieved in 1m 50.764s, more than a second under the best time achieved there in the March pre-season test. His team-mate Lando Norris ran him closest, with Collard third quickest.

Said Colton: “I’m happy with that and I think there is more time to come. I like this track but it’s going to be tough to pass in the races so pole is going to be important…”

Collard, who takes a 25-point championship lead into the second half of the season, said: “We had a mechanical failure this morning, with a brake calliper, which caused me a bit of a scary moment going into the hairpin, so the second session was our first proper session and we were struggling a bit. The track was changing, and a bit slower, and we had to play catch-up a little.

“The plan for the weekend is to try to increase the points gap. We are in the driving seat now and as long as we don’t do anything silly it should be OK.”

Official qualifying is set for 11am tomorrow ahead of a 1510 start for the championship’s 16th round. There are two further races on Sunday, the second of which will be screened live on ITV4 at 1520.

Leading testing times Snetterton 7 August 2015 (sessions 1/2/3)
1 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin 1:50.878 / 1:51.209 / 1:50.764
2 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin 1:51.526 / 1:51.731 / 1:50.852
3 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden 1:53.009 / 1:51.746 / 1:51.047
4 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden 1:53.020 / 1:51.930 / 1:51.211
5 Daniel TICKTUM / GBR / Fortec 1:51.616 / 1:51.303 / 1:51.668
6 Tarun REDDY / IND / Double R 1:52.551 / 1:52.380 / 1:51.723
7 Jack BARLOW / GBR / MBM 1:53.144 / 1:52.174 / 1:51.730
8 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R 1:52.076 / 1:52.477 / 1:52.021
9 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 1:52.866 / 1:52.346 / 1:52.051
10 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 1:52.154 / 1:52.377 / 1:52.064 etc

Full times

Youngest and among the quickest: Colton Herta

  • IndyCar race-winner’s son not yet 15 but ready to take on the MSA Formula challenge
  • Testing pace and love for wet-weather racing makes him one to watch

13 March, 2015 – He is set to be the youngest driver on the grid for the Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula championship and he’s among the furthest travelled, but surprisingly Colton Herta is one of the most experienced drivers lining up to take part in Britain’s only FIA-accredited Formula 4 series.

Colton does not turn 15 – the minimum age to race one of the new FIA-certified MSA Formula chassis – until five days before the opening meeting of the season at Brands Hatch, yet the Californian, son of IndyCar race winner Bryan Herta, has not only been karting for eight years he also has considerable single-seater knowledge from outings back home.

In 2013 he won the Pacific F1600 Championship thanks to 10 race victories, and was second in the summer series organised by the well known Skip Barber Racing School. Last year he got to grips with the powerful USF2000 car, discovering in the process a useful talent which will stand him in good stead in the UK – he enjoys racing in wet weather. “I am finding the weather here cold and wet and a little different to what I’m used to back home, just north of Los Angeles,” admits Colton, “but it’s not a problem when I’m racing because I love driving in the wet. It’s just something I discovered the first time that I tried it.”

Herta, who will be one of Carlin’s three teenage talents making their bids for the inaugural MSA Formula title, alongside Brit Lando Norris and Romanian Petru Florescu, is impressing with his pace and style in the pre-season collective tests. At Brands Hatch in the pouring rain of the afternoon session Norris and Herta were the only two drivers under the 55-second mark around the Indy circuit, and at Donington Park Colton beat Lando to the honour of fastest time of the day.

He is enjoying the British tracks: “I love them. The traditional British track is nice and narrow, challenging and with every sort of corner, and I’m enjoying the car too. It’s great for what they could do with the budget that they had. It’s definitely a nice car to drive. I have never driven anything with paddle shifts before and I like that attribute. All round it’s a great car to drive.”

Colton’s dad was a visitor to Brands Hatch to watch him test: “My dad surprised me; he just turned up in the garage. I didn’t know he was coming, and it was great to see him. He’ll be back for the first race.”

There’s one aspect of his new life in the UK which Colton is finding tough, and that is keeping up with his schoolwork. “I do on-line schooling on my computer. They set me assignments and I do them when I can… I sometimes have to put in 10-hour days if I have been away testing to get as much done as I can. But you got to do what you got to do…”

Colton and his colleagues don’t have long to wait before they can really get down to business – the live-on-ITV4 opening rounds of MSA Formula – Certified by FIA, Powered by Ford EcoBoost are set to take place over the weekend of 4/5 April.

Herta outpaces rivals at Donington Park

  • Carlin’s US ace Colton pips Arden’s Sandy Mitchell to Donington test time top spot
  • Overheating woes curtail Josh Smith’s exploits

DONINGTON PARK, 5 March, 2015 – The youngest driver yet to sign to contest the Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula championship, Carlin’s Colton Herta, emerged quickest today at Donington Park in the third collective test session of the pre-season.

Colton, son of IndyCar race winner Bryan, was seventh fastest in the morning test session but in the afternoon found nine-tenths of a second around the 1.98-mile Donington National circuit to pip Arden racer Sandy Mitchell to top spot on the timesheets by just two-hundredths of a second.

Herta’s Carlin team-mate Lando Norris was quickest in the morning, by a tenth from Arden’s Ricky Collard, but Norris slipped to third fastest overall in the afternoon despite improving his pace by two-tenths of a second.

Fortec’s Racing Steps Foundation driver Josh Smith suffered a trying day: the Cumbrian youngster ran off track during the morning session and his engine ingested cut grass, overheating as a result. Smith covered only 32 laps as a result, 100 and more less than his rivals were able to get under their belts.

Less than a second covered the top nine runners on track at Donington today. Next week the Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula stars roll into the Cheshire circuit of Oulton Park for further pre-season testing.



Testing times Donington Park 5/3/15 (am/pm)
1 Colton HERTA/USA Carlin MSA Formula-Ford EcoBoost 1:08.990 / 1:08.070
2 Sandy MITCHELL/GBR Arden MSA Formula-Ford EcoBoost 1:08.643 / 1:08.090
3 Lando NORRIS/GBR Carlin MSA Formula-Ford EcoBoost 1:08.411 / 1:08.220
4 Daniel TICKTUM/GBR Fortec MSA Formula-Ford EcoBoost 1:08.819 / 1:08.272
5 James PULL/GBR JTR MSA Formula-Ford EcoBoost 1:08.885 / 1:08.488
6 Daniel BAYBUTT/GBR JTR MSA Formula-Ford EcoBoost 1:08.955 / 1:08.491
7 Ricky COLLARD/GBR Arden MSA Formula-Ford EcoBoost 1:08.514 / 1:08.525
8 Petru FLORESCU/ROU Carlin MSA Formula-Ford EcoBoost 1:09.548 / 1:08.733
9 Rafa MARTINS/BRA SWB MSA Formula-Ford EcoBoost 1:10.044 / 1:08.984
10 Enaam AHMED/GBR Arden MSA Formula-Ford EcoBoost 1:09.978 / 1:09.171 etc

Full TSL times

Carlin signs Colton Herta for MSA Formula title bid

  • IndyCar race winner Bryan’s son set to be youngest on the grid for MSA Formula – Certified by FIA, Powered by Ford EcoBoost
  • Bags second seat with Carlin alongside Lando Norris

Colton Herta

19 December, 2014 – Colton Herta, talented son of IndyCar race winner Bryan, is today confirmed as the second driver on the Carlin team’s squad for MSA Formula, Britain’s accredited FIA Formula 4 championship. Californian Herta looks set to be the youngest driver on the 32-car grid for the exciting new Ford EcoBoost-powered series – he turns 15 just five days before April’s Brands Hatch opening rounds.

Despite his tender years, Colton has extensive competitive experience behind him, including many single-seater races in the USA. He started out aged seven, and claimed his maiden race win in his debut season. Since then he has gone on to collect several karting titles, including the IKF KPV2 Championship, SuperKarts USA TaG Cadet Championship, ProKart Challenge championship and International Kart Federation (IKF) Championship. In 2013 he placed second in the Skip Barber Summer Racing Series and, aged 13, won the Pacific F1600 Championship with 10 race victories. This season he contested USF2000.

“Colton is a real talent,” said Carlin boss Trevor Carlin, “and I think he will be a revelation to many people in Europe that maybe haven’t been aware of his racing before. We’ve seen his pace first hand in one of our test cars and from what we’ve seen Colton could be the next great American racing driver.”

Added Colton: “I’m really excited to be joining Carlin for the MSA Formula season. There is a ton of interest in the series and the competition will be incredibly tough, but I know Carlin will give me a great car and support to learn and develop my skills. So many great drivers have developed their careers with Carlin, this is exactly where I want to be. I can’t wait for the season to start.”

Herta joins 15-year-old Briton Lando Norris, the youngest-ever karting world champion, at Carlin; the identity of the team’s third driver is expected to be revealed soon. Carlin is one of the largest teams outside Formula 1, with race-winning experience in a variety of championships including Formula 3, Porsche Supercup, World Series by Nissan, Formula Renault 3.5, A1GP, GP3 and GP2.

Twelve teams will contest MSA Formula – Certified by FIA, Powered by Ford EcoBoost in 2015, the 30-race championship offering live TV and a support-race slot alongside the British Touring Car Championship. Arden Motorsport, Double R Racing, Falcon Motorsport, Fortec Motorsport, JHR Developments, JTR, MBM Motorsport, Richardson Racing, Scorpio Motorsport, SWB Motorsport and Team Pyro will join Carlin on the grid, their drivers bidding to win a slice of the £30,000 cash prize fund and a Hankook-provided prize for the champion of a test drive with a leading FIA Formula 3 team.