James Pull fires opening salvo in Ford MSA Formula

  • Carlin lockout at the top of the time sheets, with entire field covered by just a second.
  • Double R Racing’s Zane Goddard leads the chasing pack.
  • Quinn bounces back from difficult morning.

01 April, 2016 – Carlin dominated proceedings during today’s official Ford British F4 testing at Brands Hatch with Max Fewtrell and James Pull topping the morning and afternoon sessions respectively. It was the latter’s time which caught the eye as the fastest of the day.

A 45.954s lap from Pull was enough to ensure he grabbed the headlines, but only just as team-mates Fewtrell and Devlin DeFrancesco finished the test less than five hundredths of a second away.

Said Pull: “I’m really pleased with how today went; it was all about getting a good lap hooked up. Qualifying is going to be so close. It will be the most important session of the weekend because the track isn’t the easiest to overtake on, especially with all the drivers so evenly matched.”

DeFrancesco added: “There are so many positives that we can take from my day, James’ day and Max’s day. We can combine all the positives and everything we have learned to put together perfect qualifying runs tomorrow.”

Meanwhile a buoyant Max Fewtrell commented: “It’s great to be able to carry this momentum throughout the sessions today after such a strong pre-season. I’ve had a look at the data and there’s definitely a few things I can do to go even faster.”

Zane Goddard ended the collective test a month ago at the Kent circuit in second place, but had to settle for fourth today. Nevertheless, it was a strong showing from the Australian who led the charge from the rest of the field.

Fortec Motrosports’ Alex Quinn flew the flag for the Racing Steps Foundation, bouncing back from a morning session with limited mileage to end the day in fifth.

Said Quinn: “The afternoon session went really well. We knew as a team we had to work hard and we did a great job. We’ve got loads of good data now and we go into the rest of the weekend with plenty of confidence.”

TRS Arden’s star performer of the day was undoubtedly Rafael Martins, who leapt up the order having improved by almost a second in the afternoon compared to his morning’s efforts. His team-mate, Red Bull Junior Team driver Luis Leeds, had a solid test in eighth.

TRS Arden team manager Ben Bloomfield said: “The field is arguably even more competitive than last year. You can quite easily make a case for at least seven or eight drivers being real title contenders and that includes our drivers who we intend to get off to a flying start this weekend.”

With the field covered by just a second the scene is set for a scintillating weekend of Ford EcoBoost powered racing.

The action at Brands Hatch starts at 9.00am tomorrow with qualifying followed by two races. The final race of the weekend will be broadcast live on ITV4 at 14.55 on Sunday.

Leading testing times Brands Hatch Indy 1 April 2016 (am/pm)
1 James PULL / GBR / Carlin 46.300 / 45.954
2 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin 46.176 / 45.982
3 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin 46.376 / 45.994
4 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R 46.394 / 46.015
5 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec 48.429 / 46.054
6 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / TRS Arden 46.910 / 46.056
7 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 46.933 / 46.073
8 Luis LEEDS / AUS / TRS Arden 46.643 / 46.118
9 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / TRS Arden 46.365 / 46.131
10 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 46.241 / 46.137 etc

Full times

DRIVER NEWS: James Pull confident of title challenge ahead of Ford MSA Formula Championship opener

Supplied by driver’s PR

DRIVER NEWS 29 March, 2016 – James Pull is confident of challenging for the title with the second season of Ford British F4 just days away.

The 16-year-old will race in Carlin colours for the first time in the season’s opener at Brand’s Hatch this weekend.

With plenty of work going on behind the scenes – while posting some quick times in testing – he is feeling confident of making a major impression.

Pull believes the experience gained in the series last season coupled with the move to the reigning champion team has put him in a great position.

He said: “The team has been brilliant. They are really professional about everything they do. I feel as though I’ve learnt so much, already.

“We have looked very fast in testing and with last year’s experience behind the wheel and of the tracks, we think we have a real chance of winning the Championship this season.

“I’m feeling excited and confident and now just can’t wait to get going.”

James – an English driver, born in Singapore, now living in Hertfordshire – began his single-seater debut season with JTR, finishing on the podium four times at Donington Park and Brands Hatch (Indy).

He moved to Fortec later in the year crossing the finish line in sixth place in his final race, netting him a very respectable tenth place overall in the Championship.

Since moving to Carlin the racer has been working hard with performance specialists ADD Motorsports. He has been put on a tailored nutrition, fitness and training programme.

Pull added: “We have been working on lots of things in pre-season with ADD Motorsports, such as my race planning.

“This, along with all the work I have been doing on my nutrition and fitness has left me feeling in brilliant shape.

“It’s been a great pre-season and I feel really happy with how things have gone, I hope I can now put it all into practice when the racing starts.”

Ford British F4 – Certified by FIA, Powered by EcoBoost roars back into life on 2/3 April at Brands Hatch. It is the sole single-seater support series to the British Touring Car Championship, enjoying live TV coverage and bumper raceday spectator attendance.

Ross Martin overcomes Carlin’s boys in blue in final Ford MSA Formula test

  • Allan McNish mentored Ross Martin steals Carlin’s thunder.
  • All four of Carlin’s drivers maintain ominously fast pace.

24 March, 2016 – Fortec Motorsports’ Ross Martin shone in the final collective pre-season test for the Ford EcoBoost-powered series yesterday; setting the fastest time of the entire two day test at Rockingham.

Despite the continued dominance of Carlin, the day belonged to Formula Kart Stars champion Ross Martin. The young Scot appeared to find his feet around the Rockingham circuit on day two, posting his quickest time of 1:18.218 in the morning and never looking back.

Fortec team manager Dan Mitchell said: “Ross managed to get through his entire test programme in the morning and was extremely happy with the car so elected not to post a time in the afternoon.”

Snapping at the heels of Martin on the timesheets was Carlin’s quartet. The familiar face of Max Fewtrell, undoubtedly one of the stars of testing, once again played a prominent role. The 16 year-old ending the day second, just a tenth and half away from Martin.

Teammates Petru Florescu (fastest in the afternoon session) and Devlin DeFrancesco followed in the times.

TRS Arden’s Luis Leeds and JHR Developments’ Sennan Fielding joined the fray, aiming to ensure that the Carlin drivers didn’t have things completely their own way.

Leeds succeeded, posting a time of 1:18.464 in the afternoon which put him fifth overall and ahead of Tuesday’s quickest driver James Pull.

Meanwhile, Fielding was remarkably consistent throughout and found himself lying in eighth when the chequered flag fell.

Young Racing Driver Academy driver Ayrton Simmons also impressed for TRS Arden. He showed significant improvement as the day progressed, bettering his quickest time of the morning by over six tenths of a second in the afternoon.

With collective pre-season testing having concluded, all attention turns to Brands Hatch where the inaugural rounds of the Ford British F4 season will take place on 2/3 April.

Leading testing times Rockingham 23 March, 2016 (am/pm)
1 Ross MARTIN / GBR Fortec / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.218 / No time set
2 Max FEWTRELL / GBR Carlin / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.377 / 1:18.852
3 Petru FLORESCU / ROM Carlin / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.571 / 1:18.405
4 Devlin DeFRANCESCO / CAN Carlin / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.547 / 1:18.438
5 Luis LEEDS / AUS Arden / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.890 / 1:18.464
6 James PULL / GBR Carlin / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.471 / 1:18.490
7 Alex QUINN / GBR Fortec / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.823 / 1:18.800
8 Sennan FIELDING / GBR JHR / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.810 / 1:18.861
9 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR Arden / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:19.448 / 1:18.816
10 Rafael MARTINS / BRA Arden / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.865 / 1:19.132 etc.

James Pull leads the way for Carlin in Ford MSA Formula test at Rockingham

  • Carlin’s quartet dominate day one of testing at Rockingham.
  • Max Fewtrell and Alex Quinn maintain strong testing form from Donington Park.

22 March, 2016 – The penultimate day of collective pre-season testing at Rockingham circuit was dominated by Carlin’s super-talented array of drivers, with the experienced James Pull taking top spot on the timesheet.

Pull, who raced for both JTR and Fortec Motorsports in the series last season, has taken little time to settle into his new surroundings at Carlin. He put in an assured performance at the Rockingham, where he already has a wealth of experience behind the wheel of Ford EcoBoost-powered machinery.

The 16 year-old was quickest of Carlin’s driver quartet in the morning session, but it was in the afternoon where he really came into his own, posting a time of 1:18.249 that would not be beaten.

The fastest man from last week’s test at Donington Park was once again a key player in proceedings. Max Fewtrell ended the day in second, less than half a tenth off of the time set by his teammate.

Fortec Motorsports’ Alex Quinn and TRS Arden’s Rafael Martins were the only drivers to break the Carlin stranglehold at the top; the former finishing third and the latter fifth.

When the chequered flag finally fell Martins found himself sandwiched between Carlin’s Devlin DeFrancesco, as well as the recently re-signed Petru Florescu.

Florescu provided additional excitement in the morning when carrying a little too much speed that sent him through the gravel and into a barrier at Pif-Paf, ultimately damaging the front of his car.

The day’s biggest improver was Richardson Racing’s Ben Sturge, improving upon his morning time by over a second in the afternoon. This proved to be enough to see him break into the top ten by close of play.

Testing resumes at Rockingham tomorrow with the 2016 Ford British F4 season launch also taking place. Today’s drivers will be joined by the likes of TRS Arden’s Luis Leeds and JHR Developments’ Sennan Fielding who will no doubt be eager to knock the Carlin drivers off their perch.

Testing times Rockingham 22 March, 2016 (am/pm)
1 James PULL / GBR Carlin / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.699 / 1:18.249
2 Max FEWTRELL / GBR Carlin / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:19.191 / 1:18.283
3 Alex QUINN / GBR Fortec / Ford British F4-EcoBoost/ 1:18.436 / 1:18.736
4 Devlin DeFRANCESCO CAN / Carlin / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:19.123 / 1:18.518
5 Rafael MARTINS / BRA Arden / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:18.992 / 1:18.706
6 Petru FLORESCU / ROM Carlin / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:19.209 / 1:18.731
7 Ross MARTIN / GBR Fortec / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:19.306 / 1:18.838
8 Zane GODDARD / AUS Double R / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:19.196 / 1:19.201
9 Nicolai KJAERGAARD / DEN Fortec / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:20.432 / 1:19.323
10 Ben STURGE / GBR Richardson Racing / Ford British F4-EcoBoost / 1:22.902 / 1:21.656 etc.

Devlin DeFrancesco signs for Carlin for MSA Formula 2016

Devlin Defrancesco (CAN)
  • Ganassi protégé to be championship’s first Canadian driver

10 DECEMBER, 2015 – Canadian teenager Devlin DeFrancesco has been named as Carlin’s second MSA Formula Championship driver for 2016. DeFrancesco, who turns 16 in January, will line up in one of the champion team’s Ford EcoBoost-powered machines alongside Briton James Pull, as well as a further two yet-to-be-named running mates.

Devlin has spent 2015 in the UK as part of the Carlin Academy, preparing for his first full season of single-seater action. He has a successful background in karting, winning the Canadian National Junior Championship in 2013 as well as finishing second in the CSAI Italian Championship and third overall in the CIK FIA European Championship.

A 2014 kart accident left DeFrancesco with a fractured wrist which ruled him out of a full time race programme this year. During his rehabilitation, he tested alongside Carlin’s 2015 MSA Formula drivers as well as competing in selected rounds of the Ginetta Junior Championship.

Said Devlin: “It is a great honour for me to continue with the Carlin ‘family’. So far it has been an awesome year, with a pole position at Rockingham. I’m really looking forward to 2016 and can’t wait to be in a racecar again. I need to thank everyone who has supported me for making this happen.”

“Devlin is a welcome addition to the race team,” commented Trevor Carlin, “although he has been part of Carlin for a season already. We’ve seen him come a very long way over the last year and he has potential that has obviously been recognised by us and the Ganassi Racing Teams. I look forward to seeing what he can achieve on track in 2016.”

The Toronto born teenager is the first member of Generation Ganassi, a programme established by the legendary Ganassi Racing Teams to identify 13-18-year-old drivers as ‘ones to watch’ in the world of motorsport. DeFrancesco and his counterparts will be offered professional guidance to aid their growth within the sport, including working with a current Ganassi driver who will act as mentor.

MSA Formula – Certified by FIA, Powered by Ford EcoBoost is Britain’s official version of the FIA’s Formula 4 concept and was introduced this season as a supporting series to the British Touring Car Championship, enjoying live TV coverage and bumper raceday spectator attendance. The scheduled opening rounds are set for Brands Hatch next April.

Champion team Carlin signs James Pull for 2016 MSA Formula squad

  • Carlin’s first signing of four is experienced MSA Formula racer
  • Team expects Pull to be a championship contender

3 DECEMBER, 2015 – Sixteen-year-old James Pull has been named by reigning MSA Formula champion team Carlin as the first driver for its four-car squad of Ford EcoBoost-powered machines for the coming season of competition in the UK’s leading junior single-seater series.

Singapore-born and Hertfordshire-based Pull has a season’s experience of MSA Formula under his belt already, thanks to podium-scoring appearances for the JTR team at the start of 2015 and late-season outings in a Fortec car. He finished his maiden full season of car racing in 10th place overall in the championship.

“I’m very excited about the season ahead,” says James. “I had some good results last year in my first season and I know we can build on that in 2016 to put together a real championship challenge. I’ve already completed some tests with the team over the last few weeks which have gone really well. We’ll be working hard between now and the first race in 2016 and already I can’t wait for the racing to get underway.”

Carlin team principal Trevor Carlin added: “We’re very pleased that James has joined the team. We could see last year that he had a good turn of speed and lots of potential. We expect to see James as a championship contender in 2016. He has been very quick and very professional in the small amount of testing we’ve done with him already.”

Carlin drivers Lando Norris and Colton Herta between them claimed a total of 12 MSA Formula race wins in 2015, with Norris taking the title FIA Formula 4 Champion of Great Britain and Herta finishing third overall in the championship.

MSA Formula – Certified by FIA, Powered by Ford EcoBoost is Britain’s official version of the FIA’s Formula 4 concept and was introduced this season as a supporting series to the British Touring Car Championship, enjoying live TV coverage and bumper raceday spectator attendance. The 2016 opening rounds are scheduled for Brands Hatch in April.

DRIVER NEWS: James Pull delighted to end season with a strong performance

Report supplied by driver’s PR

DRIVER NEWS 13 OCTOBER, 2015 – James Pull was delighted to wrap up his single-seater debut season with a strong performance. Having turned 16 last week, the Fortec driver delivered a podium challenging sixth-place finish at Brands Hatch in the final race of the MSA Formula Championship’s inaugural year.

It left the ADD Motorsports-supported racer in 10th place overall in the championship after four podiums during the season and some polished performances that cemented his reputation as one to watch for the future.

He now hopes the experience will lay the foundations for the competition that comes next in his driving career. He said: “It was great to finish with a bit of a bang. I wanted to end the season on a high in the same way it began, so it was really pleasing. I came into my rookie season in cars with a plan to learn and develop myself as a driver and I feel what I have learnt – even on this last weekend – goes beyond even my expectations. Now I will push on from here and be challenging for whatever championship we decide on for 2016.”

James – the English driver born in Singapore and now living in Herts – was fast in both practice and qualifying. Despite it being his first outing at Brands Hatch GP, he was seventh fastest on both his qualifying laps.

Starting sixth in his first race he started very well and held his position for the first half of the race. But then he and another driver made contact, losing him vital seconds and leaving him in tenth place at the finish line.

He got off to another good start in the second race and from his 10th place position, finished ninth. But he saved his best for last, finishing sixth in the final race on Sunday, but in a chasing group where third to seventh place were neck-and-neck and could have gone any way.

He added: “I wanted to be more aggressive this weekend and it really made a difference. I felt I got a lot out of it. My race craft has improved significantly and I have to thank the guys at Fortec for all their hard work in this area.”

Reflecting on his exciting season and looking to the future, James added: “I’ve really enjoyed this season, the four podiums at Donington Park and Brands Hatch (Indy) are the highlights. I would like to thank the guys at JTR for that. The season started really well and although mid-season was tough, it has ended positively. I’m really pleased with tenth place overall considering this was my first season in cars. I want to thank my family and teams for all their support over the year. I plan to can keep moving in the right direction next season.”

DRIVER NEWS: James Pull hopes to finish season on a high after ‘crazy’ weekend

Report supplied by driver’s PR

DRIVER NEWS 29 SEPTEMBER, 2015 – James Pull hopes to finish the season as he started it, after a ‘crazy’ weekend in the MSA Formula Championship. The 15-year-old Fortec driver had a difficult time at Silverstone with gearbox issues, leaving him unable to compete at the levels he would have liked.

But as the championship moves on to Brands Hatch for the final weekend, he is determined to stay positive and aims to end the season on a high. The ADD Motorsports-supported racer said: “It was a pretty crazy weekend. One of the most dramatic I have ever been involved in. Results weren’t great for us, but even with the gearbox issues I was having, I could have finished with a podium in the final race with a bit more luck.

“The team did everything they could to help sort out the issues, but it was just one of those things. I was a lot more aggressive this weekend in my approach and I came away with plenty of positives.”

After a good practice session featuring pacey times, the team was hoping qualifying would be the same. But after a change in set-up, James began experiencing issues with the gearbox and he could only qualify in 14th and 15th place, which put him on the back foot for the remainder of the weekend.

Starting 15th, the English driver, born in Singapore, now living in Herts, managed to get up to tenth by the chequered flag in the first race. He started tenth on the reverse grid of the second race, but despite a decent start kept losing time through the same gearbox issues and finished 17th.

The third race was the most dramatic, with crashes and incidents leading to just 10 drivers finishing. James started in 14th and did well to avoid a couple of crashes ahead of him.

Due to a mixture of the chaotic nature of the race and some good driving, he made his way up to fourth place. But with two laps to go, with one mirror folded down, he was unable to sight another driver coming through on a corner. They collided and James was left with a broken rear suspension and a DNF.

He added: “To be in fourth place and to go out like that was very disappointing. After the last few months it would have meant a lot to have the chance of a podium. We now head to Brands Hatch which is one of my favourite tracks. Hopefully, we can finish the season how we started it.”

DRIVER NEWS: James Pull finishes weekend strongly in MSA Formula

James Pull / Fortec

Report supplied by driver’s PR

DRIVER NEWS 9 SEPTEMBER, 2015 – James Pull was happy to finish the weekend with a flourish in the MSA Formula Championship. The 15-year-old Fortec driver placed seventh in the final race, despite tyre-wear carrying over from an earlier crash.

It left the ADD Motorsports-supported racer knowing he could have finished much higher and confident he can end the season in the best possible fashion. He said: “The weekend was a bit up and down, but I’m happy to take the positives out of it. We were a bit unlucky to get hit in the first race and it left the balance out which meant the tyres wore down really quickly. Although the team fixed the car, the tyres were still a problem later on, so to finish seventh in the final race proved we could have been finishing a lot higher. It’s given me a lot of confidence going forward.”

James, born in Singapore, now living in Herts, had a good practice, but made up a lot of time by qualifying, to finish ninth and ninth. But on the second corner of the first race the brakes of the driver behind went, leaving him driving into the front wheel of James and upsetting the balance and tracking of his car. It meant the tyres wore quickly and he could only finish 16th.

Starting near the back in the second race, he was hit again on the first lap and this time his rear wheel was pushed in. That, coupled with using the same worn tyres, left him struggling to compete again and he finished 14th.

But starting in ninth again in the final race, the driver had his best outing of the weekend. Despite racing again with the same earlier problems, he got off to a good start and kept his cool to finish seventh. He added: “There was nothing we could do about the tyre problems, it was just one of those things. But I have come away from the weekend pretty happy overall. In the last race I was competing and holding my own with all the top guys, despite the issues that were holding me back. Now I can’t wait to get going again and I really hope I can end the season on a high over the next few weekends.”

DRIVER NEWS: James Pull has strong debut with new team

James Pull

Report supplied by driver’s PR

DRIVER NEWS 25 AUGUST, 2015 – James Pull was pleased to put in his best performance since Donington in the MSA Formula Championship. The 15-year-old driver’s switch to Fortec earlier in the month paid dividends as he drove with renewed confidence and purpose at the Knockhill Racing Circuit in Scotland.

And the ADD Motorsports-supported racer was rewarded with a sixth place finish in Race 1 – and the prospect of further improvement as he gets to grips with his new car and team.

The English driver, born in Singapore and now living in Herts, said: “We are looking to the future and felt that a move to Fortec at this time was the best option for me. They are a highly successful team and I am enjoying working with them. I would like to thank JTR for all they have done in helping me get four podiums so far and wish them all the best for the rest of the season.

“I was really excited going into Knockhill, as it was a new challenge, a new team and a new car and I was pleased with the progress we made. The pace was there all weekend and it was great to finish so strongly in the first race.”

James used the practice sessions to get familiar with the new car and the more confident he got, the faster his times were. The driver was running fourth in qualifying before losing some of the momentum when a red flag came out on his flying lap.

But he was happy to qualify in seventh place for the first race and ninth for the final race. The seventh place, again, his best qualifying position since Donington.

James didn’t get off to the best of starts in the first race – understandably as he was still getting to grips with Fortec’s different techniques. But he kept improving as the race went on to take sixth place at the end.

The reverse grid for the second race saw James start third. Unfortunately, while in fifth position and with just five minutes to go, he attempted to overtake another driver who had gone off the track just as he was trying to get back on at a slower speed. This squeezed James onto the grass, off the track and into the barriers.

Despite valiant work by the team, James was unable to compete in the third race due to damage to the car from the incident in the second race. Even after the disappointment of the last two races, James was in high spirits and confident of improving further with his new team.

He added: “The incident in Race 2 was disappointing, but I’m extremely happy with the team. I’m confident things will keep going in the right direction at Rockingham and I plan to be competing for podiums there and for the rest of the season.”