Red Bull Junior driver Leeds given wings as he flies to maiden British F4 victory

  • TRS Arden’s Luis Leeds takes historic first victory for himself and the Red Bull Junior driver programme in British F4.
  • Caroline, Monger and Schreiner also starred with phenomenal drives through the pack.
  • Aryton Simmons records first Rookie class win on debut race weekend.

THRUXTON 8 MAY, 2016 – Luis Leeds finally broke his victory duck in scintillating fashion in round eight of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford. It was TRS Arden’s first victory of the season and the first for the esteemed Red Bull Junior driver programme in the series. In a dramatic race, Jamie Caroline came home second, followed closely by Billy Monger and Carrie Schreiner – all three drivers putting in inspired performances to battle through the field.

Leeds took no prisoners from third on the grid during the opening lap, pulling off a daring move around the outside of pole man Jack Butel, having quickly dispatched James Pull.

With a handful of second place finishes to his name already this season, Leeds was determined not to be the bridesmaid again and never looked like relinquishing the lead. He was able to build an advantage out in front at both times of asking following two safety car restarts as the drama unfolded behind him.

JHR’s Billy Monger astounded spectators, climbing from 18th to fifth in the opening laps and then benefitted from DeFrancesco and Butel’s collision to move up to third and claim his first British F4 podium. He chased home Jamie Caroline who himself scythed his way from tenth on the grid to second, avoiding the chaos and expertly defended from Monger and Carrie Schreiner in the closing stages.

As the three of them duked it out, it afforded Leeds more breathing room out front on his way to the chequered flag and a win that could prove pivotal to his championship challenge.

Said an emotional Leeds: “I knew it was going to be close at the start and I knew if I was able to brake later into the first corner I could go around the outside to take the lead and that’s what happened really. I then focused on putting in good laps to try to build a gap. It was a little frustrating as the safety car kept on wiping out my gap to the cars behind, but I was still able to control the race.

“I’ve been working so hard and full credit to Arden for setting up the car and turning things around after a difficult qualifying. I hope this is the first win of many. My goal is the championship this year and a win like this helps a lot.

“Dr Marko has given me this incredible opportunity to compete in this series and be part of the Red Bull Junior driver programme. I’m doing my best every day to repay his faith and try to win races. I’ve dedicated my whole year to this. I’ve left all my friends and family in Australia to pursue what I want I’ve wanted to do all my life. It’s Mother’s day in Australia so I think this is the best present for my Mum back home.”

Commented Jamun Racing’s Caroline: “I’ve always been at good at starts and on cold tyres. I learnt that in karting, so I’ve always had the upper hand on people in this aspect. I have so much confidence in myself and the car. I’m always pushing the limits and although there’s times when it might not come off that’s just me and I’ll keep trying. I managed to fend of Billy towards the end. It was a lot of fun with the two of us battling just like we used to in karting. I’ve had two second places this season so the win is definitely the aim now.”

Added Monger: “At the second restart Jamie made a slight mistake which allowed me to really challenge him. From then onwards it was all about the battle for second and third. This is a fantastic result though from 18th. It was a chaotic race. There was so much action. I made up a few places at the start and then stayed out of trouble as others made mistakes around me. I made a few really bold overtakes on the outside through Goodwood. I had to try to attack Jamie and defend from Carrie at the same time towards the end. It was difficult, but I’m ecstatic with the end result.”

The first appearance of the safety car occurred just four laps in to enable the recovery of Nicolai Kjaergaard’s beached car on the exit of Church corner. Prior to which Quinn out-braked himself trying to defend from Jamie Caroline, sending him into the back of James Pull. Both lived to fight another day, but they came together merely a lap later. An incident which saw Quinn receive a five place grid penalty for round nine.

With the safety car back in the pits at the end of lap six the drama resumed instantly. Whilst Leeds once again wasted no time in breaking away from the field, Carlin’s Devlin DeFrancesco collided with JHR’s Jack Butel in almost a carbon copy of the incident that saw Max Fewtrell roll spectacularly out of round seven.

By lap seven Florescu had made his way up to third place, but a technical problem saw him fall through the field. It forced him to relinquish his championship lead as he nursed his Carlin home.

On the penultimate lap Zane Goddard found a way past fellow Aussie Harry Hayek to claim fifth behind Double R team-mate Carrie Schreiner, by far the best result of the season for the Double R team. It was an exceptional performance from both drivers, with Zane climbing up from the last row of the grid and Schreiner from 13th.

Said Schreiner: “I was a bit lucky with other cars crashing out. It was a fun race and whenever I saw the chance to overtake someone I took it. In the last two laps third was a possibility, but I didn’t want to risk the fourth place finish. I’m really proud of this result.”

Having been overtaken by Goddard, Hayek was immediately in the firing line. Max Fewtrell was seeking redemption after yesterday’s DNF and fellow championship contender Sennan Fielding was also in maximum attack mode on the final lap. However, the trio came to grief at the Club chicane, Fielding miraculously maintaining momentum to finish sixth and Hayek in 12th.

It was a landmark race for Ayrton Simmons. In only his second competitive British F4 outing he finished inside the points and took a fantastic Rookie class win following team-mate Jack Martin’s exclusion from the results for an incident during the safety car period.

Provisional results Round 8, Thruxton 8 May, 2016
12 laps / 28.27 miles
1 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden 20m 06.547s / 84.35mph
2 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Jamun +2.683s
3 Billy MONGER / GBR / JHR +3.073s
4 Carrie SCHREINER / GER / Double R +3.325s
5 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R +4.722s
6 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +9.784s
7 James PULL / GBR / Carlin +9.261s
8 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR / Arden +9.920s
9 Ross MARTIN / GBR / Fortec +9.940s
10 Patrik MATTHIESEN / DEN / JTR +23.130s etc

Fastest lap Fielding 1m 15.304s / 112.63mph

Rookie class 1 Simmons ; 2 R Martin; 3 Quinn

Full results

Provisional championship standings
1 Leeds 103 points; 2 Florescu 101; 3 Fielding 99; 4 Fewtrell 89; 5 Pull 83; 6 Quinn 67; 7 Caroline 65; 8 Martins 45; 9 DeFrancesco 35; 10 Monger 29 etc

Rookie Class 1 Quinn 176;  2 R Martin 112; 2 J Martin 97; 4 Kjaergaard 72; 5 Simmons 33

Round 9 grid order
Florescu – Fewtrell – Fielding – DeFrancesco – Monger – Pull – Caroline – Leeds – Goddard – Matthiesen etc

Fewtrell pushes to the max for maiden Ford MSA Formula victory

  • Fewtrell caps off brilliant weekend with maiden single-seater victory.
  • Win sees Fewtrell snatch the championship lead from Carlin team-mate Petru Florescu.
  • Formula Kart Stars champion Ross Martin takes first Rookie Class win.

DONINGTON PARK 17 APRIL, 2016 – They say things go in threes and for the third time in succession Donington Park played host to a Ford EcoBoost-powered lights to flag victory. In round six the spoils went to Carlin’s Max Fewtrell ahead of TRS Arden’s Luis Leeds and Fortec rookie Ross Martin.

It was a straightforward race for Fewtrell who like the weekend’s earlier pole sitters made a perfect getaway when the lights went out.

The same could not be said of Alex Quinn who struggled off the line in his Fortec Motorsports racer and dropped to sixth. Fastest lap proved to be his consolation prize in a race where he had hoped to record another win for the Racing Steps Foundation.

As Quinn fell back, Luis Leeds (TRS Arden) and Ross Martin (Fortec) were the immediate beneficiaries, moving up to second and third respectively and they proved to be Fewtrell’s closest challengers. However, the 16-year-old kart star had enough in hand to maintain a sufficient gap throughout, preventing his pursuers from mounting an attack.

James Pull (Carlin) in fourth and Sennan Fielding (JHR Developments) in fifth completed a breakaway group which spanned from Fewtrell down to Quinn; with this collection of six drivers capable of consistently lapping in the low 1m 08s bracket.

An ecstatic Fewtrell commented: “I needed to get a good start and be consistent because I knew I had the pace to keep the gap. As soon as I got that gap it stayed the same. Breaking the tow was key.

“Three podiums is brilliant, especially with one of them coming in the reverse grid race and to finish the weekend off with a win is great. Fighting with a lot of second year drivers is obviously a challenge, but I’m learning every race and getting more confident with the car and its Ford EcoBoost technology”.

Added second place man Leeds: “It was an alright weekend. Second in every race session apart from race two this weekend. I hope to get my first win pretty soon, but consistency is key and I’ve said that all along because my goal is to win the championship. I cannot wait for Thruxton. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with myself for three weeks until then!”

It was a landmark race for Ross Martin whose third place netted him his first Rookie class win of the campaign, and demonstrated that the Formula Kart Stars (FKS) champion is taking full advantage of his fully funded prize drive in the UK’s official FIA F4 series.

“I didn’t have a great start to the weekend but what an end”, enthused Martin. “The car felt amazing throughout and I dealt with the pressure well at the start. FKS have been rooting for me to get on the top step of the podium so to get my first Rookie win this early on is fantastic and hopefully my mentor Allan McNish managed to watch the race on television.”

There was drama early on as the field was forced to complete an additional formation lap when Zane Goddard’s Double R racer ground to a halt on the way to the grid.

Carlin’s DeFrancesco added to the excitement when the racing got underway as he rejoined the track following an off at the exit of Craner Curves, only to force several cars to take evasive action when he reappeared on the asphalt at Old Hairpin.

Jamun’s Jamie Caroline scythed through the midfield once again to make his way from 14th to seventh. The highlight of his race a robust overtaking manoeuvre on TRS Arden’s Rafael Martins who would follow the Pirtek Racing sponsored driver home in eighth.

Another stellar pass came from JHR’s Billy Monger who perfectly judged his move on Dane Nicolai Kjaergaard into Redgate on lap four and would later squeeze by Jerseyman Jack Butel on the final lap to finish on the fringes of the points in 11th.

Redgate is also where Martins showcased his race craft; brilliantly turning defence (brought about by team-mate Jack Martin glued to his gearbox) into attack as he tore past Hayek who had leapt in front of the Brazilian earlier on in proceedings. Martin would subsequently follow in Martins’ wheel tracks to also get ahead of the Aussie F4 graduate who clung on to the last points paying position.

It was a frustrating race for Carlin’s Petru Florescu who had to settle for 13th having hoped to make more progress through the field from the back of the grid after fighting at the front in race two earlier in the day.

It’s a result that sees Florescu relinquish his championship lead after Fewtrell’s superb performance this weekend. Attention now turns to rounds seven, eight and nine of season at Thruxton on 7-8 May. All eyes will be on Fewtrell to see if he can maintain this phenomenal run of form and whether Leeds can finally join the roster of maiden Ford EcoBoost-powered winners having now collected a trio of second place finishes.

Provisional results Round 6, Donington Park 17 April, 2016
15 laps / 29.69 miles
1 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin 17m 18.620s / 102.78 mph
2 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden +1.063s
3 Ross MARTIN / GBR / Fortec +1.469s
4 James PULL / GBR / Carlin +2.618s
5 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +2.931s
6 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec +3.481s
7 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Jamun +9.939s
8 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / Arden +10.798s
9 Jack MARTIN / GBR / Arden +12.594s
10 Harry HAYEK / AUS / Jamun +13.942 etc

Fastest lap Quinn 1:08.338 / 104.25 mph

Rookie Class 1 R Martin; 2 Quinn; 3 J Martin; 4 Kjaergaard

Full results

Provisional championship standings
1 Fewtrell 89; =2 Florescu 76; =2 Fielding 76; 4 Pull 69; 5 Leeds 68; 6 Quinn 55; 7 Caroline 46; 8 Martins 45; 9 Goddard 18 etc
Rookie Class 1 Quinn 136; 2 J Martin 97; 3 R Martin 76; 4 Kjaergaard 72 etc

Quinn for the win in Ford MSA Formula at Donington

  • Fortec Motorsports’ Alex Quinn converts pole to maiden victory.
  • Win sees Quinn take his championship challenge up a gear and pull further clear in Rookie Cup.
  • Petru Florescu performs brilliant comeback drive to hold onto championship lead.

DONINGTON PARK 16 APRIL, 2016 – Alex Quinn pulled off a fantastic lights to flag victory in wet conditions following a hail storm at Donington Park. The Rookie driver made a perfect getaway off the line, making amends for a series of difficult starts at Brands Hatch a fortnight ago, and kept TRS Arden’s Luis Leeds and Carlin’s Max Fewtrell at bay for the duration.

Said the Racing Steps Foundation backed winner: “It feels amazing to get my first win. I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the weekend. It was quite tricky with the changeable weather, but I knew I could go quickly in the wet just like I did in the dry earlier in qualifying.

“I built a good gap to start with, but then I relaxed perhaps a little too much. I just didn’t want to make any mistakes and didn’t push too hard. This meant it got quite close at the end and I had to defend, but it was a really good race and I couldn’t be happier.”

The race was brought to a premature end with under four minutes remaining when a red flag was thrown because of Patrick Matthiesen’s stranded JTR at Coppice, denying spectators a thrilling three way fight for win. However, take nothing away from Quinn. This was a top drawer performance from a Rookie who has underlined his Ford British F4 title credentials.

Second place man Leeds commented: “It was hard to pass in the wet. The track was so slippery, but it was a fun race and I’m happy. Arden have done a great job to get a really good wet setup sorted.

“I was sizing up Quinn towards the end, but then the red flag came. That’s the way it goes sometimes and he deserved to win. It’s great to bring these points home and my aim is to maintain this consistency.”

Said Fewtrell of his third place: “It’s a really good result. The pace was so strong. I was able to match the guys in front, it’s just really hard to overtake in those sorts of conditions. If you’re on the wrong line it’s like driving on ice and when you are behind someone the spray makes it difficult to see.

“I’m happy to get another podium and this great haul of points. I’ll start on pole tomorrow in race three and I’m excited to see what I can do from there.”

Behind Fewtrell were team-mates James Pull and Devlin DeFrancesco, whilst Petru Florescu bounced back from last on the grid to sixth after a qualifying beleaguered by technical problems. His comeback drive enough to retain his championship lead by a single point over Pull.

Home favourite Sennan Fielding had a relatively quiet race in seventh, but will start on pole in race two tomorrow and look to add to his victory tally.

Finishing just behind the Chesterfield racer was Jamie Caroline who provided his customary instalment of on-track entertainment. An opening lap charge saw him climb from 15th to sixth, but he came undone at Redgate on the following lap as he took a trip through the gravel.

Fellow Ginetta Junior graduate Billy Monger was unable to follow-up his superb fourth in qualifying, but he’s sure to hit back later in the weekend, especially in drier conditions.

JHR’s Jack Butel came unstuck on lap three, having to retire due to a technical problem; whilst Zane Goddard was another non-finisher following a skirmish early on with TRS Arden’s Rafael Martins.

Round five of the season gets underway at 1005 tomorrow with home hero Sennan Fielding on pole, and Carlin’s quartet of drivers behind him on the grid hungry for more success. At 1510 the lights will go out on round six which will be shown live on ITV4, when Alex Quinn will aim to make another lightening start from the front row.

Ford British F4 – Certified by FIA, Powered by EcoBoost

Provisional results Round 4, Donington Park 16 April, 2016
11 laps / 27.77 miles
1 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec 15m 14.253s / 85.57 mph
2 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden +0.599s
3 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin +0.790s
4 James PULL / GBR / Carlin +3.040s
5 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin +13.997s
6 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin +17.239s
7 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +17.849
8 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Jamun +21.106s
9 Billy MONGER / GBR / JHR +25.536s
10 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / Arden +26.320s etc
Fastest lap Pull 1:20.947 / 88.01 mph
Rookie Class 1 Quinn; 2 R Martin; 3 J Martin; 4 Kjaergaard

Full results

Provisional championship standings
1 Florescu 58; 2 Pull 57; 3 Leeds 50; 4 Fewtrell 49; 5 Quinn 45; 6 Fielding 41; 7 Caroline 30; 8 Martins 29; 9 Goddard 18; 10 DeFrancesco 17 etc
Rookie Class 1 Quinn 100; Kjaergaard 60; J Martin 57; R Martin 51

Pull leads the way in Ford MSA Formula pre-race test at Donington Park

  • James Pull heads incredibly evenly matched Ford EcoBoost-powered field.
  • Alex Quinn and Luis Leeds at the front of the chasing pack.

DONINGTON PARK 14 APRIL, 2016 – Carlin’s James Pull topped the times in Ford British F4’s pre-race test at Donington Park today, just as he did at the Brands Hatch opener a fortnight ago. He headed a super-close field where the top 15 drivers were covered by just a second.

Fresh from a hat-trick of podiums at the season opener, Pull was fifth fastest in the morning and let loose in the afternoon, posting the quickest time of 1:08.195 halfway through the session.

It was a time that left Pull over three tenths clear of the field, but Fortec Motorsports’ Alex Quinn and TRS Arden’s Luis Leeds hit back in the final minutes to see them finish second and third fastest respectively, with Quinn just over a tenth off of Pull.

Said Pull: “I really enjoy driving this circuit and it’s my favourite on the calendar. We hooked up a great lap. There’s still more in the bag, but it felt really good and I’m very happy.

“It’s all about getting in the groove at Donington. Finding a rhythm, staying smooth and not overdriving. The goal is to get the win this weekend. Qualifying will be tense. I just need to stay calm and focus.”

Quinn added: “I think we are quick enough to be fastest. In the second session I was really improving towards the end and the chequered flag came just too soon. I learnt loads at Brands and now it’s time to put it into action.”

Said TRS Arden team manager Ben Bloomfield of Leeds’ performance: “It was disappointing that Luis got held up in traffic at the end of his run, but from the sector times we know that we’ve got the pace in the car. He’s already feeling quite confident which is very impressive given that he’s never driven around this circuit before.”

An entertaining morning session saw the track move from wet to dry and it was Quinn who grabbed the attention by topping the times, but only just. JHR’s Sennan Fielding was less than three thousandths of a second away from the Racing Steps Foundation backed driver.

All drivers improved upon their morning’s best efforts thanks to far better track conditions, but Fielding was the exception to the rule due to technical problems.

TRS Arden’s Rafael Martins found himself third quickest in the morning and ended the day fifth fastest overall. “We were quick this morning”, said Martins. “I think a P2 or P3 grid slot is possible. We’ll obviously aim for pole, but James Pull was very fast today. We’ll look at the data to try to find something extra for qualifying and I’m sure our race pace will be even stronger.”

Harry Hayek was another who seemed to revel in the morning’s variable conditions ending up seventh and just dropping outside of the top ten by the time the chequered flag fell on the test, with his Jamun team-mate Jamie Caroline finishing several places ahead of him.

Said Hayek: “It’s been an up and down day. The first session was wet and then it was drying. We were right up there. In the second session we struggled a bit, but we’ll look at the data and aim to break into the top ten in qualifying.”

Championship leader Petru Florescu had a relatively quiet day in tenth, but after his emphatic performance just two weeks ago, it’s hard to believe that there’s not plenty more pace up the Romanian’s sleeve.

It was a premature end to the day for Patrik Matthiesen who brought out the red flags with 20 minutes remaining after beaching his car in the gravel at Coppice. Nevertheless, the Dane was quick early on suggesting he’s capable of bringing home his first points of the season.

With the field so evenly matched, everyone is eagerly awaiting qualifying at 1100 on Saturday and for the lights go out in the first of the weekend’s three races at 1500.

Leading testing times Donington Park 14 April, 2016 (am/pm)
1 James PULL / GBR / Carlin 1:09.297 / 1:08.195
2 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec 1:08.966 / 1:08.337
3 Luis LEEDS / AUS / Arden 1:09.205 / 1:08.407
4 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin 1:09.515 / 1:08.571
5 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / Arden 1:09.085 / 1:08.674
6 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CDN / Carlin 1:09.813 / 1:08.773
7 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R 1:09.448 / 1:08.792
8 Jack MARTIN / GBR / Arden 1:10.537 / 1:08.827
9 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR / Jamun 1:09.982 / 1:08.891
10 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 1:09.625 / 1:08.926 etc.

Full times

DeFrancesco sets the pace in Ford MSA Formula test at Thruxton

  • Devlin DeFrancesco maintains Carlin’s run of form in Thruxton test.
  • Luis Leeds and Max Fewtrell prove to be Canadian’s closest challengers, with Rafael Martins and Billy Monger also impressing.

THRUXTON 07 APRIL, 2016 – Devlin DeFrancesco took advantage of the best of the day’s weather to top the times for Carlin in Ford British F4 testing at Thruxton. The test was beleaguered by damp and cold conditions, as drivers sought to lay down a marker ahead of the Thruxton race weekend on 7-8 May.

After a quiet start, the Canadian bettered his morning time by over a second to post a 1:13.500 in the dying minutes of the second session. It was a time that would remain unbeaten as more inclement weather set in at the 2.4 mile Hampshire circuit.

His closest challengers were TRS Arden’s Luis Leeds who was within two tenths of the DeFrancesco’s time and Max Fewtrell who once again impressed in the final session when the track was at its wettest.

There was drama 20 minutes into the second session as Ayrton Simmons, who had just recorded his fastest time of the day, got caught out while pushing on slick tyres through Goodwood on the damp asphalt. The Essex-based driver hurtled into the tyre barriers but walked away unscathed, testament to the safety of the FIA F4 homologated Ford EcoBoost-powered racer.

A number of drivers elected to sit out the final session due to the bad weather, including pacesetter DeFrancesco. JHR’s experienced pairing of Jack Butel and Sennan Fielding also followed suit, the former breaking into the top 10 overall and 2016 race winner Fielding finishing the day a strong sixth.

Fellow JHR Developments driver Billy Monger caught the eye throughout, ending both the morning and late afternoon sessions in third. Whilst TRS Arden’s Rafael Martins was star of the show in the first session going fastest and ending the day fourth, with Carlin’s James Pull less than a tenth away in fifth.

It was a difficult day for Fortec Motorsports, with early leader in the Rookie Cup Alex Quinn posting their fastest time of 1:14.334 to go ninth. Team-mate Ross Martin found himself stuck in the pits for much of the first session due to technical problems, while Frank Bird had a frustrating end to the test, bringing out a red flag after making contact with the barrier at Club.

Ford British F4 teams now have a week’s respite before testing at Donington Park gets under way on Thursday, 14 April, ahead of the next three rounds of the Ford EcoBoost-powered series.

Leading testing times Thruxton 7 April 2016 (Sessions 1 / 2 / 3)
1 Devlin DEFRANCESCO / CAN / Carlin 1:14.887 / 1:13.500 / No time set
2 Luis LEEDS / AUS / TRS Arden 1:15.012 / 1:13.665 / 1:21.248
3 Max FEWTRELL / GBR / Carlin 1:14.803 / 1:13.713 / 1:20.030
4 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / TRS Arden 1:14.683 / 1:13.909 / 1:21.666
5 James PULL / GBR / JHR 1:16.053 / 1:13.995 / 1:20.141
6 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 1:14.945 / 1:14.047 / No time set
7 Zane GODDARD / AUS / Double R 1:15.148 / 1:14.065 / 1:21.298
8 Billy MONGER / GBR / JHR 1:14.859 / 1:14.120 / 1:20.455
9 Alex QUINN / GBR / Fortec 1:16.738 / 1:14.334 / 1:21.565
10 Jack BUTEL / GBR / JHR 1:15.990 / 1:14.404 / No time set etc.

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.

Torque Speed – Driver reaction from Brands Hatch Ford MSA Formula Test

  • Luis Leeds pays testament to the fantastic work of his Arden team.
  • Zane Goddard expects very close season.
  • Jamie Caroline pushing the limits to be in best shape for the start of the season.
4 March, 2016 – With the dust having settled on last week’s Ford British F4 test which saw the field covered by less than a second, we hear from some of the test’s key protagonists.

Red Bull Junior Team driver Luis Leeds left Brands Hatch with the fastest time and the bragging rights: “It was a really good test. We focused on consistency and trying to do the right thing in every session like using the correct tyre warming procedures and it paid dividends. Arden set the car up brilliantly and together as a team we performed really well.

“To be part of the Red Bull Junior Team driver programme and have the Red Bull logo all over my Ford British F4 car is amazing. It brings with it a little bit of pressure, but it’s a good kind of pressure. It helps you perform and motivates you to do your best.”

Zane Goddard spent much of the test at the top of the timesheets and ended up second fastest for Double R Racing: “The times are so close. It’s going to be an exciting year with very close racing. Hopefully we can stay towards the front.

“I got a lot out of the car and I think the team should be really proud of what they have done. They have worked really hard.”

Goddard’s Double R teammate Carrie Schreiner also lit up the timing screens on a number of occasions, the German clearly enjoying her time behind the wheel: “The test was a lot of fun and it went well. The Double R team is made up of such a good group of people. I’m able to learn so much in Ford British F4 and I really enjoy driving the Ford EcoBoost powered car.

Ginetta Junior champion Jamie Caroline’s lap times suggested that he’s a force to be reckoned with in 2016, setting the third fastest time overall. An achievement made all the more impressive given that his running was curtailed due to damaging his Jamun Racing prepared car on track: “I was trying to find more when there wasn’t any more to find and I just went over the limit. It’s not ideal, but you’ve got to find the limit one way or another. It’s all about learning at this stage.

“I’m loving the Ford British F4 car. When you really push the car it responds brilliantly.”

Meanwhile, Ayrton Simmons tallied an impressive 146 laps for Arden on his way to the seventh quickest time: “The car felt really good. I’m pleased with my times and mileage. I spend a lot of time in the gym and work a lot on my fitness so I feel well prepared. To have done this many laps in one day is no problem at all for me.”

The next collective Ford British F4 test will take place 16 March at Donington Park.

Leeds shines at Brands Hatch Ford MSA Formula test

  • Australians Luis Leeds and Zane Goddard led the way in opening test of the 2016 season
  • Less than a second covered incredibly competitive field

24 February, 2016 – Arden’s Luis Leeds came out on top of the timesheets in 2016’s first MSA Formula, powered by Ford EcoBoost, collective test session at Brands Hatch. However, he was far from having things his own way, with a host of drivers taking turns to star at the top of the times. When the chequered flag finally fell, the ultra-competitive field was covered by less than a second, suggesting that this year’s Ford British F4 season is one no one will want to miss.

Red Bull Junior Team driver Leeds was in fine form, demonstrating speed and consistency out on track. His morning time was enough for third fastest and he was the only driver to break the 46 second barrier with a 45.974s lap.

Fellow Formula 4 Australia graduate Zane Goddard was similarly impressive for Double R Racing. Both Australians were clearly able to take advantage of their experience gained in the MSA Formula sister series, which uses the same 1.6 litre Ford EcoBoost engine and Mygale chassis. Indeed, Goddard ended the morning session with the outright quickest time which only he and Leeds were able to better late in the afternoon.

2015 Ginetta Junior champion Jamie Caroline was quickest of the British contingent in third. An achievement made all the more remarkable given that his running was severely limited due to two off-track excursions on the exit of Paddock Hill Bend (both of which damaging his Jamun Racing prepared car).

Another former Ginetta Junior driver caught the eyes of many up and down the paddock with his rate of improvement as the test progressed. JHR Developments driver Billy Monger came alive in the afternoon to record the sixth fastest time.

Meanwhile, MSA Formula returnee Sennan Fielding made amends for a morning mired in the pits due to technical difficulties; to set a time that would see him leave the Kent circuit fourth fastest.

The next collective Ford British F4 test session will take place on 16 March at Donington Park.

Testing times Brands Hatch 24/02/16 (am/pm)
1 Luis LEEDS / AUS Arden / MSA Formula-Ford EcoBoost / 46.064s / 45.974s
2 Zane GODDARD / AUS Double R / MSA Formula-Ford EcoBoost / 46.040s / 46.008s
3 Jamie CAROLINE / GBR Jamun / MSA Formula-Ford EcoBoost / 46.063s / 54.064s
4 Sennan FIELDING / GBR JHR / MSA Formula-Ford EcoBoost / 46.667s / 46.131s
5 Ross MARTIN / GBR Fortec / MSA Formula-Ford EcoBoost / 46.197s / 46.246s
6 Billy MONGER / GBR JHR / MSA Formula-Ford EcoBoost / 47.147s / 46.214s
7 Ayrton SIMMONS / GBR Arden / MSA Formula-Ford EcoBoost / 46.258s / 46.225s
8 Rafael MARTINS / BRA Arden / MSA Formula-Ford EcoBoost / 46.819s / 46.399s
9 Jack BUTEL / GBR JHR / MSA Formula-Ford EcoBoost / 46.700s / 46.438s
10 Patrik MATTHIESEN / DAN JTR / MSA Formula-Ford EcoBoost / 46.939s / 46.485s etc.

Full TSL timesheets

TRS Arden team confirms its four drivers for coming season of Ford-powered MSA Formula Championship

  • Experienced F4 racers Rafael Martins and Luis Leeds join the team
  • Seats also for karting graduates Jack Martin and Ayrton Simmons
  • Team boss Horner says another competitive season is in prospect

11 DECEMBER, 2015 – Brazilian talent Rafael Martins is set to continue his MSA Formula career next season with the TRS Arden team, joining championship newcomers Luis Leeds, Jack Martin and Ayrton Simmons in a four-car assault on the Ford EcoBoost-powered series.

Australian Leeds, 15, is a fresh signing to the Red Bull Junior programme and arrives in the UK with experience of the Mygale-Ford EcoBoost chassis thanks to successful outings in the Australian F4 Championship. Britons Martin, 15, and Simmons, currently 14, have extensive karting CVs.

Rafael Martins, who turns 17 in February, made a big impression in MSA Formula last season – his first season of car racing – scoring two overall podium finishes on his way to championship ninth with SWB Motorsport. Said Rafa: “I am very happy to join this great team that finished second in the MSA Formula Championship. I believe I had a great rookie year with a smaller team, and I’m sure with TRS Arden I will have every opportunity to compete for wins and the championship from the start to the finish of the season. I just want to thank everyone who believes in me and supports me to be able to be part of this great team.”

Ben Bloomfield, TRS Arden’s F4 team manager, said the team was delighted to have all its drivers signed for the coming season: “We have two drivers coming to Arden with experience from Formula 4 and two rookies who have had very competitive seasons in karting. They both tested very well with the team and impressed with their level of skill, determination and professionalism in their approach to the cars. We are looking forward to another strong and competitive season in 2016.”

TRS Arden claimed nine MSA Formula race wins in 2015 courtesy drivers Ricky Collard (the championship runner-up), Sandy Mitchell and Rookie champion Enaam Ahmed. Garry Horner, the CEO and team principal, said: “We are absolutely delighted with our signings for the upcoming season in MSA Formula. With these four talented young drivers, we are sure we have the right line-up to have a very competitive and successful season.”

Luis Leeds claimed two wins and nine podium finishes in his first season of single-seater racing at home in Australia, and enjoyed a career highlight last month when he won the opening race of the new Mexico F4 Series at the Mexican Grand Prix. “I am ecstatic to be given the opportunity by Red Bull to be a part of the TRS Arden F4 team and to race in MSA Formula,” he said. “Thank you so much to the Red Bull Junior Team and Dr Marko for setting this up and helping me to pursue my dream of racing in Formula 1. Racing in this year’s Australian F4 and Formula Ford Championships has introduced me into the world of open-wheel racing. I believe that I will head into 2016 with a great team providing me with the car and support that I need.”

Jack Martin joins the team following a season in EuroMax international karting and the British SuperOne Championship, where he enjoyed several top-10 finishes. The British driver joined the Young Racing Driver Academy, partnered by Arden, in 2013 and has performed progressively in testing with Arden’s MSA Formula team. “I am very excited to join TRS Arden for my first season in single seater racing,” said Jack. “I have moved on from karting this year and spent the last few months focusing on testing in cars. I have spent some time working with the Arden team already, having been with their young driver programme since 2013, so it was the natural choice to select Arden to race with next year.”

Ayrton Simmons, who will not reach MSA Formula’s required minimum age of 15 until the end of April, has participated in the SuperOne and Rotax Euro Challenge Championships this year. He finished fifth of 48 competitors in his first outing at the MSA Kart Masters GP at the UK’s largest kart track, PFI. Said Simmons: “I am very happy for this opportunity to do what I love. I know it will be a complicated season because I will miss two rounds but I will do my best and I’m very grateful to have the team’s trust. Thank you to all the YRDA staff for the good work getting me ready for the change to single seaters, and to my family and sponsors because I couldn’t do this without their support.”

The opening rounds of MSA Formula – Certified by FIA, Powered by Ford EcoBoost are set for Brands Hatch in early April. The series is Britain’s official version of the FIA’s Formula 4 concept and was introduced this season as a supporting series on the live-televised British Touring Car Championship package.