Double champ Sowery joins Fortec squad for Oulton

Toby Sowery (GBR)
  • Toby Sowery secures one-off MSA Formula outing with race-winning team

2 June, 2015 – Reigning F3 Cup and MRF Formula 2000 Champion Toby Sowery is to contest this weekend’s Oulton Park rounds of the Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula Championship with the Fortec Motorsports team. The 18-year-old from Cambridgeshire is making a one-off appearance with the race-winning squad, joining its regular drivers Dan Ticktum and Josh Smith.

“Oulton Park is a fantastic track and I am really looking forward to racing on it as part of the Fortec team,” said Toby. “Fortec has shown its car is capable of winning and I’ll be pushing to make it on to the podium.” Backing for Sowery’s outing comes from Beyond Beauty Cosmetics.

The BRDC Rising Star enjoyed a stellar maiden season of single-seater racing in 2014, winning not only the UK-based F3 Cup with 10 race wins from 14 starts but also India’s MRF Formula 2000 Championship. His karting CV is no less impressive, with multiple title wins including the TKM Festival Senior Elite Championship in 2013 and the 2012 Junior Rotax Kartmasters GP Championship.

Fortec team manager Dan Mitchell said: “After Toby had a successful test with us we have been pushing to get a deal done; for the moment it is just for one race weekend but we are hoping that with some strong results we can look at doing a deal for the remainder of the season.”

Sowery’s addition to the grid means there will be 22 Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula cars in action in Cheshire. Jess Hawkins is the other new face; she will race a Falcon Motorsport machine.

Oulton Park challenge beckons for Ford EcoBoost-powered racers

  • MSA Formula back on track in Cheshire with Ricky Collard defending a slender championship lead
  • JTR’s Dan Baybutt hoping home-track support will help him back on to the podium

31 May, 2015 – After a month’s break from racing, the young stars of Ford’s junior single-seater series MSA Formula will be back in action next weekend (6/7 June) at the fast and daunting Oulton Park circuit. With five different race winners from nine races so far this season, and with just 25 points separating the top four in the title chase, there is plenty of drama set to unfold at the Cheshire circuit.

Ricky Collard, 18-year-old son of BTCC racer Rob, leads the Ford EcoBoost-powered championship to Cheshire thanks to his consistent finishing record – one win and three seconds so far – for the TRS Arden team. But Ricky is set to face a stiff threat to his slender points advantage from several drivers, not least mercurial 15-year-olds Dan Ticktum, Lando Norris and Sandy Mitchell.

Norris was the dominant force at Brands Hatch in April, winning twice for Carlin, and followed up with a third win at Thruxton in early May; he’s currently third in the standings behind Fortec flier Ticktum, the Donington double winner who is looking to bounce back from the mechanical dramas which blunted his challenge at Thruxton.

It was Collard’s TRS Arden team-mate Mitchell who showed everyone the way around Thruxton, the Scotsman claiming twin wins and a second-place finish to erase the memories of a frustrating start to his car-racing career. The other race winner of 2015 is Brazilian talent Matheus Leist, who triumphed for Double R at Donington and who was close to the sharp end at Thruxton also, despite never having seen the circuit ahead of qualifying.

JTR driver Dan Baybutt is hoping to enter victory lane soon, and his home circuit of Oulton would be the ideal venue. The Southport-based 17-year-old made it on to the overall MSA Formula podium for the first time in the Thruxton weekend opener but suffered a couple of mishaps in races two and three which cost him any chance of a follow-up.

“I’ve spent a lot of time since Thruxton reviewing the video of my races, where I was quick and able to come through the field, to see how I can improve on it,” said Dan. “I’m quite confident about Oulton Park – it’s the closest track to home and I’ll have a lot of family and friends there to cheer me on. It should be a good weekend and I’m aiming to do well.”

A rain-hit test session last week at Silverstone may not have provided Baybutt and the JTR team with much in the way of valuable test data, but it proved his car had suffered no lasting ill-effects from the damage it sustained at Thruxton. “It was a good check that the car was OK and helped me to get back into the feel of it. I’ve only had one day of testing at Oulton so far, so it’s going to be a challenge but again I’ve been looking at the data and I know where I can improve and make up time.”

The championship’s other top-10 men currently are Baybutt’s JTR team-mate James Pull, Carlin’s Colton Herta, 15-year-old son of IndyCar race winner Bryan, who is looking to make it to the podium for the first time, and two of MSA Formula’s more experienced runners, 19-year-old Sennan Fielding (JHR Developments) and Jack Barlow (MBM), who turns 20 the Monday after the Oulton Park rounds. After leading at Thruxton and scoring his maiden overall podium for the SWB Motorsport team, Brazilian 16-year-old Rafa Martins will be hopeful of joining them in the top 10.

Twenty-year-old Jess Hawkins will make her MSA Formula debut at Oulton Park, joining the Falcon Motorsport team alongside talented Rochdale racer Darius Karbaley. Jess will be the second female on the Oulton grid, joining Richardson Racing’s Louise Richardson.

Also back in action in Cheshire will be SWB’s Jack Butel, Carlin’s Romanian racer Petru Florescu, Indian chargers Tarun Reddy (Double R) and Ameya Vaidyanathan (JTR), Racing Steps Foundation-backed driver Josh Smith (Fortec), and Arden’s rookie Enaam Ahmed. Richardson Racing driver Ollie Pidgley says he can’t wait for Oulton: “It’s one of my favourites and I’m now in a car I’m really dialled-into. It should be awesome…”

There are two official test sessions at Oulton Park scheduled for Friday, with qualifying and two races on Saturday followed by a Sunday afternoon BTCC-supporting finale.

Oulton Park timetable
Friday 5 June
1130-1215 & 1540-1625 testing
Saturday 6 June
0930 Qualifying
1420 Race 1; 1750 Race 2
Sunday 7 June
1450 Race 3

Hawkins to make her MSA Formula debut with Ford EcoBoost power

Jessica Hawkins
  • 20-year-old former kart star Jess joins Falcon Motorsport for Oulton Park races
  • Hawkins seeking budget to complete the season

22 May, 2015 – Twenty-year-old Jess Hawkins is set to step up to the Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula Championship next month. She will join the Falcon Motorsport team for the Oulton Park rounds of the UK’s leading talent-training single-seater series and has started a crowd-funding campaign to help her raise a budget to see out the season.

“VCM Motorsport has been working on my behalf and has helped me to get the funding in place for me for Oulton Park, which is fantastic,” said Hampshire-based Jess. “Now I am aiming to raise the finance for the rest of the season.” Hawkins has started a Twitter campaign – #imbackingjess – with the campaign message “Driven by Jess, powered by Ford, funded by you!” and has set up a fund-raising page on gofundme.com

The successful former karter and British Women Racing Drivers Club Gold Star award finalist made her single-seater debut in an EcoBoost-powered Formula Ford at Silverstone last September, claiming a brace of top-10 finishes. “I have not raced anything since then and I’m keen to get out there again and show what I can do,” added Jess. “I have never driven at Oulton so it will be a big ask – new car, new track – and I will be taking things as they come, hopefully making steady improvements during the weekend and if I could make the top 10 that would be fantastic. I am looking at this season as testing and preparation for a full campaign in 2016.”

Nick Streatfield, Falcon Motorsport team principal, said: “We are delighted to have Jess on board for Oulton Park, and hopefully beyond. It will be tough for her to learn a new car and a new track, but we look forward to working with her to help her get to grips with it all, as we have with her team-mate Darius Karbaley, who has come on in leaps and bounds since the start of the season.”

Hawkins will be the third female driver to sample MSA Formula this season, and will join Richardson Racing’s Louise Richardson on the grid at Oulton. Romanian teen Alexandra Marinescu is expected to return to the series later in the season.

The Oulton Park rounds of MSA Formula – races 10, 11 and 12 of the championship – are scheduled for the first weekend of June, the 6th/7th, with extensive coverage of Sunday’s track action on ITV4.

Lando Norris quickest for Carlin at Oulton Park

  • Norris tops timesheets both AM and PM to end day a quarter second ahead
  • JHR Developments and Falcon Motorsports teams shake down their Ford EcoBoost-powered cars

OULTON PARK, 10 March, 2015 – Lando Norris today became the fourth different driver in as many official MSA Formula test sessions to end the day on top of the timesheets, the Carlin driver propelling his Ford EcoBoost-powered car to the head of the field in both the morning and afternoon sessions at Oulton.

The 15-year-old from Somerset outpaced his team-mate Colton Herta in the morning session by just five-hundredths of a second, but was a more emphatic 0.28s clear in the afternoon of his closest rival, TRS Arden man Ricky Collard. Collard’s team-mate Sandy Mitchell continued his strong run of test showings by ending the day third overall, just ahead of Fortec runner Dan Ticktum and Herta.

Less than a second separated the top seven today, with the Double R team’s tester, Brazilian Gustavo Myasava, impressing with sixth-best time on his MSA Formula and Oulton Park test debut. The JHR Developments and Falcon Motorsport teams shook down their new cars today, Sennan Fielding at the wheel of JHR’s and Connor Hall handling Falcon’s.

Testing times Oulton Park 10/3/15 (am/pm)
1 Lando NORRIS / GBR Carlin / MSA Formula-Ford EcoBoost 1:24.182 / 1:22.454
2 Ricky COLLARD / GBR Arden / MSA Formula-Ford EcoBoost 1:26.733 / 1:22.738
3 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR Arden / MSA Formula-Ford EcoBoost 1:24.885 / 1:22.817
4 Daniel TICKTUM / GBR Fortec / MSA Formula-Ford EcoBoost 1:25.174 / 1:22.974
5 Colton HERTA / USA Carlin / MSA Formula-Ford EcoBoost 1:24.230 / 1:23.036
6 Gustavo MYASAVA / BRA Double R / MSA Formula-Ford EcoBoost 1:26.162 / 1:23.266
7 Daniel BAYBUTT / GBR JTR / MSA Formula-Ford EcoBoost 1:25.335 / 1:23.441
8 Enaam AHMED / GBR Arden / MSA Formula-Ford EcoBoost 1:25.582 / 1:23.580
9 James PULL / GBR JTR / MSA Formula-Ford EcoBoost 1:25.711 / 1:23.704
10 Josh SMITH / GBR Fortec / MSA Formula-Ford EcoBoost 1:26.798 / 1:24.264 etc

Full TSL timesheets