Young stars get to grips with Ford-powered MSA Formula racers

  • Ginetta Junior frontrunner Jamie Caroline and Henry Surtees Challenge prizewinner Piers Prior test at Rockingham with leading MSA Formula teams

18 SEPTEMBER 2015 – Young chargers Piers Prior (pictured) and Jamie Caroline are the latest young British drivers to get a taste of the Ford EcoBoost-powered FIA Formula 4 cars which provide the spectacular track entertainment that is the MSA Formula Championship.

The teenagers both tackled the Rockingham circuit in Northamptonshire, venue for the most recent MSA Formula rounds, with 17-year-old karting star Prior in action today with Falcon Motorsport and Caroline, 16, trying out with MBM Motorsport a few days ago.

Prior’s test was a prize drive won at last October’s Henry Surtees Challenge karting event at Buckmore Park, Kent, in which Piers finished fourth overall. Falcon Motorsport boss Nick Streatfield was impressed by his debutant driver: “Piers went very well, and listened to everything he was told… In all he had five sessions, each of around 15 laps, and he was learning and improving all the time. We were very pleased to able to award the test session at the Henry Surtees Challenge, and indeed we will be doing the same again at the 2015 event to be held next month.”

Piers began karting aged nine and was three times the Buckmore Park junior champion before going on to a third-place finish in the Senior Sodi World Series last year.

Ginetta Junior Championship leader Jamie Caroline impressed the MBM Motorsport team when he sampled one of the squad’s chassis at Rockingham. The 16-year-old, who had never before driven any track car other than a Ginetta sports racer, completed more than 100 laps.

“His management team, Edge Sporting Management, wanted to see how well Jamie would go in a single-seater,” said MBM boss James Mundy. “Given that it was his first time in a single-seater and his first time on slick tyres, Jamie was brilliant, really impressive.

“Jamie covered more than 100 laps, quite a few on old tyres to get a feel for the car and then three runs on new tyres, during which he set some very good times. We made some set-up changes for the end-of-day run and he responded well to them: his best time was in the 1m 18s, which would have put him in the top 10 in qualifying for the Rockingham championship event the previous weekend.”

Jamie was enthusiastic about his experience: “I loved driving the car – it was mega. It was my first time in anything other than a Ginetta Junior, and it was a big step up but I really enjoyed it. I’d never been out on slicks before in a car, either, so the hardest thing was getting used to maximising the grip of the tyres. The straightline speed was a bit scary at first, all a bit of a shock, but I really enjoyed it.”

Caroline says he has no firm plans for 2016 yet: “I’ve just tested a G55 Ginetta as well, and as ever it will be down to budgets and finance. Single-seaters is definitely an option though.”