SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA (February 19, 2009) – Formula Ford champions past and present will race at the 2009 Phillip Island Classic Festival of Motorsport from March 13-15 to mark the 40th anniversary of the star-making category in Australia.
Headlining the 50-car grid capacity field is 2007 Australian champion and 2008 British series runner-up, 21 year-old Victorian Tim Blanchard, who will take over the Penrite Oil Van Diemen RF82 usually raced by Samantha Dymond.
However one of his greatest rivals will be a driver whose career peaked well before he was born – 1977 Australian Formula Ford and 1981 Australian Formula 2 Champion, John Smith.
The New South Wales driver will mark his return to racing at Phillip Island by competing in the Formula Ford races in a 1978 Lola T440, alongside four drivers coming from the United Kingdom and three New Zealanders. Another seven are currently on the reserve list, waiting for a spot on the grid.
However he acknowledges that youth may triumph over experience, although Tim Blanchard lacks none of the latter.
After winning both Victorian and National Kart titles in 22003 and 2004, he moved into Formula Ford in 2005, running consistently at the front before taking the National title in 2007.
With continued support from his grandfather, well-known motor racing mentor and Victorian Historic Racing Register member John Blanchard, Tim Blanchard took his talent overseas for the 2008 season.
Backed by Jaylec and the Australian Motorsport Foundation (AMSF), he clinched second place in the highly-competitive British Formula Ford Champion ship at the final round at Donnington Park in October, then followed that with a podium finish in the British Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch the following month.
Adding to the Formula Ford flavour at Phillip Island will be the guest appearance at the meeting’s Saturday night gala dinner of Tim Schenken, who won the world’s first Formula Ford Championship in the UK in 1968.
The Formula Ford races are part of a packed three-day Phillip Island Classic Festival programme, which has attracted entries from more than 560 historic racing, sports and touring cars spanning six decades.
Practice and qualifying for all categories will take place on Friday March 13, with racing from 9.00am until 4.40pm on the Saturday and Sunday, March 14 and 15.