HPD Blog

Monday, May 2, 2011

Formula F Pro Series Makes A Spectacular Debut

The inaugural round of the new F1600 Formula F Championship Series had it all: a large, 29-car field; diversity (encompassing the driver line-up, range of chassis and engines) and exciting side-by-side finishes for 1st-2nd, 3rd-4th and even 5th-6th!

The five-weekend, 10-race championship opened April 8-10 at the classic Virginia International Raceway circuit. Jim Goughary wrote his name into the history books by scoring the inaugural race win in his Honda-powered Piper DF5, by the oh-so-narrow margin of just five-thousandths of a second over the Ford-powered Swift DB-6 of two-time national champion John Robinson II.

Additional side-by-side finishes saw Bill Balet and Tim Kautz finish third and fourth, respectively, in their Ford FFs, while Art Foster’s Van Diemen Ford barely edged the Honda Swift of young Colin Thompson for fifth. In all, 11 Honda-powered FFs were spread throughout the 29-car field, with the top 10 finishers divided evenly at five each between Ford and Honda entries.

“I couldn’t be happier that we were able to give Honda its inaugural win,” Goughary said after the thrilling finish. “It is so nice not to have to worry about the engine at the race track. The Honda allows us to focus solely on the handling of our car.

“I think it is a big advantage over the Ford-powered cars not having to worry about the carburetor or fuel mixture, and we can probably run it [the engine] for several seasons.”

Sunday’s second race of the weekend was claimed by Kautz, who won from the pole. Canadian racer Caitlin Johnston led the Honda contingent home with a sixth-place run, just ahead of Goughary. The father-son duo of Sean and Sam Maisey rounded out the top 10 for Honda.

“My Honda-powered Formula F was just awesome today,” Johnston said following her finish. “It was pretty good battling it out with a couple of the guys, but then Colin [Thompson] spun and we came around the ‘Oak Tree Turn’ and he was literally sitting right in the middle of the track. My first weekend in the F1600 Series with two top-10s … we can’t complain about that!”

Next up for the F1600 Formula F Championship will be the June 3-5 Grand-Am weekend at Watkins Glen International Raceway, home track for Race 1 winner Goughary.

“I can’t wait for The Glen,” Goughary said. “This series is so competitive. We are going to step it up to try and make sure we put Honda on the top of the podium again. Twice!”

In addition to the eastern U.S.-based F1600 Formula F Championship, a similar professional series is in the planning stages for the West Coast, to be run by the same organization conducting the F2000 Pacific Series.
More information on the F1600 Formula F Series is available on the web at www.F1600Series .com and on Facebook. Interested participants can also call (860) 364-5252 or e-mail the Series Director, Michael Rand, at michaelrand@sbcglobal.net.

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