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The voice of club motor racing

The ever-rising costs of competing in Formula Renault UK and Formula 3 never appear to preclude wannabe career drivers (many from overseas) from snapping up the plum seats. But there is still a gulf between the junior leagues and the siicks-and-wings categories through which future stars will have to be filtered at some stage. If they don't stall first.

With professionalism driving budgets beyond the grasp of too many talented Britons - everybody talks of simulators being a key part of driver development, but the cost of test mileage remains greater than for racing - Formula Ford is the most accessible option for kart racers aspiring to transcend to cars.

With dozens of karters spending well into six figures to compete on the international scene, FF Duratec shouldn't frighten their backers, but actually making the change seems to find resistance. Perhaps because successful karters can make money (through salaried drives, testing and tuition), whereas it appears to be a one-way street in cars?

It wasn't like that when I joined AUTOSPORT in 1977, for FF1600 enabled hundreds of owners to take on the young stars in a host of top-line championships. Those who could afford to could race twice per weekend (thrice over Bank Holidays), running cars off a trailer or out of an old van or converted coach. And there was meaningful a Formula Ford is the most accessible option for kart racers aspiring to transcend to cars"

prize money to defray costs.

I look back with delight at the 1970s, when far-sighted backers helped champions to graduate. When a shocked Ted Wentz was catapulted into Formula Atlantic in 1974 as BARC Wei la FF1600 champion, it was no less than the American deserved.

Things were (or at least seemed) so much simpler then, but the whole structure of motorsport has changed beyond recognition over 35 years, and not entirely for the better. Household-name backers on major championships - for the cost of a few TV advertisements - would be a start. And innovative, focused marketing campaigns could kick-start Formula Ford at a time when its relevance and cost-effectiveness is at a 20-year high. • Paying last respects to a young person is an horrendous task, particularly for the family involved. The phenomenal turnout for Craig Dawson's funeral, in Paulerspury last Tuesday, did much to buoy his parents, Andy and Vicki, and brother Giles. Many of the mourners subsequently repaired to the BRDC clubhouse at Silverstone, where a wonderful sunset over Luffield Corner completed a classy send-off. They say you only need a few good friends in life, yet Craig was blessed in having dozens. I very much enjoyed his company over 15 years, and will miss it.

FORMULA RENAULT UK race winner Will Stevens has switched to the Eurocup for his third season in the category.

Stevens, 19, will lead the attack of Fortec Motorsport, the team with which he drove in his maiden FR UK campaign in 2009, and which is returning to the Eurocup after a one-year sabbatical.

"I know Fortec and they know me," said Stevens, who won two races in the UK series with Manor Competition last year. "I know they want to win the championship as much as I do to re-establish the team in Europe."

Puerto Rican Team USA Scholarship driver Felix Serralles, who made his FRenault debut in last year's Winter Cup in the older-spec 'BARC' class, will join Stevens in Fortec's Eurocup line-up.

Fortec has one seat available in its three-car Eurocup squad and its four-car UK team. Australian Mitchell Gilbert, who contested the Winter Cup, will stay on for a full season in the UK, while FRenault BARC race winner Joseph Reilly will not remain with the team for his graduation.

Winter Cup champion Alex Lynn and RSF-backed Oliver Rowland are already confirmed.

5tï|o NicKy Grist Motorsports uk importer "Sellin9 from Experience'

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