Local driver Jordan Michels was the stand-out performer last time the South Island Formula Ford Championship (SIFF) competed at Teretonga Park in Invercargill back in December. The 18-year-old rookie set fastest lap in a wet qualifying session and followed this up with two wins and a second placing. He’s back this weekend for the SIFF fifth and penultimate round at Teretonga Park in Invercargill but will be up against more opposition as the weekend doubles as the third round of the New Zealand Formula Ford Championship (NZFF).
“It’s going to be a lot tougher with more experienced guys on the track,” commented Michels. “But I expect some home track advantage and look forward to a great weekend of racing.”
James Webb from Fielding is also new to the category and so far has crossed the finish line third in all six NZFF races. However, a race disqualification on a technical matter has him fourth overall in the NZFF championship just 11 points behind Ethan Anderson from Riverton. Whanganui’s Aaron Marr has a narrow lead of four points on Te Puke’s Michael Scott. Both North Island drivers have dominated the national series so far and are expected to continue their dice for wins this weekend.
“I’ve been really happy with finishing third but want to do better,” commented Webb. “It will be the first time at Teretonga so have no expectations other than looking forward to learning a new track.”
Two Australian based Kiwi rookies are making the trip across the Tasman. Fifteen year old Hunter McElrea currently leads the SIFF from Mitchell Maddren with Anderson third.
With two key prizes up for grabs at the end of the season, the competition will be intense. Mygale Australia, suppliers of Formula Ford chassis’, have a free test day at the Winton race track in Victoria Australia for the winner of the SIFF championship. In support of this prize, Rick Michel of Evolution Motorsport in Invercargill will provide $500 to help cover travel and accommodation expenses to attend the test drive.
For the winner of the national title, an opportunity to attend an international ‘shoot-out’ to determine who wins a $US200K fully supported drive in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda in 2017. This is part of the Mazda Road to Indy program available for single seater drivers competing in the US.
Kiwi driver Scott Dixon, along with current IndyCar drivers Helio Castroneves, James Hinchcliffe, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball and Josef Newgarden, are all graduates of series that comprises the Mazda Road to Indy – one of the most successful driver development programs in the world, providing a unique, scholarship-funded path to reach the Verizon IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500.
Saturday comprises qualifying and the first race of three with the remaining on Sunday.
The South Island Formula Ford Championship is sponsored by a range of loyal supporters – Avon Tyres, Newfield Autos and Motorsport Solutions NZ Ltd.
South Island Formula Ford Championship points after round 4/6
1 Hunter McElrea 149
2 Mitchell Maddren 137
3 Ethan Anderson 133
4 Robert Toshach 117
5 Jordan Michels 116
9/ Gary Lovie 54
10/ Andy McElrea 48
New Zealand Formula Ford Championship round 2/6
1 Aaron Marr 418
2 Michael Scott 414
3 Ethan Anderson 325
4 James Webb 314
5 Grant Campbell 268