‘Don’t muck around in Formula Ford’ says Bree Morris

| Photographer Credit: Terry Marshall/Euan Cameron Photography

Current North Island Formula Ford Series champion Bree Morris has some good advice for young drivers contemplating moving up to single seater racing and entering the New Zealand Formula Ford scene. Having moved through kartsport and Formula First, the 18-year-old Aucklander has spent two seasons competing in both the South and North Island Series as well as the NZ Formula Ford Championship, culminating in winning the northern series.

“I think personally, you don’t have time to muck around so you need to do it (Formula Ford) properly,” commented Morris. “It’s much better to do it with people who know what they are doing.

“Experience wise, you probably only have two years so might as well do it properly.

“I learnt a valuable lesson in Formula First and luckily it didn’t cost a lot. You definitely need a good car and a good team.”

Bree Morris won the North Island Formula Ford Series – photo by Terry Marshall

Having started karsport at the age of 10 years, Morris later moved up to single seater racing and tried her hand at Formula First.

“Dad and I did that by ourselves and it didn’t go very well. We really didn’t know what we were doing.”

The purchase of the ex-Josh Bethune winning Ray GR17 was the first step towards competing in Formula Ford. The car was somewhat unique being the first new Ray chassis imported into New Zealand at the time when the car to beat was the Mygale while several new Spectrum’s were also being imported from Australia.

“Dad looked at the different top running cars and there was a Ray that became available and an awesome team to go with it,” she commented regarding the team at Motorsport Solutions who had worked with Bethune.

In her first season, Morris was an unexpected entry in two rounds of the 2020/21 South Island Formula 1600 Championship at Teretonga Park in Invercargill and Timaru International Raceway. A surprise because few North Island drivers had ventured south to compete and this turned out to be one of the keys to her eventual success in the category, as for several seasons the best competition has been in the South Island Series.

Bree Morris in her NAPA Auto Parts Formula Ford – photo by Terry Marshall

She acquitted herself well, always finishing in the top ten across six-races against some top competition, including eventual series winner and national champion James Penrose. Meanwhile, in the North Island Series she finished third overall in her rookie season.

“We did both the South Island and national rounds with Motorsport Solutions and learnt a lot of the basics which enabled Dad and I to run the car by ourselves in the North Island Series.”

Again, in her second season she returned south for rounds in Christchurch and Timaru as well as contesting the North Island Series, eventually winning the 2021/22 title.

“Yes, that was a very pleasant surprise,” said Morris. “We missed the first round and I never thought that we would be in with a chance until the penultimate race.”

The key to Morris winning the title was not just her new ability to win, but also to continue winning races. While her only DNF, due to running out of fuel, was in her first North Island race in the second round at the Taupo International Motorsport Park, she then went on to win the next three on-the-trot, part of a total of five victories across nine podiums from 12 starts.

“Formula Ford has been a really good stepping-stone. It has been really important and winning certainly looks good on the CV.”

So, what’s next for Bree Morris?

“We are doing some ‘wings and slicks’ testing with the goal to get into both the Toyota Racing and the W Series.”

Winning the North Island Formula Ford Series gave her a free test in a FT50, the chassis that was previously used in the Castrol Toyota Racing Series prior to the current FT60.

“I absolutely loved it. It is such a stiff chassis with no leeway for mistakes. It reminded me of driving a kart where smoothness is required whereas the Formula Ford is more forgiving.

“The hard thing is to gauge how it went. It was a wet test and its not the best confidence booster going out in the wet. It wasn’t scary, just nerve-racking.”

She hasn’t mucked around in her two years competing in Formula Ford and would be first to admit that it has definitely set up a foundation for her to now move up the single seater ladder.

Benjamin Carrell is a freelance motorsport writer and currently edits talkmotorsport.co.nz. He writes for a number of Kiwi drivers and motorsport clubs. That's when he's not working in his horticultural day-job or training for the next road or mtb cycle race!


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