Conceived by Geoff Clarke, manager of the racing school at brands Hatch, Formula Ford was introduced in 1967 for novice drivers as a means of getting a start in racing at an affordable cost.
The original Formula Ford cars were based on those used at the racing school but fitted with a stock 1500cc / 91.5 cui pre crossflow Ford Cortina GT motor in place of the much more expensive to maintain Formula 3 race tuned motors.
Brands Hatch played host to the very first Formula Ford race on July 12th, 1967. The race was one by Ray Allen driving a Lotus 51 similar to the one featured in todays blog.
The first batch of Lotus 51 frames, including Ray Allen’s car, were actually welded up as Lotus 31‘s for use in Formula 3 but were retrospectively given the Lotus 51 tag when built to Formula Ford spec.
Differences between the Lotus 51 and later 51A, seen here at Prescott, were minimal. For example brackets for an oil reservoir were not required on many 51A’s, if they ran with wet sump motor’s.
Of the estimated 251 Lotus 51’s built, one, known as the 51R and unofficially as the Flower Power Lotus, was built as a road legal car complete with lights and mud guards.
Today’s featured Lotus 51A is driven by hill climber Briony Serrell.
Thanks for joining me on this ‘Flower Power’ edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !