Freddie Hunt, the 19-year-old son of 1976 Formula One World Champion James Hunt, is to race in the 2007 British Formula Ford Championship.

Having tested several single-seater cars, including Formula BMW and Formula Palmer Audi, Hunt has opted to take his first steps in motor racing with Formula Ford.

Hunt tested the latest Van Diemen chassis at Snetterton last week, and then signed immediately with the championship. He is talking to several teams before deciding which chassis he will race. Likewise, negotiations with potential sponsors are ongoing.

“I am relieved and excited to have made this decision,” said Freddie, ahead of his maiden season of competition. “There is a range of racing categories for young drivers but I have concluded that Formula Ford is the best option for me.

 “The fact that my father and my uncle, David, both raced in Formula Ford is a bonus and I am proud to be carrying on the family tradition with Ford. I can’t wait to get started.”

Mike Norton, UK motorsport manager for Ford TeamRS, is delighted by Freddie’s decision: “We could not be happier to welcome Freddie to Formula Ford, the established training ground for Grand Prix drivers of the future.

 “Freddie’s late father raced in Formula Ford in the ’60s and his World Championship-winning McLaren Formula One car was powered by Ford. It’s marvellous to see yet another generation ready to gain valuable track experience with us, as did 50 per cent of the drivers on the current Formula One grid.”

Formula Ford celebrates its 40th anniversary this season. It was conceived in 1967 and caught on like wildfire. In 1968 there were three separate championships organised in Britain and within two years that number had grown to seven. Formula Ford reached mainland Europe and the USA in 1969 and by 1971 had spread as far as Brazil.

The Formula Ford record books read like a who’s who of motorsport. Ayrton Senna won two British Formula Ford championships, and Formula Ford was instrumental in the career development of many World Champions including Nigel Mansell and the most successful driver in the history of the sport, Michael Schumacher. James Hunt and his fellow Formula One Champions Emerson Fittipaldi, Jody Scheckter, Damon Hill and Mika Hakkinen all started their racing careers in Formula Ford.

The most recent graduate to be elevated to the rank of Grand Prix winner is the 1998 British Formula Ford Champion, Jenson Button.

Published : 20/03/07 Author : Melanie Carter

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