Louise Richardson’s Brands Hatch Formula Ford debut

Louise Richardson (photo by Marc Waller)Louise Richardson made her single seater racing debut last weekend at Brands Hatch as she took part in the first rounds of the British Formula Ford championship.

It was a late deal that enabled her to race in the opening weekend with the deal being confirmed on the Friday. This did enable her to join in the Friday testing where she drove the car for the first time ever.

Her 2012 Mygale Formula Ford is the same one driven and developed by her elder brother Andy last season. Andy is now managing the Richardson Racing team although he hopes to be racing himself at some point during the season. Louise showed good pace during testing and things looked good for qualifying where she hoped to get a top ten position. But a gearbox problem meant she missed qualifying which meant she would have to start from the back in the first race.

Louise had a good if uneventful first race, staying on the same lap as the leaders and passing several of her rivals to take tenth as well as the “Most improved driver” award for making up the most positions during the race. The prize was a cheque for £500. The second race was at the end of Saturday and this time she finished eleventh. The final race was on Sunday and again she took a decent eleventh place finish. These were good results given that she hadn’t ever driven the car before the weekend with many of her rivals having had full pre-season testing programs.

Louise lies eleventh in the championship after the weekend events, and fourth amongst the scholarship class championship.

Louise spoke about how things had gone;
“It’s been a big learning curve for me this weekend, probably the biggest learning curve I’ve had so far in my career,” she said. “I found time throughout the weekend and I feel that my technique has improved, as driving this car is totally different to the Ginettas I’ve raced in the past.

“With the extra aero, you can carry a lot more speed through the corners, so I’ve had to get my head around the fact that I could keep pushing beyond the point where I’d have to ease off in the past.

Louise Richardson (photo by Marc Waller)Louise Richardson (photo by Marc Waller)“I’ve been able to learn a huge amount, although the weekend has also shown me that I need to work on improving the strength in my arms as it’s a lot more challenging to drive the Ford than it was to drive the Ginetta. You feel every little movement through the steering wheel and there is no time to rest; not even on the straights.

“Overall, I feel I’ve done a solid job for my first race weekend in single-seaters, especially when you consider that that is the most time I have spent in the car. Hopefully now we can sort something out for Donington Park so I can try and push closer to the midfield.”

The Richardson Racing team also ran a second car during the Brands Hatch weekend for journalist and broadcaster Ben Constanduros, who recovered from an incident in Friday testing to take three twelfth place finishes on his first weekend in Formula Ford.

The story of his race weekend was being documented for a feature that will be shown on the XCar Youtube channel sometime in the near future.

If Louise can sort out a deal, she’ll be racing again at Donington park over the Easter weekend. by Marc Waller

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