Classic Formula Ford Features HSCC

Meet James Fettiplace

James Fettiplace has been around in Classic Formula Ford for most of the season, but as he scored his first top-ten finish at Mallory at the weekend, what better time to get to know him and his car a little better?

The picture above this article doesn’t actually show James, but it does show his car. He bought Mark Armstrong’s 2018 Class A title-winning Van Diemen RF80 at the start of the season, but it has proved more of a challenge to run than its on-paper pedigree would suggest.

It took three attempts to get the orange Van Diemen to the end of the race and when I talked to Fettiplace at Brands Hatch earlier in the year, he had just finished his first race in it without spinning.

Armstrong also had plenty of trouble with the car, particularly relating to the electrics, which had a habit of malfunctioning and causing power loss.

“So I’ve heard, after buying it!” admitted Fettiplace, but added that “electrically, it’s fine…the electrical gremlins were sorted by Mark Shaw.”

The Brands race where he scored his first finish “with the car pointing the right way the whole time” was affected by oil on the track surface and it seems that he is something of a slippy-asphalt expert in the making; a Historic Formula Ford competitor suffered a major oil loss in qualifying and made the first Mallory bends quite tricky.

Having got his first points in the bag, his confidence will be in the ascendant.

“The only way is up,” he said. “I just need to brake as well.”

Image by Andrew Ellis

By Rachel Harris-Gardiner

Rachel Harris-Gardiner is the editor of Vintage Formula Ford and former Historic editor for She is a regular contributor to Autosport and Motorsport News and writes her own blog about women in motorsport, Speedqueens.

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