The Souley Motorsport team is a familiar presence in the modern Formula Ford 1600 paddock and is active most weekends during the season. This year, it takes on a new challenge in the shape of Historic Formula Ford 2000.
VFF spoke to team principal Brian Soule at Brands Hatch, his first weekend working with both a FF2000 and a historic car, in the hands of driver Ollie Roberts.
The two go back a long way. When Roberts was racing Formula Ford 1600 in the 2000s, Soule was an engineer working on his car.
“Back when I was working for another team, Ollie was one of the drivers, so that’s how we knew each other.”
Soule goes on to explain how the new deal took shape.
“It was literally just a couple of phone calls. He rang me and said ‘I’m thinking about coming back and doing something’. He said he didn’t really want to go over old ground by driving another 1600, so he said ‘what about the two litre stuff?’ and I said, yeah, we can do that.”
The team isn’t having too much trouble adapting to a FF2000, despite being FF1600 specialists since 2008.
“It’s quite a similar car to a 1600 in the way it’s put together. Obviously, a different engine and with the wings and slicks on it, but it’s not dissimilar to what we’ve done before. It didn’t feel like it was going to be too much of a jump for us.”
Although the basic workings of the two Formula Fords are quite similar, the addition of slicks and wings makes setting up a FF2000 car rather different.
“From a mechanical, sort of getting the car to run properly side of it, I don’t think my boys who do the spanners for me are going to find it that different. But from an engineering point of view, I think it will end up being quite a different car.”
The slightly slower pace of the historic paddock, compared to the National scene, is helping.
“It’s a bit more laid back. There seems to be more time between each time we’re on the track, so that’s quite nice, especially when we’re running a new car. It gives us more chance to get everything organised.
“We’ve still got some time to find, which will come from Ollie and the car, I think. We’re looking forward to getting our teeth into it over the course of the year.”
It’s a challenge that Soule is glad to have.
“We’ve only run 1600 Kent cars since 2008. I think we feel like we’re probably totally on top of that now, and find it not boring, but we can do it without thinking so much now. So we thought we’d give ourselves something more of a challenge.”
Roberts is planning on keeping his Reynard for at least a few seasons and Soule isn’t in a hurry to move up the historic single-seater ladder yet.
“I always feel that I want to try and master something before I move on to the next step.
“Once we get to the end of those first two seasons (with Roberts), if we’re really on top of something, then we might look to move on. But I’d like to master this first.”
Roberts will be in action again at Snetterton with Souley Motorsport, the third of six consecutive weekends on track for the team, which is also running cars in the Castle Combe, United and BRSCC Northern championships.
(Image courtesy Souley Motorsport)