FFR-FOR drivers leave their mark at the Historic Tour Dijon

Dijon-Prenois (France), Achel (Belgium) – Although only a small number of FFR-FOR drivers travelled to the capital of Burgundy, to participate in the Historic Tour Dijon event at the Dijon-Prenois race track, they left quite an impression.

After the qualifying session on Friday, the FFR-FOR Formula Ford 1600 and Zetecs drivers started in their first race on Saturday morning as part of a grid of no less than 37 classic Formula Fords. This included drivers from Belgium, France, Germany, Monaco, Spain and Switzerland, in cars dating from 1970 till 1992.

In the race the Zetecs of Eric Heudicourt (#84) and Maxime Libreton (#15) were quick to take the lead. A large group of FF1600s, including those of FFR-FOR drivers Dieter Häckel and Mattthew Dean, was in hot pursuit and never lost sight of the race leaders. However, due to several incidents the safety car had to come out twice, and with time running out, the organisers decided to bring all cars in after only five laps and arrange for the remaining 7 laps to be driven on Sunday morning.

The Formula Opels and FF2000s had their 1st race on Saturday afternoon, in a field that also included classic F3 and Formula Renault single seaters. With their superior performance four F3s quickly pulled away, with the Formula Opels from Marvin Brandl (#126) and Jochen Thissen (#128) mixing it with the remaining F3s and crossing the finish line as 5th and 6th respectively. Alan Williamson in his Formula Opel crossed the line just ahead of Philip Menzner’s FF2000 and Georges Tomsen’s Formula Opel, making them 13th, 14th and 15th. Andreas Menzner in his FF2000 crossed the line as 21st, after starting as last car on the grid, due to mechanical problems in the qualification.

At 8:35 on Sunday morning it was still chilly when the FF1600s and Zetec went back on the track for the remaining 7 laps of their 1st race. Initially it was a close fought race between the Zetecs of Eric Heudicourt (#84) and Maxime Libreton (#15), but after Heudicourt slid off the track, Libreton took 1st place. FFR-FOR drivers Dieter Häckel (#147) finished 10th in his FF1600, with Matthew Dean (#145) as 13th, but winning the podium in the pre-90 class. Julian Labitzke (#188) in his Zetec crossed the line as 18th, while Georges Tomsen (#18) and Gerhard Hauschulte (#141) finished as 22nd and 27th respectively.

The FF1600s and Zetecs were out again at 14:30 for Race 2, which after another safety car situation, was won by by Maxime Libreton in his Zetec. In the Pre-90 Class Matthew Dean won the podium after crossing the line as 15th, together with Georges Tomsen (22nd) and Gerhard Hauschulte (23rd) . Rookie Julian Labitzke in his Zetec crossed the line as 16th, but this made him the 2nd best Zetec driver in race 2.

Race 2 for the Formula Opels and FF2000s was pretty much a repeat of race 1 with Marvin Brandl and Jochen Thissen juggling for position with the F3s, finishing impressively as 3rd and 4th. initially Alan Williamson was in position to take another FOL-FF2000 podium, but after a spin in the ‘Gauche de la Bretelle’, it was Philip Menzner in his FF2000 who took 3rd place in the ‘Invité’ class after finishing as 9th, beating his father Andreas in his FF2000 (14th), Georges Tomsen in his Formula Opel (18th) and Alan Williamson who crossed the line as 22nd.

Next stop for the FFR-FOR drivers will be the ‘Pinksterraces’ event at the Zandvoort F1 track, on 4 and 5 June.

The FFR-FOR Formula Opels and FF2000s in a field that also included F3 and Classic Formula Renault single seaters.

FFR-FOR kicks off 2022 racing season at Hockenheimring

Marvin Brandl in his Formula Opel after lapping Gerhard Hauschulte (#41) and Bernardo Meyer (#33) in their FF 1600.

Hockenheim (Germany), Achel (Belgium), 25 April 2022 – Under perfect conditions 21 FFR-FOR drivers and 3 guests from the HRA kicked off the 2022 season with two races on the famous Hockenheimring. The field saw several new drivers joining the FFR-FOR, as well as a welcome return of some old hands.

In race 1 the Formula Opels from Marvin Brandl (DEU) and Bernd Suckow (DEU) dominated the field, with the FF Zetec from Pascal Monbaron (SUI) and the Formula Opel from Georges Tomsen (BEL) hot on their heels. The four cars slowly pulled away from the rest of the field, until a suspension problem forced Monbaron to abandon the chase. Falling back, he just managed to cross the line half a second before the second Zetec, driven by Henry Clausnitzer, with Rookie Julian Labitzke (DEU) finishing third. The FF 2000 class was fiercely contested, but ultimately saw Andreas Menzner (DEU) take the lead and cross the line before Onno Zuidema (NED) and Henk van der Spoel (NED). In the FF 1600 class Dieter Häckel (DEU) won first place, initially closely contested by Roel Mulder (NED), even though the latter’s car is a decade older. Third place in the FF 1600 class was taken by Tim Roser (DEU).

For the second race on Saturday a few cars were missing due to technical problems. That didn’t mean it was any less interesting, even though in the end the same winners made it to the podium. After admiring ‘his’ race cars on the track earlier, the trophies were handed at the award ceremony by Peter Hass, who in his former role as chief of Opel Motorsport was involved in the founding of the Formula Opel race class.

One of the new FFR-FOR drivers this weekend was Wichard Theunissen from the Netherlands. He recently switched to a Van Diemen RF82 (FF 2000), after having raced classic touring cars for a number of years. ‘I dropped out in the third lap of race 2 due to a technical problem, but I nevertheless thoroughly enjoyed the experience,’ Wichard said. ‘The FFR-FOR drivers are very competitive on the track, but on the paddock they and the series organizers have been very helpful. For me personally there is still a lot of untapped potential and I look forward to join more racing weekends.’

For the next event the FFR-FOR will move to France, for the Historic Tour Dijon, on 6, 7 and 8 May.

FFR-FOR celebrates 2021 class champions at Nürburgring

After a joyous racing weekend at the Nürburgring, the 2021 class champions of the FFR-FOR were announced on Sunday, 17 October. Klaus-Dieter Häckel from Germany, the most consistent driver throughout the season, won the championship in the Formula Ford 1600 Class, after winning 9 out of 10 races in his VanDiemen RF91. With a total score of 85,67 points he also won first place in the AvD Historic Race Cup, beating Elio Cocciarelli from the HRA who scored an equally impressive 81,80 points.

In the Formula Ford 2000 class Max Wuttke, also from Germany, won the 2021 championship with his Reynard SF86, while Eric Heudicourt from France secured the Formula Ford Zetec championship in his Mygale SJ03, thanks to his two wins at the Nürburgring. Marvin Brandl from Germany won the trophy in the Formula Opel class, also winning 9 out of 10 races in his class.

Starting in two separate groups, the FFR-FOR and HRA brought 36 single seaters on the track for two exciting races. With the HRA and FFR-FOR starting in two separate groups, Marvin Brandl took first place in the Formula Opel class in race 1, benefitting from a 35-second time penalty given to Bernd Suckow, for overtaking behind the safety car. In race 2 Marvin set the pace, with the best overall result, closely followed by Bernd Suckow and Jochen Thissen. In the FF 2000 class Max Wuttke was a clear winner with 2 wins, Klaus-Dieter Häckel dominated the FF 1600 class and Eric Heudicourt won twice in the FF Zetec class.

The last racing weekend of 2021 for the FFR-FOR confirmed the reputation of the unpredictability of the weather at the Nürburgring, one of Germany’s greatest and oldest F1 circuits. The free training on Friday was driven in heavy rain, resulting in several small incidents. On Saturday however the two qualifying sessions were driven under chilly but dry conditions, while the races on Sunday were performed under perfect conditions that even saw a little sunshine.

Press Release PR004: Weekend of contrasts for FFR-FOR at Zandvoort Race Classics

Zandvoort (Netherlands), Achel (Belgium), 19 July 2021 – It was a weekend of contrasts for the FFR-FOR at the Zandvoort Race Classics, held from 16 to 18 July at the track that will host this year’s Dutch Grand Prix. Again joining forces with the HRA (Historic Racecar Association) under the banner of the AvD Historic Race Cup, the FFR-FOR had two uneventful qualifying sessions on Friday.

In the first race on Saturday morning however, a large number of cars had missed the pre-grid and were starting from the pitlane. The mêlée that followed resulted in a lot of near and actual race incidents, several Code 60 and safety car situations, with ultimately 4 cars not able to continue the race. In the end the winners in the various FFR-FOR classes could be declared. Klaus-Dieter Häckel (GER) with his VanDiemen RF91 won in the Formula Ford (FF) 1600 class, Max Wuttke (GER) with his Reynard SF86 in the FF 2000 class, Pascal Monbarron (SUI) in his Reynard SF86 was the first FF Zetec to cross the line and Marvin Brandl (GER) came first in the Formula Opel class.

The second race on Sunday on the other hand was exemplary. Under excellent racing conditions there was a lot of competitive action without any incidents, making it another great track day for the FFR-FOR. Winners were Klaus-Dieter Häckel (GER) with his VanDiemen RF91 in the Formula Ford (FF) 1600 class, Max Wuttke (GER) with his Reynard SF86 in the FF 2000 class and  Pascal Monbarron (SUI) in his Reynard SF86 in the FF Zetec class. In the Formula Opel class Georges Tomsen (BEL) took his first win this season, with Jochen Thissen (GER) second and Marvin Brandl third.

Compliments go to the organization of the Zandvoort Race Classics for pulling together a very interesting programme on one of the best loved tracks in the FFR-FOR programme.  After the summer the FFR-FOR will be back at Hockenheim for the ADAC Racing Weekend, 17 to 19 September.

Press Release PR003: FFR-FOR back at Hockenheim for FHR Spring Classic

Hockenheim (Germany), Achel (Belgium), 10 May 2021 – It was an impressive line-up of formula cars on Saturday 8 May. The FFR-FOR formula cars joined forces with the HRA (Historic Racecar Association) for two races at Hockenheim, as part of the FHR Spring Classic. More than 35 formula cars were on the grid; an impressive number since drivers from the UK, Denmark and the Netherlands are still not able to join because of Covid restrictions.

In race 1 the HRA group got onto the track first, followed 30 seconds later by the FFR-FOR Formula Fords and Formula Opel Lotus’. After the rolling start it didn’t take long for Marvin Brandl (Formula Opel), Max Wuttke (FF 2000), Jo Zosso (FF Zetec) and Georges Tomsen (Formula Opel) to catch up with the slower of the HRA drivers, resulting in an attractive and competitive race. At the end of the 1st race Klaus-Dieter Häckel won the FF1600 class, Max Wuttke the FF2000 class, Jo Zosso the FF Zetec, while Marvin Brandl took the first prize in the Formula Opel class.

In race 2, in the jostling for position after the rolling start, an unfortunate incident occurred when the tyres of Jo Zosso and Sarène Ziffel (FF Zetec) rubbed. This caused her to spin and collide with Georges Tomsen (Formula Opel), leading to a red flag situation. Luckily no one was injured, but it took a while for the race to recommence.  After the restart race 2 pretty much mirrored  race 1, with a lot of action of the track and the same class winners.  Interestingly Julian Labitzke (FF Zetec) managed to get on the podium as well on his first race day ever, with a 3rd position in race 2.

Racing conditions were excellent making this another great track day for the FFR-FOR, also thanks to the cooperation of the FHR organization and HRA. Next the FFR-FOR will move to Most Autodrom in the Czech Republic, for the European NASCAR event on 18-20 June.

Press Release PR002: Successful start of 2021 racing season for FFR – FOR at Hockenheim

Hockenheim (Germany), Achel (Belgium), 17 April 2021 – Under perfect racing conditions, Marvin Brandle from Germany dominated the FFR-FOR field in his Formula Opel Mk.II, closely followed by Pascal Monbaron from Switzerland in his Formula Ford Zetec, in both races for the ‘City of Stuttgart Trophy’ held at the Hockenheimring on 17 April. Behind the two leaders it was a closely fought race with many racing cars  juggling for positions.

After so many races last year having to be cancelled due to Covid, the FFR-FOR drivers were happy to be out on the track again. With seventeen cars the field was a bit smaller than usual, as several drivers were unable to join because of travel restrictions, but it was enough for two interesting races and for the drivers to have fun. The next FFR-FOR track day will be held again at Hockenheim, on 8 May, as part of the FHR Spring Classic.

Although the event had to be held without spectators, the MSC Stuttgart has to be congratulated for organizing a great racing event at Hockenheim. The track days saw an interesting mix of racing classes, ranging from the ‘Fighting Dwarfs’ to sportscars to Porsche GTs, as well as the formula cars of the FFR-FOR.

Press Release PR001: Formula Opel and Formula Ford Racing in Germany, Benelux and France under new management

Burladingen (Germany), Achel (Belgium), 3 November 2020As of the 2021 season the classic Formula Opel and Formula Ford racing series in Germany, the Benelux and France, as organized by Sportservice Richter, will come under new management. Frank Richter and his wife Karin have decided to hand over the series to Wilco Ibes from VIT Race & Tyre Services NV, already involved as a service supplier to both championships.

“After 11 years of organising the FFR and FOR racing series it is time for us to say goodbye,” says Frank Richter. “We would have loved to tell our participants at the championship celebration that we had planned at Hockenheim, but unfortunately we had to cancel that event due to Covid-19. However, we are very anxious that the racing series continue. We think we have found a great successor in Wilco Ibes from VIT RTS, who is already well known and trusted by the teams for the technical support of the FFR and FOR series. We wish Wilco all the best for the future.”

“I am very proud of the confidence Sportservice Richter have placed in me to make the FFR and FOR  series an ongoing success for the participants,” adds Wilco Ibes. “Frank Richter and his wife Karin have been instrumental in building the series over the past years. We are now very busy working with Frank to make the transition as smooth as possible. The 2021 season has already been planned and drivers will receive their calendars soon.”