The Australian Formula Ford Series has formed an alliance with the Road to Indy ladder system, aimed at helping young Australians progress towards IndyCar racing.
The deal has been struck between the Formula Ford Association and Road to Indy co-ordinators Andersen Promotions and will see the winner of the Australian series score a two-day test in an USF2000 car.
A yet-to-be finalised assistance package to compete full-time in the USF2000 category will also be a part of the prize, while the Formula Ford Series points score will now be referred to as the ‘Driver to US Series’.
The IndyCar sanctioned Road to Indy program includes the USF2000, Pro Mazda and Indy Lights classes.
Australia’s Matthew Brabham is among those currently climbing the heralded ladder system, proving a race winner in Indy Lights this year after winning the USF2000 and Pro Mazda titles in consecutive seasons.
The Formula Ford Association hopes that the link to IndyCar will help attract competitors to its class, which has continued as a national series this year following CAMS’ decision to discontinue the category as a national championship.
The move comes as CAMS pushes its European-aligned Formula 4 category, which it hopes to debut in Australia next season.
“Forging an international motor racing career has been seen to be out of reach for many young aspiring Australian drivers but this alliance provides them with not only a pathway to an international racing career but also a great opportunity to take their first steps to a career racing Indy Cars,” said FFA co-ordinator Andrew Sill.
“We are proud to partner with the Road to Indy ladder system owner Dan Andersen and his team who offer highly professional series to build the bridge between Australian Formula Ford racing and an international career.”
Road to Indy promoter Dan Andersen noted the previous competitiveness of ex-Australian Formula Ford drivers when stepping into USF2000.
“Our partnership with the Formula Ford Association was a natural fit,” said Andersen.
“It is the premier driver development category in Australia.
“We’ve seen their graduates like Matthew Brabham and Luke Ellery move into USF2000 and not only win races but championships.
“It’s a testament to the quality of Formula Ford Racing in Australia and it is the perfect stepping stone to the Mazda Road to Indy.”
The ‘Driver to US Series’ name harks back to the Driver to Europe moniker that the Australian Formula Ford Series ran under between 1971 and 1992.
During that period, the series winner was awarded a one-way plane ticket to Europe, but received no support once they arrived.
“We thought it fitting to rename the revamped Australian Formula Ford Series point score for the Formula Ford category the Driver to US Series to reflect our focus on building value for those that choose to race Formula Ford in Australia,” added Sill.
Each Australian Formula Ford entry will carry a Road to Indy logo as part of the alliance, while the two categories say they will embark on mutually beneficial cross-promotions.