In memory of the New Zealander, Chris Amon, who passed away today at the age of 73. He debuted in 1963 and did his last Grand Prix in 1976, driving for teams like Matra and Ferrari. Mr. Amon is commonly regarded as the greatest Formula One driver to never win a Grand Prix. He did however win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966 with Bruce McLaren, driving the mighty #2 Ford GT40.

Chris Amon (1943-2016)

Formula Ford Silverstone and Uniquely Flavored Crisps

As I mentioned in my last entry, this past weekend Austin and I attended the final round of the 2011 Formula Ford Championship, held at Silverstone. I have been to Silverstone once before, when I went to the F1 race in 2005. Although as anyone who follows Formula One knows, it has changed a lot in the last few years. Our goals for the weekend were to speak to the Formula Ford officials to sort of announce our intentions, get information on the new 2011 car (which will introduce turbo chargers and sequential transmissions), and gauge the overall mood of the series and the events in which it competes.

Overall, it was a success on all counts. We spoke to a lovely woman named Penny, who is the organizer for the series. She was very friendly and welcoming, and answered a lot of questions. Unfortunately it looks like the new car is a bit out of our reach, at around £50,000 (US$78,000). However, there will be a second class for older cars that will be run simultaneously, and with the top teams buying new cars, there should be a lot of high quality second hand formula fords flooding the market. And as anyone who has taken a freshman-year economics class 6 years ago knows, anytime there is an increase in supply without an increase in demand, price goes down ( or something like that, right? It was an 8am class so naturally I went on the first day and not again until midterms…).

The overall atmosphere of the event was more laid back than I expected, which has both positives and negatives. On the positive side, we will be welcomed in, even without a huge multi-car transporter and luxury hospitality suite. On the negative side, it will be more difficult to sell sponsorship to an event that doesn’t have an atmosphere with the buzz of a major event. Although, Silverstone is a massive facility, so perhaps at some of the smaller venues the crowd will seem larger. Another positive is that the laid back atmosphere didn’t detract from the competition at all. In the race that we saw, the lead changed many times, and the top 5 cars were all nose-to-tail the entire race. It occurred to me that for small, low horsepower cars like the Formula Ford, the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit is almost like Road America, with several very long straightaways and lots of opportunity for drafting.

So we have experienced a Formula Ford event, and overall it has confirmed that it is the place we want to be, and that if we work hard and things fall into place, we just might be able to pull this off. The next step is probably the hardest. In order to pay for garage space and the car, I need to find a job. I don’t really care what I’m doing, as long as it’s not cleaning septic tanks or laying asphalt, but it needs to pay well enough to cover my basic needs (rent, utilities, iRacing subscription, etc.) and the start-up costs for the team. So this might be where all those years at NYU finally come in handy. I’ve already started the search and haven’t found anything yet, but I know the economy is still swirling around the toilet and I probably didn’t do myself any favors by randomly moving to the middle of England.

So that’s whats happened in the last week, and I leave you for now with this thought: Smoked Bacon flavored potato chips! I found them at a store here in Lichfield and they’re amazing! Seriously, in a country that sells chocolate covered bacon, how have no chips manufacturers in the US thought of this yet?  

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