Team USA Shut out in Formula Ford Festival

Written by Team USA. Posted in Team USA News

Published on October 23, 1994 with No Comments

Oct 23, 1994
Dartford, England — Valvoline Team USA Formula Ford Festival scholarship winners Mike Borkowski and Clay Collier gained valuable experience but otherwise endured a disappointing weekend in the International Formula Ford Festival and World Cup at Brands Hatch, England.

Despite working hard on their Zetec-powered Van Diemens during a full week of testing prior to the event, which drew a total of more than 130 Formula Ford contenders from 20 nations around the globe, neither driver was able to graduate through into the Formula Ford Zetec Grand Final on Sunday afternoon.

It wasn’t due to a lack of effort. Borkowski and Collier have proven themselves to be among the most promising young drivers in American racing this season, winning a professional Formula 2000/Continental championship title apiece, yet they encountered problems in adapting to the tricky low-grip Zetec cars.

“The cars are very difficult to drive,” summarized Collier, 19, an impressive winner of this year’s extremely competitive USAC Formula 2000 Championship. “They have practically the same power as my 2000 but about half the tire, so it took me a while to get used to the lack of grip. There is no grip! I think it would take me more than just a few days to get used to it, because these cars demand an entirely different style to what both Mike and I have been used to. If I were to come back — and I’d love to –“ I’d definitely like to have some more time in the car.”

In gorgeous fall weather conditions for Finals day, Borkowski, 21, took advantage of a first-lap melee and moved up well to 12th place in the early stages of his Semi-Final race. Unfortunately, he slipped back to 15th position by the completion of his 15-lap race, not quite enough to qualify for the final. Collier also made a tenacious run but could manage only 17th, despite climbing ahead of fellow American Jeret Schroeder, who was driving the more favored Swift chassis.

Both drivers were disappointed not to qualify for the Zetec Final (which was won in fine style by young Danish driver Jason Watt in a Vector chassis), yet they remained upbeat.

“It’s definitely been a good experience and I think it’s made me a better driver,” said Collier. “It really makes you work within yourself to get faster. I’m very grateful to all those who have supported our efforts – and especially Steve Horne [proprietor of TrueChoice and co-owner of the two-time Firestone Indy Lights championship-winning Tasman Motorsports team], who took the time out of his busy schedule to come watch us race.”

This year’s Team USA Scholarship was made possible by the support of Valvoline, Ford SVO, Derek Daly, Driving Incorporated USA, Electronic Arts, John Downing, Primus Racing and TrueChoice.

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