Kirkwood, Askew Set for the Formula Ford Festival

Written by Team USA. Posted in Feature, Team USA News

Published on October 21, 2016 with No Comments

Kirkwood (left) and Askew are as prepared as they can be.

BRANDS HATCH, England – Kyle Kirkwood and Oliver Askew have turned competitive lap times in pre-event testing and feel well-prepared to make their European car racing debuts in this weekend’s 45th annual Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch. The childhood friends and long-time karting rivals from Jupiter, Fla., will carry the patriotic red, white and blue Team USA Scholarship colors on their pair of Ray Formula Ford cars prepared by Cliff Dempsey Racing.

“When they first arrived I realized we had two really nice guys, so I’m happy with them from that point of view,” said Dempsey. “Obviously it’s a completely new situation for them and they’re new for me but everything seems to be coming together really well. Kyle wanted a slightly different setup to the other guys but when we figured that out and put it on his car he was right on the pace. Overall I’m really pleased with them but I don’t want to say too much because as soon as I do that it will all go pear-shaped, so I’d rather see what we can do and then speak about it on Sunday evening if we do something good.”

Kirkwood and Askew will follow in the footsteps of former IndyCar champion Jimmy Vasser, who competed in the same event as the first-ever Team USA Scholarship winner in 1990, and fellow IndyCar race winner and Indianapolis 500-winning team owner Bryan Herta (1991), as well as recently announced Team Penske Verizon IndyCar Series driver Josef Newgarden, who continued their legacy in 2008 by becoming the first-ever American winner of the Festival.

After initial shakedown tests at Silverstone and Rockingham Motor Speedway, Kirkwood and Askew have spent the past three days learning the nuances of the short but challenging 1.2-mile Brands Hatch Indy circuit.

Jeff Tan images.

“The track is amazing,” said Kirkwood, “especially the elevation change through Paddock Hill Bend. It’s very technical to drive and I think after three days of practice we’re as ready as we’ll ever be. We’ve been at or near the top of the time charts for a majority of the practices and I’m really looking forward to starting the event off with qualifying tomorrow morning!”

This year’s Festival has drawn over 60 entries and a long list of potential winners, including BRSCC Avon Tires Formula Ford 1600 Champion Niall Murray, Beaton’s Scottish FF1600 Champion Neil Maclennan and perennial Formula Ford front-runners and champions Graham Carroll and Joey Foster, plus former British Formula Ford champion Scott Malvern, who is returning to the fray after a lengthy absence.

“The Formula Ford Festival is the most prestigious and most historic FF1600 meeting in the world,” added Askew. “Brands Hatch is a legendary track and I think of it as a bullring because there is barely any time to rest. Everyone will be watching and I believe with the team I have behind me, we can put forth a great effort. I hope to use this opportunity as a stepping stone for my career.”

Please check out the live timing over the weekend at

About Team USA Scholarship:
The program has been providing opportunities for talented American race car drivers at an early stage in their careers since 1990. Supporters include Doug Mockett & Company, the Road Racing Drivers Club and, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, Team Penske, Chip Ganassi Racing, Honda Performance Development, Basecamp, Robertson Racing, CXC Simulations, Lucas Oil School of Racing, PitFit Training, RaceCraft1, Sparco USA, Bell Racing, RACER Magazine, Speedstar Management, Styled Aesthetic and Manifest Group.

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