Festival memories as Boyd targets Estoril victory
This weekend a year ago, Wayne Boyd was racing to victory for a second time in the famed Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch, cementing his reputation as the best FF1600 driver of the past decade.
Fast forward 12 months and Boyd will be far away at the Estoril circuit in Portugal when the Formula Ford brigade from around the world gather in Kent for the annual festival, which has been running for more than 30 years and helped launch the careers of the likes of Mark Webber, Jenson Button and Eddie Irvine.
Instead of a little 1600cc Van Diemen or Mygale, Boyd will be at the wheel of a 450 horse power Ligier-Nissan sportscar for the final round of the European Le Mans series and will, no doubt, be hoping history can repeat itself on the same day.
Picked up by the Anglo-American United Autosports team for his first foray into sportscar racing, Boyd has been one of the fastest LMP3 drivers in the championship, qualifying on pole position, setting fastest laps and landing two podium finishes.
But victory has eluded him and team-mates Matt Bell and Mark Patterson so far, much of it down to ill luck, whereas Alex Brundle, Mike Guasch and Christian England in the other UA Ligier are already champions.
"Hopefully, now that we have set our bad luck to the side and managed to get back on to the podium in the previous round at Spa, we can carry the momentum into this last race," said Boyd. "I loved the Estoril track when we tested there and it's now one of my favourites. It's got everything from high speed braking zones, a very slow technical chicane and a proper fast last corner that goes on forever!
"We are going there to win to end our season on a high. We've had the pace to win races this season so this is our last chance."
A win on the anniversary of his Festival success would be the icing on a memorable year for the Templepatrick driver.
Meanwhile, close to a dozen Irish drivers, led by Martin Donnelly Trophy winner Niall Murray and new Northern Ireland champion Alan Davidson, will be at Brands Hatch trying to emulate Boyd's 2015 victory.
Murray, the new British champion and the Festival winner in 2013, is again among the favourites but the Irish contingent also includes two former NI champions in Noel Robinson and Jake Byrne, as well as Motorsport Ireland's Young Driver of the Year, 16-year-old Jordan Dempsey.
The Festival starts tomorrow with the final on Sunday.