MOTOR RACING: Castle Bytham racer Richardson makes her Formula Ford debut at Brands Hatch

Louise Richardson (no 72)
Louise Richardson (no 72)
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Castle Bytham-based racing driver Louise Richardson made her presence known in her single-seater race debut at Brands Hatch over the weekend.

She was granted an 11th hour opportunity to contest the opening rounds of the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain, with her inclusion only confirmed the day before Friday testing.

Driving the same Ford Eco-Boost-powered Mygale, developed and raced by her older brother Andy (who is now managing the Richardson Racing team and putting together his own racing programme), Louise made good progress in the two test sessions but a gearbox problem in qualifying put her at the back of the grid for race one.

She stayed out of trouble throughout the 26-lap opening encounter and made up places to secure a 10th place finish and earn herself the ‘Most Improved Driver’ award for making up the most positions .

Louise finished 11th in both of the two remaining races to complete a solid single-seater debut which left her 11th in the standings and fourth amongst the Scholarship class runners.

Louise said it had been a big learning curve: “I’ve been able to learn a huge amount, although the weekend has also shown me that I need to work on improving the strength in my arms as it’s a lot more challenging to drive the Ford than it was to drive the Ginetta. You feel every little movement through the steering wheel and there is no time to rest, not even on the straights.”

The next rounds of the Formula Ford Championship will be held at Donington Park.