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Supercars team boss to make Formula Ford comeback

By Andrew van Leeuwen

The Blanchard Racing Team owner has extensive experience in Formula Ford, having won a hotly-contested national title against Ash Walsh and James Moffat.

He then finished second in the British Formula Ford Championship the following year before returning to Australia to race Supercars.

Even since stepping back from full-time racing himself Blanchard has continued to make sporadic Formula Ford appearances, mostly at historic events such as the Phillip Island Classic.

Next weekend, however, he will make a comeback to contemporary Formula Ford racing with this one-off outing in the national championship round as part of the Winton SuperSprint.

Like in his title-winning year, Blanchard will race a Sonic Motor Racing Services-run Mygale, which will even carry the same livery he used in 2007.

According to Blanchard, the comeback is a test to see if he can still mix it with young drivers at the peak of their Formula Ford game.

If it goes well, he may look to race at the Walter Hayes Festival in the UK.

“I’m really looking forward to getting back to Formula Ford at Winton. It’s a category that I’ve always loved and I have a real soft spot for,” said Blanchard.

“I’ve been doing historic Formula Ford racing for the last few years and I really enjoy driving the cars, so I was keen to try a new challenge and pit myself against all of the young stars coming through.

“The hidden agenda is that I’d really like to do Walter Hayes Festival at Silverstone at some point, so I wanted to see how I go against the current level of drivers and see if I’m wasting my time or not!

“I also want to keep race miles up ahead of the Bathurst 1000, and with this Winton Formula Ford round on the Supercars bill, it’s a good chance to do it. I’m already going to be there, so I thought this was a handy opportunity.

“There’s a real nostalgic element with Mick and Maria [Ritter] from Sonic too. Tim Slade prepared my Formula Ford back in 2007 with Sonic, so on the Friday, he’s going to come over and give the team a hand – it’s a full reunion.

“Also, from a BRT point of view, you always need to keep an eye on the future, and what better way to assess the future stars than to actually get in the car and race against them and see what they’ve got.

“In terms of expectations, I have mixed feelings. On one hand, I feel like I should be up the front. I’m pretty experienced in racing, so I should be competitive, but on the flip side I haven’t raced a Duratec-powered Formula Ford in 15 years, and these guys are racing them all the time, so I’m not really sure where I’ll land.”

The Winton SuperSprint will take place on May 21-22.

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