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FFord Festival winner Jonathan Browne to stay in FF1600 for 2020

by Ida Wood

Formula Ford Festival winner Jonathan Browne will continue to race in FF1600 in 2020 rather than pursue a Formula 4 move.

The Irishman has raced in BRSCC National FF1600 for the last two seasons with Cliff Dempsey Racing, and only had one win to his name prior to the Festival. He dominated his heat, semi-final and the final itself to win the 48th edition of the event.

Browne’s name is now alongside the likes of Formula 1 stars Jenson Button, Johnny Herbert, Eddie Irvine and Mark Webber on the winner’s list, and his success has also earned him a prize British F4 test with Fortec Motorsports.

“The strategy for the final was just to go [flat-out],” Browne told Formula Scout.

“Tried to break the tow, which I did. Oil went down, made it difficult, but we did it. I’m speechless right now.”

After taking comfortable wins in the knockout stages of the event, Browne ruled out changing his set-up for the final, despite the cooler temperatures.

“We’ve run the same set-up all week, apart from in the rain obviously. When it’s been dry, we’ve just always sent it like this. To dominate the weekend like that is cool. We’ll be back to defend the title next year.”

CDR team boss Cliff Dempsey, who was running the Team USA and Canada scholars and his Indy Lights race-winning son Peter in a six-car line-up, also spoke to Formula Scout about the team’s success.

“Basically he listened to everything I told him,” Dempsey said. “From when he started a year ago, I asked him to lose some weight, asked him to get fit, asked him to learn how to focus, and that’s what he did. I think I could have put any set-up on that car this weekend and he would have driven it just as quick, I really do. He was mega all weekend.

I knew from the semi-final, where his opening lap was a 50.8s, and we were on old tyres [that he’d win]. I said: if you can get away early on and break the tow, I don’t think they can catch you. The pace he had was mega.

“We had a test day earlier this year here, and he did those times then. And it was all about being able to repeat those times. I told him before he went out it would be 20 laps of qualifying, and that’s what it was.

“He’s going to do National F1600 next year. He’ll do the test in the F4, do one more year in this just to complete the job and learn the full process, and then he’ll be ready to move on.”

Dempsey’s also attributed his strategy to keep new tyres for the final, which took place on a colder track surface as the sun set, as another key element of Browne’s victory.