Formula Scout has gone through the Walter Hayes Trophy entry list to find out who’s likely to shine this weekend, and some of the stories behind the drivers and teams taking part at Silverstone
Few open-wheel racing events can claim to attract close to 100 cars, yet the WHT tends to have a huge entry list year-on-year. The 2023 edition features some returning names that will catch the attention of anyone who is faimilar with this event, and the weekend’s weather report promises a variety of track conditions that could really shake up the heats.
Some at Silverstone were calling heat four the “heat of death” once the draw was revealed, since three of the favourites have been put into that heat together. But as one of those drivers pointed out to Formula Scout, if you beat your rivals in the heats then you know you can do it again the next day in the knockout races and then ultimately the final.
During pre-event testing the number of drivers making last-minute entries into the event was in double figures, and that was after getting a taste of the track mostly in wet conditions. Although it was sunny through much of Friday, the brief spells of rain meant the track was rarely actually dry, while on Thursday one car dropped a lot of oil that combined with the water to make a super slippery surface. Being fast in the wet could be key to success on Saturday, but anyone who has nailed their dry set-up could be in with a stronger chance on Sunday.
In addition to the many late entries, Team Fox Racing’s Tom Cloet will be doing the supporting Monoposto races rather than racing a Formula Ford 1600 car.
Don Hardman Racing
#1 Joey Foster ENGLAND Firman RFR20
2023: no racing Walter Hayes Trophy: 2003, ’04, ’05 & ’22 winner
The man to beat, and everyone knows it. Some in testing even tried following his car in the pits and on track to see if they could learn anything from the Cornish maestro. But since he has spent 2023 helping others race rather than being in the cockpit himself, he may take a while to become the benchmark again.
#2 Rick Morris ENGLAND Royale RP29
2023: 4th in Classic FFord, 27th in FFord Festival WHT: 24th in 2018
As hungry as ever to race, Morris may be in a very old car but he can still take it places including into the final of the WHT and the FFord Festival. The different tyre specification that older FF1600 cars use may be prove better in the wet than what the modern machines run on, which may make for an easier progression into the knockout stages.
#271 Sam Harrison ENGLAND Firman RFR20
2023: semi-finalist in FFF, 52nd in FJunior WHT: Heats in 2021
Harrison was run by Foster at the Festival two weeks ago, with Don Hardman on hand with a spanner or two, and that event was a confidence builder but the expectations are not set too high.
#27 Jacob Tofts ENGLAND Spectrum 011C
2023: United FFord
Tofts starred in United FFord this year, becoming championship runner-up in his maiden season of real-world racing action. He’s the son of Neil, and is a multiple Esports champion. Having raced for Souley Motorsport most of the year, he’s made a team switch this weekend.
#40 Andrew Rackstraw SOUTH AFRICA Spectrum 011C
2023: 3rd in SA GTC, 16th in South African GT WHT: semi-finalist in 2022
Rackstraw absolutely dominated South African Formula 1600 in 2021, then spent the last two years racing touring cars in his home country and recently did a Porsche test with Joe Tandy Racing.
#72 Andrew Schofield SOUTH AFRICA Reynard 89 FF
WHT: semi-finalist in 2021 & ’22
The instigator of the programme bringing his countrymen to race in the UK, Schofield has plentiful experience over the years at home and abroad in FF1600 cars.
#89 Josh Le Roux SOUTH AFRICA Spectrum 011C
2023: BMW M Performance Parts Series WHT: heats in 2022
Le Roux challenged the dominant Rackstraw in 2021 as a rookie, then stepped it up a gear in 2022 and won the South African F1600 title. Like many in the nation, he then headed into touring cars but is back in a single-seater this week.
#92 Michael Eastwell ENGLAND Spectrum 011C
WHT: 2nd in 2022
Eastwell is a wildlife photographer who spends most of his time in Australia, and is currently working on a project focused on the endangered Tasmanian Devil. He came back to the UK recently to attend a major photography award ceremony, catch up with friends and family and then of course to reunite with KMR Sport to race in the WHT.
#171 Julian Van der Watt SOUTH AFRICA Mygale SJ01
2023: currently 7th in SA GTC WHT: 11th in 2019 & ’22
A frequent visitor to Silverstone in Novembers through the KMR-partnered South African single-seater scheme, Van der Watt has had a roller-coaster 2023. In March he was driving at Kyalami when a brake failure at 120mph sent him into th barriers and resulted in his right arm and leg being fractured in multiple places, breaking five ribs, cracking his pelvis, fracturing his spine in four places, dislocating his collarbone and suffering from a collapsed lung.
Yet it only took a few weeks for Van der Watt to be back on his feet, and a bicycle, preparing for a race return. It took a lot of training and surgeries in his leg to get it back to full working order, but by June he was ready to race and made his return in touring cars. It was a successful one too as he stood on the podium, and matching his best WHT finish would be equal to that.
#172 Robert Wolk SOUTH AFRICA Mygale SJ01
2023: SA GTC champion [TBC] WHT: 8th in 2022
Lots of penalties in the final round of South Africa’s Global Touring Car Championship means is it not confirmed yet if Wolk or Saood Variawa is champion. But Wolk is already a proven name since he won the title the year before and has a long history in single-seaters including winning the 2008 South African F1600 title.
#74 Tom Radburn ENGLAND Spectrum 011C
2023: 20th in CCRC FF1600 WHT: 10th in 2006
Since it’s his first time racing at Silverstone, and he drives a Specturum, motocross-turned-FF1600 racer Radburn decided to call on KMR to run his car this weekend having initially planned to go solo. It also helps that KMR boss Kevin Mills lives nearby.
#16 Chris Middlehurst ENGLAND Van Diemen LA10
2023: 3rd in FFF, 7th in BRSCC National FF1600 WHT: 4th in 2021, 5th in 2014, ’17 & ’18
Middlehurst improved his wet set-up during testing, believing that could be key as late into the competition as the semi-finals since the track was taking a long time to dry during testing. He noted the benefit of doing the BRSCC National FF1600 round at Silverstone for getting an understanding of the track in the dry.
#19 Patrick McKenna IRELAND Van Diemen RF99
WHT: 25th in 2008
McKenna will be driving the car usually raced by Morgan Quinn, and he has a long history with team boss Bernard Dolan. The Irishman raced in FF1600 in the late 2000s, and finished the 2008 FFord Festival for Kent-engined cars in second place after a rollbar broke and cost him a shot at the win. Profiting from that to win was future IndyCar star Josef Newgarden.
Following that, McKenna was USF2000 runner-up in 2010 and 14th in USF Pro 2000 the year after.
#26 Jason Smyth IRELAND Ray GR14
2023: NI FF1600, 1 round in United FFord, FFF finalist
The son of 2010 FFord Kent Festival winner Neville Smyth has primarily raced in Northern Irish FF1600 this year, taking a few podiums, and is new to Silverstone.
#32 Isaac Canto da Silva USA Van Diemen LA10
2023: 20th in FFord Festival
The American turned 16, the minimum age for FF1600 in the UK, at the start of October and made his car racing debut in the FFord Festival. He made it all the way to the final, and faced a mix of weather conditions. There will be similar challenges this weekend on a busy track.
#55 Jonathan Kotyk USA Van Diemen LA10
2023: 2nd in SCCA National Runoffs – F1600 WHT: 6th in 2017
Kotyk was a Team USA scholar in 2017, meaning he contested the FFord Festival and WHT that year. Since then he has been a serial winner on home soil, being victorious in the SCCA’s National Runoff for F1600 cars in 2018, ’19, ’21 and ’22 as well as winning the 2019 F1600 Championship Series.
He contacted Dolan nine months ago, looking to tick the box of winning the WHT since it’s the world’s biggest event for this type of car. Kotyk said he wanted to absorb as much as possible against a strong level of competition, and is in Niall Murray’s usual car. Murray is absent due to being busy at Mondello Park.
#99 Jordan Kelly IRELAND Van Diemen RF06
2023: BRSCC National FF1600 champion, 6th in FFF
The reigning BRSCC National FF1600 champion knows that winning the WHT would be a great way to sign off a chapter and move up the single-seater ladder. Silverstone is where he took the title with two wins in September’s season finale, so despite a lack of WHT history he will still be considered one of the favourites.
#21 Jack Sullivan USA Ray GR18
2023: 3rd in F1600 Championship Series, 9th in FFF
As is tradition, there are Team USA scholars in Ammonite’s line-up and both got a taste of racing in the UK by joining a round of the Castle Combe FF1600 championship before embarking on the Festival and the WHT. In the USA’s Honda-powered national F1600 championship, Sullivan won five races, took one pole and four fastest laps.
#22 Ayrton Houk USA Ray GR18
2023: 2nd in F1600 Championship Series, 14th in FFF
Fellow Team USA scholar won three races and took two poles en route to being F1600 Championship Series runner-up. He is easy to spot too with a multi-coloured helmet.
#42 Hugh Esterson USA Ray R18
2023: 48th in F1600 Championship Series, LCR in FFF
The older brother of 2021 WHT winner Max emerged unscathed from a scary crash at the Festival, and this weekend will want to go further than he did there by reaching the final.
#52 Nolan Allaer USA Ray GR20
2023: SCCA National Runoff winner – FContinental, SCCA National Runoff winner – Formula F, 6th in BRSCC National FF1600, 16th in FFF
Allaer’s confidence grew at the Festival as he won his heat and the Last Chance Race, marking his first victories on British soil. He already knows Silverstone from racing in United FFord this year, and got a podium finish on that occasion.
Neil Fowler Motorsport
#34 Jack Butterworth ENGLAND Lola T200
2023: 28th in Historic FFord
Normally a mechanic for the team until last year when Butterworth jumped into the cockpit for a Historic FFord round at Cadwell Park. He did a round at Donington Park this year too.
#56 Ed Thurston ENGLAND Van Diemen RF92
WHT: semi-finalist in 2017
#57 Jeremy Caine ENGLAND Lola T200
WHT: Progression race in 2020 & ’22
#93 Jake Shortland ENGLAND Lola T440
2023: 3rd in Classic FFord WHT: semi-finalist in 2022
Wayne Poole Racing
#80 James Colborn ENGLAND Van Diemen RF07
2023: 17th in CCRC FF1600 WHT: semi-finalist in 2021 & ’22
#81 Josh Fisher ENGLAND Van Diemen RF99
WHT: 2nd in 2008, ’16 & ’17
Let the rivalry resume! Both Fisher brothers are on the grid this weekend, but in different heats. Josh is the less active of the two in FF1600 now, but he did finish third at the WHT last year and has been runner-up three times. Is victory possible?
#82 Ben Mitchell ENGLAND Van Diemen JL16
2023: 3rd in CCRC FF1600 WHT: 3rd in 2021
Before dropped scores were taken into account, Mitchell was not too far behind Felix Fisher and Luke Cooper in the Castle Combe championship, although he did fail to win a race. The WHT is the perfect event to beat his CCRC rivals since he already has podium form here.
#83 Sam Mitchell ENGLAND Merlyn Mk20A
2023: 3rd in CCRC FF1600 (Class D), 11th in Historic FFord WHT: LCR in 2013 & ’22
#12 Drew Cameron ENGLAND Van Diemen RF99
2023: 26th in FFF WHT: 2022 semi-finalist
Cameron was a karter in the early 1990s, then in the 2000s embarked on a sportscar career before spending five years in FF2000. He made his FF1600 debut in a Champion of Brands race in September 2022 but only lasted three corners before rolling his car. Undeterred, he then did the Festival and the WHT.
His father’s best friend designed the Vector TF94 that swept the FFord scene in 1994, and Cameron spent most of his FFord career being run by FF1600 stalwart Colin Gigner, who started off with Gerrit van Kouwen in 1984 and then later ran Vectors before moving into FF2000, until he sadly died last year.
#45 Rory Smith ENGLAND/AUSTRALIA Medina Sport JL18
2023: FFF winner WHT: 7th in 2022
Work commitments meant Smith missed the driest day of pre-event testing, and he is one of the drivers in the “heat of death”. But since it will likely rain in that heat, and B-M Racing worked on improving the set-up for those conditions, he will very much likely be a contender. He arrives at the WHT with some added pressure as the reigning Festival winner.
#117 Tom McArthur ENGLAND Medina Sport BH20
2023: 14th in CCRC FF1600 WHT: 10th in 2018
#7 Felix Fisher ENGLAND Ray GR05
2023: CCRC FF1600 champion, 17th in FFF WHT: 3rd in 2009
Who will finish higher at the WHT this year? Felix or Josh? His incredible 2023 form would suggest Felix, and he will be wanting to prove the calibre of the frontrunners in the CCRC championship.
#28 Tom Hawkins ENGLAND Ray GR11
2023: 5th in CCRC FF1600, 23rd in FFF WHT: 23rd in 2018
#91 Bob Hawkins ENGLAND Ray GR08
2023: 12th in CCRC FF1600, Last Chance Race in FFF WHT: LCR in 2021
The father of Tom used to be a regular at Brands and Combe, but an ankle-breaking accident at Graham Hill Bend soon ended his regular Champion of Brands appearances. He returned to action in 2020 after a break of 33 years.
#122 Vincent Jay ENGLAND Ray GR20
2023: 13th in CCRC FF1600, United FFord WHT: semi-finalist in 2015
#177 Peter Hannam ENGLAND Nike Mk6
2023: 17th in Pre-’74 FF1600 Trophy WHT: Progression race in 2019 & ’21
Simon Hadfield Motorsport
#25 Michael Moyers ENGLAND Medina Mk2
2023: NC in BRSCC National FF1600 WHT: 2017 & ’18 winner
He decided the 2021 edition would be his last, but returned last year and finished 10th with Simon Hadfield Motorsport after spending many years with KMR. He has continued with the team since then, contesting the United FFord and BRSCC National FF1600 rounds at Silverstone to prepare for the WHT.
Specifically that has involved adapting the shorter wheelbased Medina, after many years in a Spectrum, to his driving style and improving the wet weather set-up: something he believes was achieved during the rainy first day of pre-event testing.
#110 Ben Stone ENGLAND Van Diemen RF81
WHT: finalist in 2021
#121 James Littlejohn ENGLAND Van Diemen RF03
2023: 2nd in Spa 6 Hours – GTS10 class
A varied career has included racing in the European Le Mans Series’ LMP3 class, appearing in British GT, doing a lot of historic racing in various forms and starring in Radicals with class titles in the UK and in Europe.
Nigel Grant Motorsport
#43 Callum Grant ENGLAND Van Diemen RF91
2023: Historic FFord chamion, 11th in Classic FFord, LCR in FFF, NC in Super Classic FF1600 WHT: 15th in 2018
#73 Colin Turner SCOTLAND Merlyn Mk20A
2023: 39th in Historic FFord, 6th in Super Classic FF1600 – D class WHT: LCR in 2020
It is coincidence that Turner turns 73 on Sunday and that is also his race number, but what a lovely coincidence.
Turner lost his lower legs in a crash at the 2020 WHT, but was able to attend the event a year later and then last year did a demo run in the Merlyn to much applause. He made his racing return this year at Croft, and also did the last Historic FFord round at Silverstone. It took him six-and-a-half hours (including stops) to tow his FF1600 car down from Scotland and with some seriousnesses he told Formula Scout his ambition this weekend is “to survive”.
He remembers the days of the WHT when the entry list was at its very busiest, and noted that when oil was own on Thursday it was some of the slippiest conditions he’d faced in FF1600. Everyone will be cheering Colin on this weekend.
#143 Tom Bradshaw ENGLAND Van Diemen RF08
WHT: 19th in 2022
#59 Chris Acton ENGLAND Ray GR08
WHT: 25th in 2010
#179 Leanne McShane ENGLAND Van Diemen RF88
WHT: semi-finalist in 2019 & ’20
#182 Ben Cox ENGLAND Ray GR10
2023: 8th in United FFord
Cox is continuing to grow in his sophomore season racing in FFord, and since he’s in Souley’s newest car he has the best potential to make it to the final.
#69 Alan Slater ENGLAND Nike Mk4
WHT: Progression race in 2022
#71 Sam Street ENGLAND Swift SC92F
2023: 8th in CCRC FF1600 WHT: 20th in 2022
Late last year Street switched from Aston Martin to Formula 1 rival Williams… as an aerodynamics design engineer.
#112 Luke Cooper ENGLAND Swift SC20
2023: 2nd in CCRC FF1600, 4th in FFF WHT: 6th in 2018
Having lost out to Felix Fisher in a title fight for the second year in a row, one of the primary objectives for (the very friendly) Cooper this weekend would be to finish above his rival as he did in style at the Festival.
Team Fox Racing
#79 Andrew Pryke Van Diemen RF04
2023: United FFord
#154 Lewis Fox ENGLAND Ray GR14
2023: 17th in BRSCC National FF1600, Super Classic FF1600 WHT: 17th in 2021
Lewis and Dan Fox (the team manager) have a busy weekend on their hands running FF1600 cars in the WHT and Formula 3 cars in the Monoposto races. Lewis contested the National FF1600 finale at Silverstone to get back into the rhythm on a dry track.
#193 Nathan Tupper ENGLAND Swift SC92F
#3 Mike Gardner ENGLAND Crossle 35F
2023: 9th in Classic FFord WHT: 10th in 2006
#29 Mark McKenna IRELAND Crossle 35F
WHT: LCR in 2021
#5 Adam Quartermaine ENGLAND Van Diemen RF19
WHT: 13th in 2009
#87 Jeremy Fairbairn USA Ray GR20
2023: 9th in GB4, United FFord, NC in BRSCC National FF1600
Fairbairn has been part-time in various series in 2023. The factory Ray driver made the podium from two rounds in National FF1600, won the opening race of the season in the Formula 4-spec GB4 series and got multiple podiums in United FFord too.
Graham Brunton Racing
#8 Alex Berg CANADA Ray GR14
2023: Currently 4th in US F4, 13th in FFF
The Team Canada scholar will be back at Silverstone next week for a F4 test, and misses his shot at being United States F4 runner-up by racing in the WHT since it’s on the same date as the season finale.
If you recognise the name, it’s because his dad is former F1 driver and Mexican Formula 2 champion Allen Berg.
#64 Logan Pacza CANADA Ray GR15
2023: Toyo Tires F1600 champion, 12th in FFF
Pacza dominated Ontario’s Toyo Tires F1600 series, becoming champion despite missing the last round. He topped qualifying at all five rounds he contested, and won 12 out of 15 races. He finished second in two others, with only one start in the series not leading to a podium. GBR’s eponymous team boss rues the lack of dry running his drivers got in testing.
#18 Spencer Shinner Van Diemen JL13
2023: 5th in Historic FFord, 17th in Classic FFord
Shinner takes over the car of BRSCC National FF1600 title contender Lucas Romanek, and has a learning curve driving a modern car since he graduated from karts into Historic FFord this year.
#24 Brandon McCaughan NORTHERN IRELAND Van Diemen JL13
2023: 3rd in BRSCC National FF1600, 8th in FFF WHT: 16th in 2022
The absence of Romanek makes McCaughan the undisputed lead driver for Oldfield since he had a strong campaign in the National championship this year and raced well at the Festival to finish eighth.
Auto Haeckel Motorsport
#17 Klaus-Dieter Haeckel GERMANY Van Diemen RF88
2023: FFord Racing champion – FF1600 WHT: semi-finalist in 2019 & ’22
The team boss won the FFord Racing title in FF1600 by taking six wins from six starts in a Van Diemen RF91, but uses an older car for his racing in the UK. Why? It makes it more fun to beat drivers in newer cars.
#114 Gerhard Hauschulte GERMANY Van Diemen RF87
2023: 3rd in FFord Racing – FF1600
Hauschulte has been driving this car on home soil in 2023 and done even more strongly than he did in 2022 in terms of championship position. Admittedly there were only four FF1600 racers in a series that also catered for FF2000 and Formula Opel cars.
John’s Racing Team
#35 John Svensson BELGIUM Ray GRK17
WHT: 10th in 2015
Svensson loves coming over to the UK to race in the WHT, and has been racing in FF1600 in various countries since 1994.
#96 Pascal Monbaron ENGLAND Ray GR19
2023: 3rd in FFord Racing – FOpel Lotus WHT: 21st in 2020
#51 Joe Ahrens ENGLAND Royale RP26
2023: 2nd in Classic FFord WHT: semi-finalist in 2021
#77 James Clarke ENGLAND Van Diemen RF90
2023: Clubman Sports Prototype champion – CSP1 class WHT: 29th in 2018
Clarke could be a dark horse on his FF1600 return, having been busy winning in sportscars. He also did some work in USFP2000 this year, and let’s not forget in 2022 he won the WHT’s Janet Cesar Memorial Trophy race for older cars.
Midland Classic Restorations
#88 Richard Tarling ENGLAND Reynard 89FF
2023: 16th in Historic FFord WHT: 22nd in 2014
#132 Dominic Mooney ENGLAND Jamun T2
WHT: semi-finalist in 2022
The team’s managing director gets mileage in many of the types of car he helps prepare for competition, and FF1600 is no different.
#111 Adam Higgins ENGLAND Van Diemen JL15
2023: 11th in CCRC FF1600 WHT: 20th in 2011
Higgins, a CCRC FF1600 title winner, set up the Beastworx company to prepare cars and now it is a racing team running himself and his brother Richard.
#133 Richard Higgins ENGLAND Van Diemen RF91
2023: 6th in Super Classic FF1600 – A class, 25th in FFF WHT: semi-finalist in 2022
#25 Charlie Mann ENGLAND Ray GR20
2023: 14th in BRSCC National FF1600, 19th in FFF, 22nd in CCRC FF1600, United FFord
#29 Alex Ames ENGLAND Van Diemen RF90
2023: 7th in Super Classic FF1600 – A class WHT: 5th in 2005
#50 Dave Porter ENGLAND Van Diemen RF92
2023: United FFord WHT: 19th in 2020
#68 Richard Freye Reynard 88FF
2023: 2nd in Super Classic FF1600 – A class
Freye started pre-event testing in a Van Diemen RF92, but “after a dint” he switched his entry to an older Reynard. That should not unsettle him since he’s riding the crest of a wave with a strong championship result in Super Classic FF1600 that included ending the season with his first overall race win.
Side-note: DB Motorsport is owned by David Bailey and the team manager is Gus the Gorilla, who was won in a raffle in 1984 and been with Bailey and his FF1600 entries ever since.
Andy Powell Racing
#126 Murray Shepherd ENGLAND Medina BH21
2023: 11th in Spa 6 Hours – GTS10 class, LCR in FFF
#151 Adam Fathers ENGLAND Ray GR16
2023: United FFord, LCR in FFF WHT: semi-finalist in 2021 & ’22
#188 Nigel Thompson ENGLAND Van Diemen RF88
WHT: 27th in 2011
#555 James Tucker ENGLAND Swift SC92F
2023: 5th in Super Classic FF1600 – A class WHT: 22nd in 2021
#6 Andy Clark ENGLAND Van Diemen RF95K
2023: United FFord WHT: semi-finalist in 2017
#11 Westie Mitchell ENGLAND Merlyn Mk20A
WHT: semi-finalist in 2016 & ’21
#14 Neil Hunt ENGLAND Mondiale M92S
2023: 4th in Super Classic FF1600 – A class, NC in National FF1600 WHT: LCR in 2019 & ’22
#15 Matthew Wrigley ENGLAND Titan Mk6
2023: 4th in Historic FFord, 11th in Historic F2 WHT: semi-finalist in 2021 & ’22
#47 Ian Fernihough ENGLAND Merlyn Mk11A/20
2023: 2nd in Super Classic FF1600 – D class, 34th in Historic FFord WHT: LCR in 2021
#86 Oliver Playle ENGLAND Hawke DL19
Playle is the company secretary for Hawke. One of the highlights of his racing careers was three wins in Formula Renault 2.0 BARC back in 2002.
#90 Henry Campbell NORTHERN IRELAND Reynard 89FF
2023: Northern Irish FF1600 WHT: semi-finalist in 2020
#100 Benn Tilley ENGLAND Van Diemen RF86
2023: NC in BRSCC National FF1600 WHT: semi-finalist in 2021
#101 Gerard-Owen Callaghan ENGLAND Ray GR14
#114 George Ditchfield ENGLAND Reynard 89FF
WHT: LCR in 2019
#199 Ryan Campbell NORTHERN IRELAND Reynard 89FF
WHT: 22nd in 2019