May, 2013 – A star of modern-day junior motor racing met a famous name from the sport’s past this week when 17-year-old Formula Ford EcoBoost racer Harrison Scott slipped behind the wheel of a 1961 Cooper T56 Formula Junior car.
The Cooper is no museum piece: it is raced regularly by its owner, Peter Fenichel, and was in action at the ‘Home of British motorsport’ this week in preparation for July’s Silverstone Classic. “I have been helping Harrison with his career, and I’m always keen to help educate younger drivers about ‘proper’ racing cars,” said Peter, “so it was a delight to be able to offer him a few laps on the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit. I think he enjoyed himself.”
Scott, currently second overall, and leading Scholarship class driver, in the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain, is more used to turbocharged engines, aerodynamic wings, sequential gearboxes and slick tyres than he is to the rather more humble specification of the Cooper – 1100cc BMC engine, four-speed manual ’box, drum brakes, treaded tyres – but he was more than delighted by the experience.
“It was a joy and privilege to drive the Cooper,” said the Essex-based youngster: “To feel the car slide through the fast corners was exciting. Now I can understand how truly skilful drivers like Moss and Surtees were, driving these cars fast around what were by our standards dangerous circuits.
“The Cooper is always sliding and, unlike my Formula Ford, you have to balance the steering and throttle in every corner. The drum brakes were another story! I would love to race the car alongside Peter in a two-driver race at some time in the future.”
Fenichel, who has traced his T56’s history back to its export to the USA by Alfred Momo, mechanic to entrepreneur and racer Briggs Cunningham, was pleased by Harrison’s empathy with the Cooper: “He looked after it well and, though it was very different to the Formula Ford he is used to racing, he adapted to the car well. Now I’m hoping that I can get a go in his Formula Ford…”
Harrison returns to the track at Oulton Park on 8 June for the next rounds of the live-televised Formula Ford championship.