•EcoBoost racer Cullen recruits champ Malvern as driver coach•Three solid finishes in debut weekend hints at good results to come
28 April 2012 - After the toughest possible introduction to life in the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain, rookie Ryan Cullen is hoping that the lessons learned over Easter at Oulton Park will stand him in good stead for the rest of the season as he gets to grips with his new EcoBoost-powered chassis.
Wedmore, Somerset-based Cullen, 21, was one of only seven drivers in the field to finish every race at Oulton and came away from his debut weekend with a best result of fifth. “It all went pretty well for my first weekend, I think,” said Ryan. “The conditions were awful, particularly in the second race. I was running fourth and spun back to 12th, so I had to work hard to fight my way through the field to get back to fifth by the end of the race.”
Ryan’s races impressed David Ellesley, the former Formula Ford racer who has turned to team management to help steer Cullen’s career: “The weather throughout the Oulton weekend was really bad and a lot of drivers with much more experience than Ryan were struggling to stay on the track. He did exceptionally well for a novice even to finish all the races without mishap; that he was in the top 10 in each was remarkable.”
The Cullen Motorsport team was one of the first to place an order for Mygale’s new-generation Formula Ford chassis, and the SDS Limited-backed squad has assembled a talented crew to maintain the car and help train its driver. Ryan’s coach is none other than reigning Formula Ford Champion Scott Malvern, and highly experienced Formula Ford team owner Cliff Dempsey is engineering the new car.
Ryan has been getting up to speed by taking part in selected ‘Kent’ Formula Ford 1600 races at the wheel of a Dempsey-run chassis - a great way to train for his EcoBoost assault. He hopes he can challenge for victory in Formula Ford’s Rookie category. “A Rookie win is achievable, I hope, but I am under no illusions as to how big an ask it will be; there is a lot of competition out there.
“I am serious about my career and I want to use this season to learn as much as I can about single-seater racing, and to get as much as I can from it.”
Cullen, currently third in the Rookie class standings, will get his next opportunity to shine in Formula Ford next month (18-20 May) on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit, where the Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain is sharing the stage with the German touring car championship.