IRISH karting champion Lucca Allen is the first driver to join the Ford F4 Challenge Cup.
A new initiative for 2017, introduced by organisers of the F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford, to enable drivers to compete for under £100,000.
Allen, son of celebrity chef Rachel Allen, will race for Falcon Motorsport and has already begun cooking up a storm in the fast lane having won the Motorsport Ireland Cadet Championship, the Irish Karting Club Championship and the Southern Irish Karting Championship.
Further accolades include representing Ireland in the 2015 Karting World Championships at Le Mans and winning the Irish race of champions trophy in 2016.
14-year-old Allen, who will have to wait for his 15th birthday on 29 June to be eligible to compete, is eager to race against some of the world’s fastest young single-seater talents and relishing the chance to fly the flag for Ireland.
“I’m going to be the first Irish driver to make the step up to British F4 so I hope to be able to set a high standard and be right up there,” said Allen.
“Coming from Cork and racing in British F4 which has manufacturer backing from Ford is very special, especially as Henry Ford’s father came from Cork. It was also home to first Ford factory in Europe.
“It’s really exciting with the introduction of the Challenge Cup to see if we can compete with the bigger teams with the bigger budgets.
“Testing has gone really well. We’ve been improving every time we have gone out on the track so I’m hopeful we can be on the pace soon and aiming for wins.”
Should Allen prove to be a front runner in the Ford F4 Challenge Cup there are an array of lucrative prizes up for grabs, including a £10,000 cash prize find courtesy of Ford Motor Company, as well as £5,000 to be awarded to first Challenge Cup driver to win an a race overall, plus free scholarship entry to the overall championship in 2018 worth £15,000.
Added Allen: “We’re going to see how things go this year, but if they go well then I’ll be looking at fighting for the overall championship in 2018.
“It’s great that I will be racing on the TOCA package alongside the British Touring Car Championship. It means live television coverage so people will get to watch all my British F4 races.”
Allen is well placed to succeed in the Challenge Cup racing for Nick Streatfield’s Falcon Motorsport. Having run Mexican Alexandra Monhaupt for several British F4 rounds in 2016, the Oxfordshire team knows how to perform at the highest level, achieving second place in both the Formula FordChampionship of Great Britain team cup and drivers’ championship with BRDC Rising Star Harrison Scott in 2014.
Explained team owner Streatfield: “Lucca contacted us middle of 2016 and the relationship has developed from there. He tested with us last year which went well, he’s done another test since then, as well as the first official pre-season test of 2017.
“He’s had very little time in the car and we are trying to get him up to speed as quickly as possible. We are going to do as many of the official tests that we can. He’ll be back out at Brands Hatch on 17 February.
“Hopefully he’ll be developing at the same rate as all the others. He won’t be racing until the second half of the season[from 29 July at Snetterton] once he turns 15-years-old.” Streatfield also praised organisers of the F4 British Championship for the introduction of the Ford F4 Challenge Cup. “
When the Challenge Cup was first announced it was something I welcomed. It’s an initiative that one would hope will increase grid numbers even higher than those than we have previously seen.
“It will attract more drivers to the series, namely drivers who fall into two categories; drivers like Lucca who aren’t eligible to race until part-way through the season due to their age and drivers who don’t have the budget to do a full season.”