Every year for the last 47 years the British Racing and Sports Car Club has put on arguably the most important junior racing weekend of the calendar with the BRSCC Formula Ford Festival. Past winners have included Robert Moreno, Tommy Byrne, Johnny Herbert, Eddie Irvine, Mark Webber, Jenson Button, Dan Clarke and Nick Tandy to name just a few.
For the last few years under the auspices of Brian Graham of legendary Canadian Formula Ford team Brian Graham Racing there has been a Team Canada Scholarship winner participating in the Festival and this year is no exception. As the Festival starts to rev up for the weekend I had a chat with this year’s winner Guillaume Archambault to see how he got here.
Motorsport Prospects: How did you get interested in motorsport?
Guillaume Archambault: It’s a family affair. It all started when my granddad brought me to get my karting license in 2006. Then I fell in love with the sport and from then on it just kept going.
MP: Describe your experience in karting. Where did you race and how did you do?
GA: I started in 2007. From 2007 to 2011, I raced in the Montreal Cup. in 2007, I finished 3rd in regional and 5th in national where I was racing a 4 stroke kart. After that I moved up to Rotax mini max in 2008, where it was our learning year in 2 stroke. I ended up sixth overall in the regional championship. In 2009, we did another year in Rotax Mini Max. We drove SRA, SH, ICAR circuit in the Montreal Cup once again that year. Finished fifth or sixth that year.
After that in 2010, we drove to Florida for the Florida Winter Tour where we gained a lot of experience in Rotax Max Jr. Then we raced locally once again in the Montreal Cup where we ended up 6th in the championship. Just a lot of good and bad experience coming in along the way. I loved my experience in karting, as it very tight and competitive. It has certainly been good preparation for our move into Formula Ford that followed.
MP: You moved into Formula Ford in 2017. How difficult was the transition to F1600 from karts?
GA: It was not too hard. I received pretty good tips and advice from my granddad, who has been involved in the sport for over 35 years. I had a couple of years between karting and my start in F1600 because of school. The transition was smooth then.
MP: So far you have raced 2 seasons in F1600. How has that helped you develop your racecraft? What have you leaned the most racing in these cars?
GA: I learned a lot in my first year where I crashed a lot I have to be honest. You can see I pushed my luck here and there to learn my limits. We ended up sixth in the overall championship. My second year of F1600 was great, we learned a lot with car positioning, fighting with competitors and being wheel to wheel. I mean Formula Fords are similar to each other, it is a very tight series and you really need to be precise with your moves.
MP: Being selected to race in England’s Formula Ford Festival is an extremely prestigious honor. How did it come about that you were selected to represent Canada in the Team Canada Scholarship program?
GA: That’s a question you should ask Brian! Most of it comes from the results in our championship in Canada. Second in the F1600 Canada Super series and runners up in both the Toyo Tires F1600 Championship and the F1600 Tour.
MP: How has your experience in England been so far? What has been the biggest difference compared to racing in Canada?
GA: I had to get used to the Avon tire, it is about the biggest difference I had to deal with. From now on, it is going pretty well. I feel comfortable and we’re getting there. We had a lot of rain testing, which is good to have because that’s the most common condition here. Cliff Dempsey is an awesome team and the coaching side of it is very professional. Learned a lot from it.
MP: What are your expectations going into the Festival?
GA: I cannot say by the moment because I need some more seat time. Of course, to be part of the final and doing a great run is the biggest expectation I can give myself right now.
MP: What are your plans for 2019? Where are you interested in being long term as far as your racing goes?
GA: We’re doing the F1600 Tour or Toyo Tires F1600 Championship in 2019. If something comes up until then, we’ll be ready to see what we can do with it. I’m not thinking about it by now as I’m pretty busy with both the Festival and the Road to Indy Shootout coming in December. Pretty much another championship in F1600 would be the good thing to do for my learning curve experience.
You can follow Guillaume’s progress at the Festival through live timing here.