Third-generation racer Ben Bargwanna has confirmed his motorsport plans for 2019, announcing he will follow in the footsteps of his Bathurst-winning father Jason by racing a Spectrum Formula Ford.
The Bargwanna family recently purchased the Spectrum 014 previously raced by newly-crowned Australian Formula 3 Champion Harrison Jones, and Bargwanna tested the car at Winton last Friday under the guidance of Spectrum creator Mike Borland.
Following a successful career in karts, Bargwanna has been competing in NSW and Victorian Hyundai Excel events for the last couple of seasons, achieving numerous race wins including victory at the Bathurst 6 Hour support races earlier this year. He said Formula Ford represented the natural career progression.
“The Excel Series was valuable for teaching me about changing gears, weight transfer and racing wheel-to-wheel with other cars, but Formula Ford will give me a deeper understanding of car setup and driving technique,” Bargwanna said.
“When you look at the most successful drivers in Australian motorsport, most of them have come through Formula Ford and that’s because of how much you learn from it.”
Bargwanna said the first test day in his newly-purchased car was highly-productive, especially with Borland’s feedback.
“I had already done a test in another car a couple of months ago, when we were evaluating options for next year, so in Friday’s test I was able to push the limits and start to understand how to make the car faster,” Bargwanna said.
“Mike knows so much about Formula Fords and could easily pick what I was doing right and wrong; it was very useful being around someone with his level of experience.”
The 17-year-old wasn’t even born when his father won Bathurst in the year 2000, but plans to emulate Jason’s achievements.
“Racing has been in the Bargwanna family for a long time; my grandfather (Harry) raced, and obviously Dad had a lot of success including the Bathurst win,” Bargwanna said.
“Dad raced a Spectrum early in his career as well, so hopefully I can follow in his footsteps.”
Bargwanna plans to compete in the Victorian Formula Ford Championship in 2019, while focusing on finishing high school.
“Next year will be a busy one for me with school, so my aim is to compete in the state rounds and maybe a couple of national rounds to learn and improve, and then aim towards a full crack at the national championship in 2020,” he said.
Bargwanna’s Formula Ford campaign will be supported by Valvoline, Top Notch Scratch and Dent Repairs, Rowse Motors, Protector Auto Glass Warrigal, Warrigal Fitness and Gippsland Couriers.