Making history now

Classic Team Merlyn is the Historic Formula Ford racing division of Speedsport Historic Race Engineering, based at Silverstone Circuit.

Classic Team Merlyn provides a unique historic racing environment where drivers of all ages and experience can be part of our team and enjoy racing with us on a season-long or ‘one-off’ basis.

Led by experienced ex-professional racing driver and team owner Mike O’Brien, our stable of four Merlyn Mk20A Formula Ford cars are meticulously prepared and set up by our dedicated team of technicians.

Our heritage and passion for Merlyn Racing Cars goes back to the 1970s when Mike raced his own Merlyn as he embarked upon his racing career, and then became the ‘works’ factory Merlyn driver in 1978 piloting a Merlyn Mk31 sponsored by National Girobank.

All our cars have interesting histories, not least chassis no. #370/FF/72 which was owned and raced when new in 1971 and 1972 by Tim Brise. Tim was the elder brother of emerging Grand Prix racing star Tony Brise who was tragically killed in the same plane crash which claimed the life of Graham Hill in 1974.

Colchester Racing Developments started building Merlyns in the 1950s and continued creating new cars until the late 1970s – Merlyns raced in Formula Junior, Formula 3, Formula 2 and sports car racing as well as building over 100 cars for Formula Ford in its golden era.

Classic Team Merlyn aims to provide a unique opportunity for drivers to continue to enjoy racing Merlyn machinery in the exciting world of Historic Formula Ford, safe in the knowledge that their equipment is prepared and maintained to the highest possible standards by a friendly and passionate team.


Get behind the wheel of a Merlyn

Although Classic Team Merlyn has been extremely successful in recent years – Historic Formula Ford Championship winners in 2015 with Richard Mitchell, and many other race wins with drivers such as Callum MacLeod, Josh West and Michael O’Brien [son of Mike and official team driver coach] – we offer racing opportunities for drivers of all levels of experience, including complete beginners.

We have over 35 years of experience in the sport, and can take care of everything you need to obtain your racing licence, train and develop you as a racing driver and then provide you with a ‘turn key’ professional service using our stable of four cars for testing and racing throughout the UK and Europe.

The Historic Formula Ford Championship comprises ten race meetings throughout the country at venues such as Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit, Brands Hatch and Cadwell Park and the season runs from April until October.

We provide a complete professional package to enable you to race in a friendly yet professional team with immaculately prepared cars and the minimum ‘hassle’ and maximum enjoyment for yourself as a driver.

We can provide our cars for an initial test day, a particular race meeting or for the entire season depending upon your budget and time available.

We have a well structured programme of driver training, which includes in-car camera and data logging equipment, so that your driving skills and confidence progress rapidly and you can quickly be competitive in a racing situation.

2015 Champion Richard Mitchell arrived at Classic Team Merlyn as a complete novice with no racing experience whatsoever, was winning races by May and clinched the Championship with one round to spare!

Experienced drivers from other areas of motor racing have also discovered that Historic Formula Ford is a great series to compete in, and we welcome enquiries from established drivers as well.


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Put your brand at the front of the grid

Historic Formula Ford races take place at very well supported Historic Sports Car Club [HSCC] race meetings throughout the UK – we regularly race at top venues such as Brands Hatch, Silverstone, Donington and Oulton Park.

Sponsorship opportunities are available on a season-long, or race-by-race basis, and can include the following :

• Branding on the Merlyn racing car[s]
• Branding on team personnel and support vehicles
• Complimentary tickets for race meetings
• Privileged access to the racing team and drivers
• Privileged access to pits and paddock areas at all circuits
• VIP hospitality facilities at Silverstone, Brands Hatch and Donington
• Track days at Silverstone when your clients or staff can drive alongside our pro race drivers
• Opportunity for your customers/staff to drive the Merlyn race cars on a private circuit
• Excellent media coverage in motor sport publications, websites and HSCC magazine
• Regular YouTube coverage of all races which can feature your own in-car camera

Speedsport Promotions have been market leaders in the provision of motor racing sponsorship and hospitality/incentive packages for over thirty years, so we are well qualified to deliver exciting and effective deals for your company.


We don't just race Merlyns!

After his retirement as a driver in the late 1980s Mike O’Brien built an enviable reputation as a team owner and driver manager, the Speedsport Team winning races in many different Formulae and Mike personally guiding the careers of drivers such as Darren Manning and Andy Priaulx.

Whilst competing in the highly professional world of Formula 3 the Speedsport Team was twice victorious in the most prestigious race of the year supporting the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in both 1996 and 1998 with Darren Manning – Darren also went on to win the Macau Grand Prix in 1999 under Mike’s guidance driving for the Japanese TOM’s Toyota F3 team.

We have applied similar levels of commitment, expertise and enthusiasm to our historic racing activities. Darren Manning won at the Goodwood Revival in a Ford GT40 rebuilt and operated by Speedsport, Callum MacLeod won many races in our rebuilt and restored Caravelle Formula Junior, and he also took a commanding victory in the ‘MGB 50’ race at Silverstone in 2012 driving our FIA specification MGB.

We have the experience, facilities and capabilities to restore, rebuild, race prepare and provide track support for most historic racing cars in our workshops located at Silverstone Circuit.