Jim Crawford in the Chevron B45 at Oulton Park in June 1979.  Copyright Alan Cox 2019.  Used with permission.

British Formula Atlantic 1979

Formula Atlantic's most successful period in the UK had been 1974-1975 which had coincided with a thin period for Formula 3 as it moved from 1600c to 2000cc. As F3 was revitalised, Formula Atlantic lost support, lost its sponsorship, and lost its way. The misguided Indylantic experiment of 1976 hastened its decline and no series was held in 1977. The cars continued in Group 8 that season but after they were thrown out of there too, their only outlet in 1978 was libre racing and the flourishing Irish Atlantic series. After a successful experimental race at Donington in 1978, a new series was organised by the BRSCC for 1979.

Despite sponsorship from Hitachi, prize money was poor and support was low although Ray Mallock and Jim Crawford took the opportunity to remind the country of their talent. Alo Lawler won the rain-soaked opener at Mallory Park in the Lola T760 wing car but Ray Mallock dominated the rest of the season in his Ralt RT1, formerly a Ralt-Ferrari F2 car. Crawford was his closest competitor in the ex-Keke Rosberg Chevron B45 with Paul Smith putting in some strong performances in his updated March 782.

The races

11 Mar 1979 > Mallory Park

01 Apr 1979 > Thruxton

08 Apr 1979 > Silverstone

15 Apr 1979 > Brands Hatch

29 Apr 1979 > Brands Hatch

07 May 1979 > Castle Combe

28 May 1979 > Mallory Park

17 Jun 1979 > Silverstone

30 Jun 1979 > Oulton Park

08 Jul 1979 > Snetterton

15 Jul 1979 > Donington Triple Crown Atlantic Race at Donington Park

22 Jul 1979 > Barratt Formula Atlantic Trophy Race at Ingliston

29 Jul 1979 > Mallory Park

27 Aug 1979 > Silverstone

08 Sep 1979 > Oulton Park

14 Oct 1979 > Brands Hatch

Hitachi British Formula Atlantic Championship events shown in bold

1979 Hitachi British Formula Atlantic Championship table

1Ray MallockRalt RT1/77 - Ford BDA
Ralt RT4/79 - Ford BDA
114 pts8 wins
2Jim CrawfordChevron B45 - Ford BDA82 pts5 wins
3Phil DowsettMarch 782/79B - Ford BDA40 pts 
4Paul SmithMarch 782 - Ford BDA28 pts 
5Andrew JeffreyChevron B49 - Ford BDA27 pts