The British Formula 4 championship will have an official Esports counterpart for the third year running with the announcement of a six-round series taking place this Autumn.
During the global lockdown periods of the COVID-19 pandemic, the British F4 iRacing Trophy was twice held. Now it has been upgraded to championship status by Britain’s motorsport governing body and organiser Motorsport UK, and will use iRacing’s digital version (dubbed the Formula IR-04) of the Tatuus T-421 that British F4 introduced this year.
There will be 12 races over six rounds, with the season opener being run on Donington Park’s National layout on the evening of October 14, the week after the 2022 British F4 season concludes.
Round two of the Esports championship is a week after round one and is at Oulton Park, then there is a gap before the next two rounds at Knockhill (November 4) and Snetterton (November 11). Drivers have a week off again before racing on Silverstone’s National layout on November 25 and Brands Hatch’s full Grand Prix layout on December 2.
Each team will be able to field two drivers, with the intention of Esports stars signing up rather than current F4 racers, and there will be a total prize pot of £6,000 to be won. All of the races will be broadcast live on YouTube.
The first British F4 iRacing Trophy began in April 2020, but was based around a digital version of the Dallara F317 Formula 3 car.
Chris Lulham was crowned ahead of Fortec Motorsports team-mate Luke Browning, the real-world 2020 champion, and his prize was a waived entry free for a British F4 round. However he did not use it.
The second season began in January 2021 and had the same prize and used the same car, but there were two classifications and therefore two champions as drivers either scored points as simulator racing specialists or as real-world racers. Pablo Lopez won the Pro-Sim classification, and Browning was champion from the class of usual British F4 drivers.
Earlier this year there was another Esports contest that British F4 aligned itself with: the ROKiT Racing Star series.
It was on the Raceroom sim racing software rather than iRacing, used first-generation Tatuus F4 cars, and werehadseperate races for boys and girls.
The best drivers after five events were invited to the University of Bolton’s National Centre for Motorsport Engineering for a winner-takes-all in-person simulator competition where the prize for the two groups was six months of driver training from Motorsport UK (to gain the neccessary licences for F4), as well as race seats with the Hitech GP-run ‘ROKiT F4 Racing’ team in British F4 next year.