Home Formula 4British F4 Luke Browning and Fortec lead British F4’s Esports debut

Luke Browning and Fortec lead British F4’s Esports debut

by Ida Wood

Fortec Motorsports’ Luke Browning led the way in the opening round of the Dallara F317-based British Formula 4 iRacing Trophy Esports series at Donington Park.

The second-year driver beat team-mate Christopher Lulham to pole, with Arden’s Roman Bilinski and Carlin’s Zak O’Sullivan filling the second row at the end of a close session.

Browning’s race one lead only lasted until McLean’s on the opening lap, with team-mate Lulham running down the inside and successfully claiming first place.

He had Browning stuck to his gearbox for the first half of the 20-minute race, contested on Doningtion’s National layout, until a small error put Browning off track and shuffled him down to fourth.

This left simulator racing regular Lulham with a healthy 5.6 second lead over O’Sullivan, which he maintained to the chequered flag. Bilinski rounded out the podium.

Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Award winner Johnathan Hoggard made it three Fortec drivers in the top five, while Abbi Pulling brushed off an early-race off to claim sixth for JHR Developments ahead of team-mate James Hedley.

Chris Dittmann Racing’s BRDC British Formula 3 driver Nico Varrone served a drive-through penalty for being the cause of Pulling’s off, and ended the race in eighth ahead of top British karter Oliver Bearman.

An opening lap crash wiped out almost half of the field, with Arden returnee Seb Priaulx and Double R Racing’s Louis Foster joining the non-classified drivers after a close mid-race battle.

Priaulx was set to start the reversed-grid second race from pole, but it was Jewiss and Bearman who led the field through lap one, with Hedley and Browning in third and fourth.

Hedley span his way out of a podium position at Old Hairpin, and Browning earned another place when he dived down the inside of Bearman at Redgate on lap five.

Several fastest laps brought Browning onto the tail of Jewiss just a few laps after that, and he repeated the move he made on Bearman. While he did get through, Jewiss was immediately back alongside and they disputed the position through to Old Hairpin where Jewiss reclaimed the position by the smallest of margins.

At McLeans the pair made contact after Browning went down the inside, with Jewiss going off track but staying in second. Bearman held until until he also went off-track at the same area of lap, conceding the final podium to O’Sullivan. Reigning British F4 champion Zane Maloney was also involved until being bulked back.