BIRMINGHAM, U.K. - How do you follow on from arguably the most entertaining F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost meeting in recent years? Simple – you bring the circus to Thruxton, the fastest circuit in the UK, and prepare Ford’s rising stars for battle once again…
Reigning champions Double R Racing lead the way, with Louis Foster arriving at the 2.4-mile Hampshire circuit with three wins, four podiums and a 17-point championship lead over team-mate Sebastian Alvarez after the opening six rounds.
The gauntlet has been well and truly thrown down to the rest, with the duo averaging a staggering 33 points per race between them – but the battle to be their closest challenger continues to rage on.
Luke Browning currently holds that title, with the Richardson Racing driver bouncing back from a difficult start to the weekend at Donington Park last time out to record his third podium of the season in the ITV4-televised final race.
The Cheshire-based driver will be aiming for a more straightforward weekend this time around; if it does, he stands a good chance of reducing the deficit to those ahead.
He will need to be wary, though, with Arden Motorsport’s Bart Horsten just one marker behind. The Australian found another gear in Leicestershire, claiming his first podium – then his first win – despite a pair of safety-car stoppages and red flags to contend with.
Arguably only misfortune has prevented either of Carlin’s challengers from taking a race win – and the £5,000 Ford Rookie Award for winning a race outright – in 2019. Zane Maloney currently sits just seven points ahead of Joe Turney in fifth and sixth overall, with the gap between them at the top of the Rookie Cup standings just two points.
JHR’s Josh Skelton went some way to making up for a difficult season-opener at Donington, claiming his first silverware in Ford’s winning formula with the runner-up spot in race one and underlining his pace with another two solid points finishes.
Experience could prove key for Skelton at Thruxton, a circuit that presents several unique challenges to the field, but the aim for both he and team-mate Carter Williams is clear – add in a little more luck to their outright pace and the pair could still prove to be dark-horse contenders at the business end of the season.
Arden’s Alex Connor acquitted himself well on his single-seater debut, claiming three top-five points finishes overall and a triple Rookie Cup podium inclusive of his first class victory.
Team-mate Tommy Foster has endured a frustrating start to the campaign but arrives at Thruxton with renewed confidence and was on the pace in testing a few weeks ago – don’t discount him from fighting for top spot.
Both Fortec Motorsport cars have had a common theme in 2019 – charging through the field in race conditions to pick up consistent points.
Roberto Faria was unfortunate not to take a better result from the reverse-grid pole in the East Midlands a fortnight ago, contact with Browning ending his race, but both his and Mariano Martinez’s consistent points-scoring performances has sent a clear warning to the rest of the field – don’t discount them.
Reema Juffali rounds out the 13-strong field for this weekend’s triple-header, with the Double R racer aiming to continue learning her craft at remarkable speed and keep her record of scoring points at each meeting intact as the gap to those ahead comes down with each passing race.
Qualifying kicks off the weekend’s action at 10:55 on Saturday ahead of the opening race at 15:45. The other two races will take place on Sunday in front of an expected capacity trackside crowd and ITV4’s television cameras at 11:20 and 16:25 respectively.
There’s also another opportunity to meet the next generation of motorsport stars with the championship’s autograph session, scheduled to take place in front of the Ford Race Centre in the support paddock at 13:20 on Sunday.