Chris Lulham crowned inaugural eSports champion after action-packed finale

Chris Lulham was crowned the inaugural winner of the British F4 iRacing Trophy with victory in the final race on an evening of high drama at Brands Hatch (GP).

Lulham arrived at the 2.4-mile Kent circuit with a healthy 14-point advantage over Fortec Motorsport team mate Luke Browning, but his title bid looked to have been thrown a curveball after Browning stormed to a seventh consecutive pole position, with Lulham just sixth.

Browning made a clean getaway from the front row and comfortably led the third Fortec challenger of Johnathan Hoggard away, with Lulham making progress further back until a sideways moment for Carlin’s Zak O’Sullivan collected him at Graham Hill Bend, causing front wing damage and necessitating a pit stop for repairs.

An early safety car stoppage for three cars off at Paddock Hill Bend limited the damage, with Lulham able to rejoin 14th as Browning made a textbook restart to keep his challengers at arm’s length.

Lulham’s progress was swift, and decisive, as he moved through the field to 10th within two laps of the restart, but fate looked to have rolled the dice against him once more as a move to the inside of Nico Pino at Surtees took both cars off – whether netcode was the cause or Lulham lost the rear end remains unclear, but replays showed no contact between the pair.

That left him pit lane bound once again as Browning took the chequered flag 2.4 seconds clear to establish an 11-point lead of his own atop the table, with Lulham eventually crossing the line non-scoring in 11th.

Hoggard made it a Fortec one-two in second, with Nico Varrone completing the podium ahead of the returning Zane Maloney and a season-best fifth for James Hedley.

The reverse grid, however, threw Lulham a lifeline. He would start from fifth, with team mate Browning right at the back and needing only a podium finish to secure the crown, and take away the prize of a free entry into a round of the real-world 2020 season worth over £1,000.

Chaos on the opening lap looked to have stacked the cards in Browning’s favour; he rose to seventh as two separate incidents left six cars bound for the pit lane before the pack had even reached Druids. Lulham’s progress had been swift too, but fourth would not be enough to swing the pendulum in his favour.

With each position Lulham gained on the restart, Browning shadowed him, until running in fifth he found himself unable to pass Carlin’s Christian Mansell.

No sooner had Lulham dived past Luke Whitehead for the race lead at Surtees, Browning attempted to pass Mansell on the outside at Hawthorn.

That led to slight contact, with Browning running across the grass and dropping to eighth, before more contact with O’Sullivan a few corners later at Stirlings left the Fortec racer in the gravel, and out of the points.

That left the way clear for Lulham to win the season finale by 1.3 seconds and wrap up the championship, with Whitehead a commendable second – his second podium in as many meetings – and Arden’s Rafael Martins rounding out the podium in third.

Fourth for O’Sullivan would secure him third in the championship, with Johnathan Hoggard rounding out the top five as Fortec celebrated wrapping up the Teams’ title.

Marijn Kremers, Mansell, Nathan De Villiers, Alexey Nesov and Nico Varrone rounded out the points finishers as the sun set at Brands Hatch, and on the season.

To re-watch the action from Brands Hatch, click here.