Luke Browning: “It’s still all to play for at this point in the year”

Luke Browning is aiming to turn the tide on Carlin’s Zak O’Sullivan and come out of the next F4 British Championship certified by FIA – powered by Ford EcoBoost meeting at his local Oulton Park with the standings lead.

The Fortec Motorsport racer currently tails O’Sullivan by 18 points heading to the 2.2-mile Cheshire circuit next week [22-23 August], with a similar 15-point margin back to Arden’s Alex Connor in third.

Browning – in his sophomore season in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series – is yet to add to his two career victories so far in 2020, but has finished in the runner-up spot on four occasions, twice apiece at Donington Park and Brands Hatch GP.

The latter is notoriously difficult to overtake on with turbulent air from the car ahead to contend with, and Browning did well to get within three tenths of race winner O’Sullivan on both occasions.

Reflecting on the weekend in Kent, Browning believes qualifying ultimately made the difference, stating the pace was there for more, but track position paid dividends for O’Sullivan.

“Qualifying wasn’t easy but the pace was definitely there, we got the fastest lap in race one and I think we were fastest in race two, it was just unfortunate with qualifying, we could have really done with a pole and it would have made it a lot easier.

“It’s just impossible to overtake, it really really is. It does get fairly processional after the first two laps, but that’s the nature of Brands Hatch, and why it’s such a challenging circuit in a way because whoever puts it on pole is going to have a pretty easy win as long as they get off the start.

“The championship is still all to play for at this point in the year, hopefully I can come out with the championship lead at Oulton Park.”

Despite his eagerness to return to the winner’s circle, the 18-year old is also taking a pragmatic approach to the championship as a whole, with 20 races still to run and plenty of points still on offer between now and the season finale in November.

“We’ve had the pace every race to win but it’s just not quite come together for us, and I think being sensible in the championship is how you win it, not by going out and winning as many races as you can,” he explains.

“It’s all about playing the smart game with the numbers I think and we’ve definitely been doing that so far.

“The championship situation could all change in a race, if he [O’Sullivan] has a nightmare and I win.

“It’s just making it into a two or three horse race which makes it a bit easier when it comes to the end, instead of battling with five or six people for the championship lead, it certainly makes it a bit more simple for me because I know who I need to beat.”

Oulton Park is the next stop on the calendar, and the local round for Kingsley-based Browning, who will be hopeful his track knowledge and experience in his own ‘back yard’ will help bring home more silverware.

“I love Oulton Park, it’s only a couple of minutes away from my house, it’s somewhere I’ve grown up,” he says.

“I know all the bumps, the right line to be on, all the little circuit knowledge. It should be a very strong track for me.”