MSA Formula Champion Lando Norris honoured at FIA prize-giving

  • Lando Norris joins the world’s FIA Formula 4 Champions at glittering Paris gala

5 DECEMBER, 2015 – MSA Formula title victor Lando Norris rubbed shoulders with the great and the good of world motorsport yesterday in Paris, taking the stage at the famous Lido theatre to receive the FIA Formula 4 Champion of Great Britain trophy at the glittering 2015 FIA prize-giving ceremony.

One of the youngest car-racers to be honoured at the ceremony, Lando – who turned 16 last month – was among FIA Formula 4 champions from around the globe present at the event at the iconic home of cabaret on the Champs-Elysées. Lando’s Ford EcoBoost-powered, Carlin-prepared car won eight of the 30 MSA Formula races this season.

Topping the list of champions present for the evening were 2015 FIA Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton, who accepted the drivers’ championship trophy for the third time, and former Formula Ford racer Mark Webber, one of the FIA World Endurance Championship title winners.

MSA Formula Champion Lando Norris will battle for more silverware on two fronts in 2016

30 NOVEMBER, 2015 – Newly crowned MSA Formula Champion Lando Norris has confirmed that he is to graduate from the Ford EcoBoost-powered series to contest a dual programme of Formula Renault 2.0 Euro Cup and NEC events in 2016 with Josef Kaufmann Racing.

The Somerset youngster, who has just turn 16, will also contest selected UK events in the BRDC’s junior single-seater series with his old team Carlin.

Despite having had little rest since his brilliant victory in the inaugural season of the MSA Formula Championship, the ADD Motorsports racer can’t get wait to get going again. He said: “I’m really excited to be working with Josef Kauffman Racing next year, but equally happy to be back with Carlin again after the brilliant season we’ve just had. We’ve done some testing with Josef Kaufmann which I really enjoyed and was always in the top three, so I’m looking forward to continuing with the team next season.

“I’m also really pleased to be back with Carlin and my engineer Stefan de Groot after winning the title with them. We’re hoping to be right up there again and competing for trophies on both fronts.”

Lando notched up eight wins on his way to becoming this season’s FIA Formula 4 Champion of Great Britain, reaffirming his status as one of the world’s most exciting young drivers. He signed off from his glittering karting career in 2014 as the youngest ever World Championship winner when he took the CIK FIA KF crown, also finishing third in the Ginetta Junior Championship and taking the Rookie Cup.

Lando dominated the final day of the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 winter tests at Circuit Paul Ricard last weekend. He came out top in both sessions and will now continue with further tests privately.

Norris claims MSA Formula prize

30 NOVEMBER, 2015 – MSA Formula Champion Lando Norris stepped up to receive the spoils of victory on Saturday night when he and the other outright winners of the BTCC and its supporting championships were honoured at TOCA’s Night of Champions. Lando, just turned 16, was presented with the handsome trophy by MSA chief executive Rob Jones; Lando’s Ford EcoBoost-powered, Carlin-prepared car won eight of the 30 MSA Formula races this season.

Also honoured on Saturday night were former Formula Ford frontrunners Dan Cammish, who took the Porsche Carrera Cup crown, and Ashley Sutton, the 2015 Renault Clio champ.

Norris back on top after Ford-powered win number six

  • Lando Norris leads from pole to chequered flag for Carlin to regain championship lead
  • Dan Ticktum second overall and Rookie class victor with Colton Herta P3
  • Back-of-grid battle to eighth for Ricky Collard

ROCKINGHAM 5 SEPTEMBER, 2015 – The overall lead of the Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula Championship changed hands yet again this afternoon, Lando Norris regaining control of the title race after a well-judged victory in Round 22, the Carlin driver leading all the way from pole position to chequered flag.

Erstwhile points leader Ricky Collard made the best of a difficult situation, racing from the very back of the 20-car grid after an accident in qualifying to claim eighth place at the line, and with it a front-row start for tomorrow’s reverse-grid race.

Fifteen-year-old flyer Norris did well to hang on to the lead in the first couple of corners with his team-mate Colton Herta getting a better getaway from P2 on the grid. They drew level through the banked first turn, with Lando managing to nose in front thanks to hugging the inside line into the Deene hairpin. Fortec’s Dan Ticktum managed to impose himself between the duelling Carlin men as they scrabbled their way through Deene, pushing Herta back to third.

Behind, there was a degree of chaos as the pack tried to funnel through the tight right-hander Yentwood, several cars getting tagged. Toby Sowery, in his first race with the MBM team, found himself beached in the gravel while Louise Richardson’s Richardson Racing machine was spun right around – fortunately she was able to get going again, albeit with time lost. Another casualty was Jack Butel (JHR Developments), who retired to the pits with deranged steering. Sowery’s car required retrieval and this prompted a three-lap safety car period.

At the restart Norris held his nerve to maintain the lead and at the end of the fifth lap he led Ticktum by just over a second, with Herta close behind for third. A series of fastest laps from Lando put his victory beyond doubt, and he crossed the line 1.8s clear for his sixth Ford-powered victory of the season. Said Lando: “Colton got a better start than me and was almost completely past me but I had the inside for the hairpin and I managed to get the lead again. After that the car felt really good and quite fast and I was able to manage the race.”

Norris’s getaway was aided by Ticktum’s need to protect his second place from a series of moves by Herta. Colton tried his hardest to outgun Dan into the Deene on several occasions, and Ticktum’s defensive action cost him time to the leader. Herta came under attack himself towards the end from TRS Arden man Enaam Ahmed, who went wheel to wheel with the American into Tarzan on the penultimate lap and was repulsed only by some vigorous defending.

Said Colton: “My initial start was good but things kind of evened out once we got on the banking. I didn’t see Dan with us until the last second, so it was all quite close into the hairpin. Then I had a close race with Enaam – we touched a bit but it was all clean racing.”

Less than five seconds covered the top six at the line – Norris, Ticktum, Herta and Ahmed heading home Matheus Leist’s Double R car and Sennan Fielding’s JHR Developments machine. Ticktum was the Rookie class victor for the 12th time this season with Ahmed second and Carlin’s Petru Florescu, seventh overall, competing the Rookie podium.

Ahmed, who last weekend claimed his maiden car-racing wins in Estonia in the SMP Formula 4 Championship, was pleased with his result but “really disappointed that I couldn’t make my move on Colton stick; I had to try, we were rubbing wheels and it was a good battle. I’m happy with another top five, though…”

Dan Baybutt held on to cross the line eighth for JTR, with Collard – who was being advised from the pit wall where he needed to finish to secure a good starting position for the reverse-grid race – right behind. Said Ricky: “I made sure that my pit board was telling me where I needed to be. My tyres look good, I feel good and I’ve practised my overtaking moves… Now I just have to go and win it tomorrow.” Unfortunately in one way for Ricky his ninth place became eighth post-race when Baybutt was judged to have been out of position at the start and was docked 10 seconds, dropping him to 17th, so what would have been pole for Collard becomes P2 on the grid…

Sandy Mitchell placed ninth for TRS Arden, ahead of Double R’s Tarun Reddy, with Jess Hawkins equalling her season’s best with 11th after a good drive for Falcon Motorsport.

The MSA Formula racers are back on track at Rockingham at 1020 tomorrow for the reverse-grid race with the Rockingham finale, in which Herta will go from the pole, to be televised live on ITV4, at 1550.

Provisional results Round 22 Rockingham 5 September 2015  amended
13 laps / 25.22 miles
1 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin 18m 44.709s / 80.72mph
2 Daniel TICKTUM / GBR / Fortec +1.872s
3 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin +3.491s
4 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden +3.836s
5 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R +4.353s
6 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +4.933s
7 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin +5.767s
8 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden +12.000s
9 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden +13.105s
10 Tarun REDDY / IND / Double R +13.816s etc
Fastest lap Norris 1m 18.898s / 88.51mph Est Rec

Rookie class 1 Ticktum; 2 Ahmed; 3 Florescu; 4 Mitchell; 5 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / SWB; 6 Josh SMITH / GBR / Fortec; 7 Ameya VAIDYANATHAN / IND / JTR; 8 Dan BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR

Grid for Round 23 Mitchell – Collard – Baybutt – Florescu – Fielding – Leist – Ahmed – Herta – Ticktum – Norris – Reddy etc

Provisional championship standings
1 Norris 302 points; 2 Collard 279; 3 Fielding 241; 4 Ticktum 235; 5 Herta 222; 6 Leist 189; 7 Mitchell 143; 8 Ahmed 107; 9 James Pull 89; 10 Tarun Reddy 81 etc
Rookie class 1 Ticktum 383; 2 Ahmed 293; 4 Mitchell 284; 4 Florescu 254; 5 Martins 239 etc

Full times

Title battle intensifies as Ford-powered racers head to Rockingham

  • Four points between Collard and Norris, with Fielding up to third overall and closing in

1 SEPTEMBER, 2015 – Just nine races remain over which to decide the outcome of the inaugural MSA Formula Championship, and which of the Ford EcoBoost-powered youngsters will race away with the title FIA Formula 4 Champion of Great Britain.

The first three of those nine outings come this weekend (4/5 September) at Northamptonshire’s Rockingham Motor Speedway, where championship leader Ricky Collard will be battling to defend his slender points lead after a weekend of mixed fortunes at Knockhill last month both for him and his chief rival, Lando Norris.

Carlin’s 15-year-old star Norris won the first Knockhill race with Collard’s TRS Arden car retiring after sustaining damage; in race two it was Norris’s turn to suffer a race-ending knock while Collard chased from the back of the grid to seventh; and in the third race Collard claimed the win with Norris finishing a slightly beaten-up seventh.

The big victor in Scotland was JHR Developments driver Sennan Fielding, who was in the right places at the right times to profit from the misfortunes of others. Sennan came away with a win and two thirds to move into championship third, within striking distance of Collard and Norris should they suffer further misfortune. Norris has now collected five race wins this season, Collard four and Fielding three.

If there is uncertainty in the main championship, the outcome of the Rookie class is in little doubt with Fortec driver Dan Ticktum well on course to claim the championship honours thanks to 11 class wins from 21 races. Who will finish the year as his Rookie runner-up looks to be between Collard’s TRS Arden team-mates Enaam Ahmed and Sandy Mitchell, both of whom shone at Knockhill, with Ahmed making the overall podium for the first time.

Double karting World Champion Ahmed,15, will arrive at Rockingham on the crest of a wave having claimed his maiden car-racing victories last weekend at Parnu, Estonia, in the SMP F4 Championship.

The season’s other MSA Formula race winners are Carlin’s Colton Herta, who did the double at Snetterton, Fortec Rookie Josh Smith and Double R’s Matheus Leist. Rockingham is a local track for Grantham-based Louise Richardson and the Richardson Racing team, and also hoping to do well on home turf will be Nick Tandy’s Pavenham-based JTR team, whose driver is Dan Baybutt, last on the podium at the high-speed Thruxton track.

Rockingham timetable
Friday 4 September  0950 & 1350 Testing
Saturday 5 September  1020 Qualifying, 1425 Round 22
Sunday 6 September  1020 Round 23, 1550 Round 24

On TV  Live ITV4 Sunday from 1545

Norris qualifies on top at Knockhill

  • Carlin driver Lando Norris matches his Oulton Park and Croft form to lead the way in qualifying
  • Norris to start Round 19 from the pole, Fortec’s Dan Ticktum on top spot for Round 21

KNOCKHILL 22 AUGUST, 2015 – Lando Norris, only fifth in yesterday’s pre-event testing at Knockhill, dug deep today to propel himself to pole position for this afternoon’s 19th round of the Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula Championship. The Carlin driver found more than half a second from his Friday best to lap the 1.27-mile track in 49.626s and dislodge Fortec’s Dan Ticktum from top spot in the closing minutes of qualifying.

Ticktum had set the pace during the first half of the session before running was twice suspended to retrieve cars stranded in Knockhill’s unforgiving gravel traps. When the track went live once more, 15-year-old Norris was one of handful of drivers to improve their pace. Said Lando: “After yesterday it was going to be hard to get pole. We struggled a bit yesterday, mainly in the last sector of the track, but the pace in the first two sectors was always there. I put things together a bit better today – we worked quite hard last night trying to make the car better, and me a bit better, and it’s all paid off.”

Ticktum’s consolation is that he will start Sunday’s live-televised Round 21 from the pole, his second-best qualifying lap time being a hundredth better than that recorded by Norris.

Championship leader Ricky Collard (TRS Arden) will start both races from third on the grid; Ricky lost his best qualifying lap time after exceeding track limits. “I’m a bit disappointed, to be honest. Yesterday’s pace was really good and we’ve matched that, but everyone else has gone a little quicker today. But my race pace is good and I’m sure we can come through.”

Snetterton double winner Colton Herta was fourth quickest this morning for Carlin, just ahead of Collard’s TRS Arden team-mate Enaam Ahmed, for whom fifth on the grid is a season’s best performance. “I am driving the car a bit better,” said Enaam. “Since Snetterton I have made a step forward with my driving and I’m happy to have made the top five; hopefully we can have a good race from there.”

Local hero Sandy Mitchell qualified sixth fastest overall, his best result since his Thruxton poles, to make it three TRS Arden men in the top six. “I’m quite happy with that,” said the Forfar driver. “It’s my best for a while. We needed to take another step forward and I think we are getting there now.”

Now driving for Fortec, 15-year-old James Pull enjoyed his best qualifying since the start of the season, placing seventh with a hot lap towards the end of the session: “The red flags messed it up for me a bit. I went out again after that and discovered I’d punctured the left front tyre, so I had to stop again to change it, then just managed to get a lap in at the end.”

Sennan Fielding, baffled by handling problems in his JHR Developments car not present in testing yesterday, qualified eighth, ahead of JTR’s Dan Baybutt – his first time in the qualifying top 10 since Thruxton – and Carlin’s Petru Florescu. The red flags flew while the cars of Ollie Pidgley (Richardson Racing) and Tarun Reddy (Double R) were retrieved from gravel traps. Reddy set 13th best time and Pidgley 18th. Today’s race is due off at 1550.

Provisional qualifying times Knockhill 22 August 2015
Grid order for Round 19
1 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin 49.626s
2 Daniel TICKTUM / GBR / Fortec 49.704s
3 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden 49.871s
4 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin 49.966s
5 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden 50.006s
6 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden 50.020s
7 James PULL / GBR / Fortec 50.077s
8 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 50.134s
9 Daniel BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR 50.134s
10 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 50.405s etc

Round 21 grid order (based on second-fastest times): Ticktum – Norris – Collard – Herta – Ahmed – Fielding – Mitchell – Baybutt – Pull – Josh Smith etc

Full times

DRIVER NEWS: Lando Norris closes in on top spot after more podiums at Snetterton

Lando Norris

Report supplied by driver’s PR

DRIVER NEWS 10 AUGUST, 2015 – Lando Norris found himself just 10 points off the leader in the MSA Formula Championship after a solid weekend’s racing at Snetterton.

The 15-year-old Carlin driver was happy with two second-place finishes that helped him close the gap on Collard and hone in on the top spot. But despite the pleasing points and performances, the ADD Motorsports racer felt the weekend could have been even better if he’d kept his concentration and had better luck.

He said: “It was a good weekend – I raced well and was happy to get two second place finishes. But with a better start I could have finished first in the first race and I would have liked to have finished in a better position on the reverse grid. The podiums mean I’ve closed the gap on the leader again, which is what I was hoping to do. It’s really tight up at the top now, it could go any way.”

Lando was pacey in practice and carried the same intensity through to qualifying, where he finished second for both races. A slow start saw the Bristol driver drop a place at the start of Race One, but after Herta span off he moved to second where he stayed for the remainder of the race, unable to pass the leader.

The racer began the second race in ninth place, but he followed an unconvincing first lap by losing some valuable time on oil left on the track from another driver’s engine. It saw him drop a couple of places, although he’d pulled them back by the end of the race to finish eighth.

Lando got off to a good start in the final race, but like the first, he couldn’t get in front of the leader and stayed in second for the entire race. But two second-place finishes saw him leave Snetterton on 234 points and close-in on the leader with just four weekends left.

Lando added: “After the first lap, it was a difficult track to overtake on. But it was a good weekend overall and it has kept me where I want to be. Hopefully I can keep this form going into the next round and turn some of these podiums into wins along the way.”

Herta claims a double pole with Ford power at Snetterton

  • Colton and his Carlin team-mate Lando Norris dominate qualifying in Norfolk
  • Problems blunt the pace of championship leader Ricky Collard

SNETTERTON 8 AUGUST, 2015 – Colton Herta continued his strong run of Snetterton form this morning in qualifying, following up his clean sweep of yesterday’s test sessions with further improvements in pace to claim a double-top at the wheel of his Ford EcoBoost-powered Carlin-prepared chassis.

The 15-year-old Californian will start this afternoon’s 16th round of the MSA Formula Championship from pole position thanks to a 1m 50.398s lap of the three-mile Norfolk circuit, and will go from top spot also in tomorrow’s live-televised Round 18. Herta’s Carlin team-mate Lando Norris will line up behind him for both races. Said first-time pole-sitter Colton: “I guess we just put everything together today. I knew after yesterday that there was more to come from the car and today we found it. I like Snetterton – it has all sorts of corners and seems to suit my driving style.”

Norris, who was 0.363s behind, was pleased for his running mate but frustrated: “It was hard – hard to beat my team-mate… Colton put everything together and was quicker than me in the second half of the lap.”

There was drama and disappointment for championship leader Ricky Collard (TRS Arden), who set third-best time before a gearchange issue brought his retirement from the session at mid-distance. Fortec’s Dan Ticktum knocked him back to fourth overall on the timesheet towards the end of qualifying, but Ricky’s enforced absence from the track cost him dearly in terms of setting a competitive second-fastest time and as a result he will start Round 18 from 22nd and last on the grid.

Fresh from competing in the States in USF2000, Sennan Fielding qualified fifth fastest for the JHR Developments team, ahead of Matheus Leist (Double R) and Petru Florescu (Carlin). TRS Arden’s Enaam Ahmed equalled his best qualifying performance of the season with eighth, with Double R’s Tarun Reddy and Arden’s third man, Sandy Mitchell, completing the top 10.

Technical issues blighted the session for SWB Motorsport’s Rafael Martins, who completed only three laps, JHR’s Jack Butel and JTR’s James Pull, all of whom will go from towards the back this afternoon. The first of the three Snetterton MSA Formula races follows at 1510.

Provisional qualifying times Snetterton 8 August 2015
Grid order for Round 16
1 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin 1:50.398
2 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin 1:50.761
3 Daniel TICKTUM / GBR / Fortec 1:51.086
4 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden 1:51.368
5 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR 1:51.547
6 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R 1:51.673
7 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin 1:51.700s
8 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden 1:51.854
9 Tarun REDDY / IND / Double R 1:51.877
10 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden 1:51.900 etc

Round 18 grid order (based on second-fastest times): Herta – Norris – Ticktum – Fielding – Leist – Florescu – Mitchell – Josh Smith – Reddy – Ahmed etc

Full times

Ford-powered racers revved up for Snetterton

  • Ricky Collard leads the MSA Formula title hunters to Norfolk
  • Louise Richardson hoping to capitalise on her first podium finish

31 JULY, 2015 – The long summer break is almost over and for the contenders in the Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula Championship next weekend’s (8/9 August) resumption of racing action at Snetterton in Norfolk cannot come soon enough.

With 15 races run and 15 to go, just 25 points separate the leading contenders seeking the inaugural MSA Formula crown – and the FIA Formula 4 Champion of Great Britain title which accompanies it. With three race wins under his belt and five second-place finishes in addition, Ricky Collard, son of BTCC star Rob, starts the second half of the season in the box seat.

Collard, who turned 19 yesterday (Thursday), has been a cool and consistent finisher all year, but he knows that he will need to maintain his recent improvements in qualifying form if he is to maintain his championship lead, which is under threat from 15-year-old Lando Norris, who has yet to qualify outside the top two and who has gone on to record four race victories for the Carlin team.

The tussle between Collard and Norris will be complicated by a host of other drivers looking to get in on the act. The first half of the season saw seven different race winners, with TRS Arden man Sandy Mitchell, JHR Developments driver Sennan Fielding and Fortec’s Dan Ticktum claiming two victories each. Brazilian ace Matheus Leist (Double R) and Racing Steps Foundation driver Josh Smith (Fortec) took a win apiece, and all of the above have the speed and opportunity to claim further silverware.

A number of the frontrunners have been keeping their eye in during the MSA Formula season break by racing around the world. Fielding is due this weekend to make his UFS2000 Championship debut at Mid-Ohio, while Leist will be in action for the Double R team at Austria’s Red Bull Ring in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. Ticktum last weekend made his Formula Renault 2.0 NEC debut, claiming a pair of top-15 finishes at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

Meanwhile, law student Louise Richardson has been busy working as an paralegal intern during her break from racing. The 22-year-old is keeping her focus on the top step of the podium after her season turned a corner in June at Croft, where she scored her maiden podium, bracketed by a brace of top-five finishes at the wheel of her Richardson Racing-prepared car.

“Croft went really well,” said Louise. “We were all a bit disheartened after the Oulton Park rounds because we had such a miserable weekend there, so we were not looking forward to Croft as much as would have normally. But the team worked so hard on the car and changed so much on it… The attitude was ‘if it doesn’t work, then we have nothing to lose and at least we tried…’ but it did work.

“It was a combination of changes: I went to a simulator before Croft, which helped the driving side, and so many things were changed on the car. The combination gave us such a strong package and hopefully we can keep it up for Snetterton. We are still testing and trying new things, still working away at it and finding more time, and I need to continue to drive like I did at Croft. I quite like Snetterton, so hopefully the fact that I enjoy the circuit will help.” Louise’s regular team-mate, Ollie Pidgley, will be in action in Norfolk also and seeking to net a top-10 finish.

There will be plenty more talent on the Snetterton grid… Norris’s Carlin colleagues Colton Herta and Petru Florescu enjoyed their most competitive showings of the year last time out with 15-year-old Californian Herta following Smith home for second place in the Croft reverse-grid race and Romania’s Florescu taking an overall fourth and his maiden Rookie class win.

Falcon Motorsport duo Jessica Hawkins and Darius Karbaley will be looking for further strong results, as will the trio of quick drivers from JTR: Dan Baybutt, James Pull and Ameya Vaidyanathan. Jack Barlow is set to return with MBM after skipping a meeting, and then there is Double R’s Tarun Reddy, who will be buoyed by scoring his first podium finish at Croft, Jerseyman Jack Butel, now racing with Fielding for JHR Developments, and the TRS Arden team’s third man, kart champion Enaam Ahmed. Rafa Martins will meanwhile be hoping for a return to the form which brought him a podium finish at Thruxton and a top-four result at Oulton Park for the SWB Motorsport team.

The Snetterton action begins with two timed official test sessions next Friday, followed on Saturday by qualifying and the first of the weekend’s three races. Sunday afternoon’s finale will be screened live on ITV4.

Snetterton timetable
Fri 7 Aug: 1040 & 1440 Testing
Sat 8 Aug: 1100 Qualifying, 1510 Round 16
Sun 9 Aug: 0920 Round 17, 1520 Round 18 (live ITV4)

Norris triumphs in Ford-powered Thruxton thriller

  • Norris times his charge perfectly to secure his third victory of the season on the final lap
  • Rafael Martins leads much of race but slips to third behind Norris and Sandy Mitchell
  • Mechanical dramas cause retirement of championship leader Dan Ticktum

THRUXTON 10 MAY, 2015 – Thruxton’s bumper BTCC crowd were treated to a brilliant show-opening display of tense and exciting racing by the young stars of the Ford EcoBoost-powered MSA Formula Championship at Thruxton this morning. They staged a superb slipstreaming battle throughout the 20-minute epic, with three different leaders, dozens of overtakes and an outcome uncertain until the final lap.

In the end it was 15-year-old Lando Norris who emerged on top, the Carlin racer battling through from 10th on the grid. The Somerset star hit the top three by mid-distance, battled past Brazilian Matheus Leist for second four laps from the end, and then deprived Brazil’s other talent, Rafael Martins, of victory and the £1000 winner’s cheque on the final tour.

The super-fast Hampshire circuit suited the power delivery of the Ford EcoBoost engine perfectly, allowing the field to exploit their FIA-accredited F4 chassis to the max. Martins stole the initiative at the lights, getting a better blast-off than did pole man and championship leader Dan Ticktum, with Carlin’s Colton Herta slotting in behind him to push Ticktum back to third. Dan swiftly recovered to regain third from the American by the end of the opening lap, and then outdragged SWB Motorsport man Martins up Woodham Hill at the end of tour two to move into the lead.

Ticktum held top spot for another lap before he was slowed by fuel surge causing his engine to switch into ‘limp mode’, with Martins regaining the lead, now with Double R’s Leist and JTR man Dan Baybutt filling his mirrors. By the seventh lap Martins had a 0.6s lead, with Baybutt past Leist for second and closing in on the leader. Dan narrowed the leader’s advantage to nothing by the time they reached Woodham Hill, but Martins defended well and, as Baybutt attempted a right-then-left manoeuvre, he clipped the rear of the SWB car and spun into the weeds.

Rafael’s problems were far from over: first he had his countryman Leist clambering all over him and then, after four laps fending off Matheus, he found the mercurial Norris right on his tail. Lando had made steady progress through the pack to hit fourth spot by lap seven, which became third when Baybutt spun; it took him five laps to catch and pass Leist, a move executed through Village on lap 12. Two laps from the end Norris nosed ahead of Martins, a move that Rafa brilliantly responded to two corners later to regain the lead, before succumbing to Lando’s continuing assaults through the Complex on the final lap.

Meanwhile, Saturday victor Sandy Mitchell, who started seventh, was on a charge. He broke his day-old lap record on lap eight and moved ahead of Leist for third three laps from the end. Within sight of the chequered flag he followed Norris’s example and found a way past Martins up Woodham Hill to secure second place, a second adrift of the victor.

Martins held on for third to collect his maiden overall podium finish (and second in the Rookie class behind Mitchell), with Ricky Collard seizing fourth from Leist’s grasp two laps from the end. Just 0.4s covered the second to fourth place finishers. Herta completed the top six, ahead of Enaam Ahmed (Arden), Tarun Reddy (Double R) and Darius Karbaley, a top-10 finisher for the second race in succession for Falcon Motorsport. Sennan Fielding’s JHR Developments machine claimed 10th, with James Pull, a retiree for JTR yesterday, 11th and Louise Richardson completing the top 12 for Richardson Racing.

Winner Lando Norris “It was hard, particularly with the tail winds around the back of the circuit. To come from 10th on the grid to win is pretty amazing – I think it’s my best win yet, better than Brands. I had to time it right…”

Second, Sandy Mitchell “It’s been a good weekend so far, and it’s good to get a solid result when I started quite far back on the grid. I didn’t get the best start and dropped back a bit but the car really came on strong at the end. I’m really happy with second.”

Third, Rafael Martins “I am pleased with third but a little disappointed. The problem for me at the end was that my front wing came loose, I don’t know why. It slowed me a little.”

Provisional results Round 8, Thruxton, 10 May 2015
16 laps / 37.70 miles
1 Lando NORRIS / GBR / Carlin 20m 07.729s / 112.36mph
2 Sandy MITCHELL / GBR / TRS Arden +1.027s
3 Rafael MARTINS / BRA / SWB +1.257s
4 Ricky COLLARD / GBR / TRS Arden +1.300s
5 Matheus LEIST / BRA / Double R +1.428s
6 Colton HERTA / USA / Carlin +2.377s
7 Enaam AHMED / GBR / TRS Arden +5.399s
8 Tarun REDDY / IND / Double R +5.645s
9 Darius KARBALEY / GBR / Falcon +5.823s
10 Sennan FIELDING / GBR / JHR +8.660s etc

Fastest lap Mitchell 1m 13.927s / 114.72mph Rec

Rookie class 1 Mitchell, 2 Martins, 3 Ahmed, 4 Karbaley; 5 Petru FLORESCU / ROU / Carlin, 6 Josh SMITH / GBR / Fortec, 7 Ameya VAIDYANATHAN / IND / JTR, 8 Daniel BAYBUTT / GBR / JTR

Full results

Provisional championship standings
1 Dan Ticktum 120 points; 2 Collard 111; 3 Norris 100; 4 Leist 93; 5 James Pull 78; 6 Mitchell 61 etc
Rookie class 1 Ticktum 171; 2 Baybutt 120; 3 Mitchell 97; 4 Ahmed 88 etc