Round 6 of the 2023 British F4 Esports Championship saw JHR by 29 eSports’ Gordie Mutch overhaul Peter Berryman at the top of the drivers’ standings thanks to a double win. With only two rounds remaining, the destination of both driver and team championships is becoming clearer, with Mutch, Berryman and Luke McKeown emerging as the only realistic contenders for individual honours.
The teams’ championship looks to be Stormforce Racing ART’s to lose, however, thanks to a huge 89-point lead accrued by Berryman and McKeown’s points-scoring efforts.
The fast sweeps of Donington Park’s GP layout would see another twist in the championship battle, however, and the first incident between our championship protagonists.
Despite being the form driver of the championship, Mutch could only muster seventh on the grid for Round 7’s opening race, with his two Stormforce Racing rivals lining up one-two on the grid; McKeown pipping Berryman to pole by less than a tenth.
The Williams Esports pair of Josh Lad and Moreno Sirica made up the second row of the grid, no doubt eager to take the team’s first win of a comparatively tough season.
Initially, McKeown and Berryman led from the front, but Berryman was first usurped by Sirica and then again by Mutch after a well-judged move at Coppice.
The race was a generally well-behaved affair, but on the final lap Sirica launched a failed attack on McKeown for the lead, allowing Mutch up the inside at the Melbourne Hairpin.
The pair headed to the line side-by-side but it was Sirica who finished a hair’s breadth ahead. Berryman held on for fourth after pressure from Lad, with team-mate McKeown taking an assured victory.
The reverse grid draw saw the top six reshuffled, with McKeown in sixth trying to hunt down poleman Alexander Davidson of Puresims Esports.
As the lights went green, Davidson made a tardy start and was quickly enveloped by the pack through Redgate. Berryman slotted into second behind Lad, with Mutch on the front-foot in third through Old Hairpin.
Further back, McKeown was hit with a slow-down penalty exiting the Fogarty Esses, relegating the championship contender down to 14th, losing precious points to both Berryman and Mutch in second and third respectively.
However, as Mutch tried to hang it out around the outside of Berryman at Turn 1, he squeezed the Stormforce Racing driver too far to the inside and instigated contact, with the Northern Irishman spinning out of contention,
Mutch, driving with a hobbled car, settled back into fourth, with McKeown his nearest championship rival down in ninth. Mutch was involved in another incident soon after, as the Scotsman appeared to misjudge the distance between his nose cone and the gearbox of Matt Emery ahead. Emery was fired wide at the Melbourne Hairpin as Mutch continued again, this time emerging fifth – one place ahead of McKeown.
McKeown made short work of Mutch, before displacing Altus Esports’ Ted Bradbury and setting off after the final podium position held by Mutch’s team-mate Stanley Deslandes.
Up front, it was a Williams Esports benefit, as Josh Lad headed Moreno Sirica in perfect formation. The pair were working together to build the gap to the chasing pack, with McKeown homing onto the rear wing of Deslandes.
Mutch, meanwhile, was suffering with damage and found himself dropping like a stone, falling out the points-paying positions as a result. On the final lap, McKeown made a move around the outside of Deslandes while under pressure from Bradbury, and successfully secured the final podium position behind the Williams Esports pair.
Bizarrely, a number of post-race penalties – including for the likes of Deslandes and Bradbury – led to Mutch securing seventh and Berryman 10th at the chequered flag, but McKeown still took a chunk of points out of both of his rivals.
This left the defending champion just a single point behind Mutch heading into the final round at Brands Hatch’s GP layout. Berryman is 26 points adrift in third, so is for all intents and purposes out of the championship hunt – barring disaster for his two opponents.
The deciding races of the 2023 British F4 Esports Championship will be broadcast live on RaceSpot TV’s YouTube channel on Wednesday, 29th of November, from 7PM UTC..
UK FF1600 Esports Cup, Round 7
Once again, Henry Moore stamped his authority over qualifying, with Jason Cooper showing off his steady progress this season by lining up in second.
Moore’s only realistic rival for the inaugural UK FF1600 Esports Cup, Dan Amor, lined up third, leaving him with some work to do to overhaul his dominant opponent. In an action-packed race, Moore broke the tow to the field behind, pulling a handy lead in the process.
Behind, his closest rivals were involved in a few too many incidents, with Amor losing several positions at McLeans in the early stages, only to be involved in another incident with Cooper after a stirring fightback.
As a result, Moore took a comfortable win from Ronnie Smith in second position, while Amor recovered to third.
The top five were reversed for the Race 2 grid, meaning Owen Whittall started on pole position, with Amor third, Smith fourth and Moore fifth. After Turn 1, Whittall led the way, with Amor slotting into second closely followed by Moore. Incredibly, by the time the field reached the Melbourne Hairpin on lap one. Moore was in the lead, with Smith and Amor hot on his heels.
In the last few laps Amor and Moore raced wheel-to-wheel in a display of glorious racecraft, with a last-gasp out braking manoeuvre from Amor so nearly resulting in the race win.
However, Moore held on to take his fifth race win in a row, all but securing the championship in the process.
British F4 Esports Championship, Round 7 Donington GP Race 1 results
British F4 Esports Championship, Round 7 Donington GP Race 2 results
Driver standings after Round 7
Team standings after Round 7
Calendar: British F4 Esports Championship 2023
Media Day, Silverstone National, 20th September Round 1, Brands Hatch Indy, 27th September Round 2, Donington National, 4th October Round 3, Snetterton 300, 11th October Round 4, Oulton Park International, 25th October Round 5, Silverstone GP, 8th November Round 6, Knockhill, 15th November Round 7, Donington GP, 22nd November
Round 8, Brands Hatch GP, 29th November
Images courtesy of Rhys Caryl / RC Sim Photography.