Monica Boulton Ramos and Deagen Fairclough have been named the inaugural ROKiT Racing Stars after a hugely competitive Grand Final at the University of Bolton yesterday (15 May), netting both teenagers a life-changing opportunity to race in ROKiT British F4 in 2023.
The innovative scheme, spearheaded by former President of the FIA Single Seater Commission Bob Fernley and ROKiT, is unique to British motorsport and seeks to not only unearth the next generation of talented youngsters, but also to remove the cost barrier to compete.
Held after a gruelling five-event qualifying championship on RaceRoom software, the Grand Final utilised a fleet of £85,000 simulators, specially imported to the University of Bolton from Switzerland for the competition, for 15 of the country’s brightest stars – seven girls and eight boys – to battle it out for a pair of Hitech GP-supported seats in Britain’s FIA Formula 4 series for 2023.
Competing just hours before a GCSE exam, BRSCC Fiesta Junior racer Fairclough ticked every box en route to the top prize, first claiming pole position, then a clean sweep of victories – two from two – around the virtual Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit to secure his place as the Male Racing Star, his nearest challenger second-placed Theo Micouris.
“I’m so over the moon,” said an ecstatic Fairclough. “I’m so speechless. ROKiT have given us such a fantastic opportunity, I’ve been waiting for an amazing opportunity like this, and it’s come around. I’m really overwhelmed, I can’t believe it.”
Boulton Ramos’ route to the equivalent prize in the female category was calmness personified. Starting second behind pole-sitter Jess White for the opening race, the 16-year-old wrested the lead away at Paddock Hill Bend, then gradually built up a 10.2-second winning margin over Chloe Grant; a repeat performance would see her crowned champion.
But a twist in the tale came when Grant passed Boulton Ramos for the lead at Druids on the opening lap. Undeterred, the Towcester-based racer kept the pressure up, and an off for Grant at Hawthorns two laps from home returned Boulton Ramos to the front of the field, and she duly brought home a second win to win the coveted F4 seat in style.
“I am still speechless,” Monica commented. “I had performed well in the qualifying races online and thought I had a chance but the competition from the other girls here in Bolton was tremendous and I am just delighted I have come through.”
Both drivers will now complete six months of training in readiness for competition, supported by both the Motorsport UK Academy and Hitech GP. They will then begin testing later in the year, before taking up full-time race seats in ROKiT British F4 for 2023.
“Women are hugely under-represented in motor racing, and I wanted to give an opportunity to a new talent,” added Fernley, who first conceived the programme. “Monica fits the bill. She is a talented gamer and now we want to take that talent and translate into performance in a real car in the real world. It is the opportunity of a lifetime, and I am sure she will grasp it.
“And Deagen has shown fantastic quality, too, in our finals. The driving standards were incredibly high and these two are great prospects for the future of motor racing in Britain. This is only the first year of Racing Star but we have already unearthed great talent among youngsters who might otherwise never get a chance to drive to the top of motor racing.”