The 2018 CAMS PAYCE Australian Formula 4 Championship last night celebrated its season and handed out a number of invaluable test days, as the year’s racing drew to a close in New Zealand.
Along with the top three championship presentations, prizes were also awarded with all teams, drivers and guests reflecting on the year’s racing.
2017 Australian Formula 4 runner-up Liam Lawson was the evening’s guest of honour. The local New Zealander spoke about his time in Australia, and his recent season in Europe that saw him also finish runner-up in the German F4 Championship.
“It’s been really nice to see Australian Formula 4 in our country,” Lawson said.
“I enjoyed watching it and it was nice to see everyone again. The racing was really good, I was impressed by it actually. There was a lot of aggressive style driving, Pukekohe’s a bumpy track so I was surprised to see Formula 4. It was really cool.
“The way this championship is like – all the teams, drivers get together for something like this prize giving ceremony and celebrate together… everybody gets on. Over in Europe, it’s different. The culture is quite different, that’s what I missed about this.”
Team BRM’s Lochie Hughes locked away the Burson Auto Parts Rookie of the Year title on Saturday, the first in the team’s history. Hughes was also the first driver to claim a clean sweep of rookie round wins, claiming an impressive seven out of seven this season.
The Queenslander was formally awarded the prize, which sees the car lease fee waived for his entry in next season’s championship.
“It’s pretty good to get my name on the board, it’s been a great year with Team BRM and I can’t thank them enough for the hard work and effort they’ve put in to the racing on and off track,” Hughes said.
“I can’t wait to race F4 next year. To make it seven out of seven this year was phenomenal. It’s going to be a long break but I can’t wait to drive again.
“I haven’t made big mistakes like you might expect from a rookie, I’ve been learning and tried to keep everything straight. Hopefully next year we can do the same thing overall in the championship.”
Two Porsche Carrera Cup test days with Volante Rosso were awarded to Ryan Suhle and Aaron Love, with the duo handpicked for the test day by the squad.
Aaron Love finished third outright in this year’s championship race, emulating the feat his older brother Jordan made in the 2016 Formula 4 Championship. The Porsche test with Volante Rosso was fitting for Aaron, with his brother also currently a Porsche Junior Driver.
“We stuck to our goals from day one to be really consistent. Bitter sweet end to the year though, we really wanted to get up there on the top step of the championship but I’m still stoked to get third,” Love said.
“It’s going to be great fun to have the test day in the Porsche with Volante Rosso. That’ll definitely be an eye opener, hopefully we can learn a lot from that. We’ll choose our pathway for the next couple of years in a few weeks I hope.”
The timing was perfect for Suhle as he sets his sights on the Porsche pathway after Formula 4 next year.
“I’m absolutely grateful. I think that’s pretty exciting to be selected,” Suhle said.
“I think it’s going to be cool to sample the next level up with a Carrera Cup test, and come back down and run GT3 Cup Challenge next year.
“Any time in a faster car than what you’re doing is important. The opportunity to test their car, and they run a really good operation, I’m excited to have a day with Aaron Love in a Porsche.”
Champion Jayden Ojeda was also the winner of the two-round shootout for the Castrol Toyota Racing Series test day in December, by claiming the most amount of points across the last two rounds in Sydney and New Zealand.
‘To head back to New Zealand and try my hand at the Toyota Racing Series car will be an amazing experience,” Ojeda said.
“I can tell already, the people at Toyota have really put together an amazing series and car so I’m just ecstatic to get to give one of their cars a whirl.”
December will be a busy time for Ojeda, with the main championship prize of a Supercar test day with Brad Jones Racing concluding the evening’s prize giving ceremony.
“Brads’ a little bit of an icon within Australian motor sport and has been in the game along time, December is going to be a big month for me and I can’t wait to drive a Supercar,” Ojeda said.
“It’s what I grew up watching and inspired me to get into motor sport, so it’s a little bit of a lifetime dream to drive one.”
Details of the 2019 CAMS PAYCE Australian Formula 4 Championship, along with CAMS Rising Star applications, will be announced in the coming weeks.