Sydney Motorsport Park is one of only two circuits the CAMS PAYCE Australian Formula 4 Championship has visited every year since its inception in 2015. Its flowing European style is a perfect match for the winged-and-slicked Formula 4 machines, with every round proving memorable.
The championship’s first Sydney round in 2015 was also its first to be held in the wet. With Queensland hosting the two opening rounds, Townsville and Ipswich respectively, the season started unseasonably warm for the European-bred Mygale cars.
It was familiar conditions though when the championship arrived during a Sydney winter in late August 2015. The first race was held in the dry though, and was won by eventual champion Jordan Lloyd of Team BRM ahead of now Super2 Series driver Thomas Randle by less than a second.
Another eventual champion Nick Rowe claimed a sensational first career win in the championship’s first ever wet race. The win was certainly no fluke for the AGI Sport driver, emphatically winning ahead of Randle by 12 seconds.
The best race of them all though was saved for the third and final race, with the two championship frontrunners in Lloyd and Randle engaging in a hard-fought scrap for the win. Remarkably for what was the first wet weekend for the entire field, Australian Formula 4 was the only category during the Supercars event not to call on the Safety Car.
With a consistent string of podiums, Randle won the round despite not winning a race throughout the weekend. It was the first round win for Randle and his DREAM Motorsport squad, who would eventually finish the season runners up to Lloyd and Team BRM.
Formula 4 returned to Sydney in 2016, this time as part of the Shannons Nationals for the first time.
It was a weekend of firsts too, with Nick Rowe claiming his first career pole position with AGI Sport in the third round of the year.
Popular New South Welshman Harry Hayek also made his return to Australia after a brief spell in British F4 earlier in the year, and was immediately on the pace scoring two podiums in his home round with Team BRM.
Luis Leeds, then a British F4 and Red Bull Junior driver, also claimed his first Australian Formula 4 race win in the weekend’s third and final race.
After nearly a season and a half of racing, AGI Sport finally clinched their first ever round win and on their home track to boot.
The championship’s third visit to Sydney Motorsport Park in 2017 was unusually frantic, though with it being the penultimate round of the season plenty of drivers were eager to maximise points before the season finale.
The first two races were marred by early race clashes that caused lengthy safety car delays, before finally clearing for a clean final race.
Team BRM’s Cameron Shields claimed pole and opening race honours, before Rowe charged up again to win the final two races and eventually the round. Rowe became the first back-to-back round winner in the championship’s history.
Now Super2 Series driver and last year’s Super3 Series winner Tyler Everingham also appeared on the final podium place, and remarked on the unusual characteristics of the track that weekend.
“It was definitely a weird round, one of the more interesting ones. The track felt really funny, it was changing session to session. We found it really greasy and hard to find a balance in the car,” Everingham said.
Sydney Motorsport Park has certainly been kind to AGI Sport over the years, but the squad never encountered a better weekend than that of the round in 2018.
Then AGI Sport driver Ryan Suhle claimed Castrol Pole Position and locked out the front row with teammate Jayden Ojeda.
Ojeda stamped his authority to then sweep all three races, all but confirming his championship title heading into the final round in New Zealand, and adding a maximum 75 points to his tally.
The only driver to come close that weekend was Team BRM’s Aaron Love, also featuring on the podium in all three races.
With the earlier visit to Sydney Motorsport Park compared to the last two years, this year’s edition may require a different attitude to tackling the speedy circuit.
Luis Leeds will be eager to add to his sole race win tally, having enjoyed success in the last round at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. Leeds’ nearest rivals Ryan Suhle and Lochie Hughes of Team BRM are also tied on points heading into Sydney.
Sydney Motorsport Park Stats
Driver Pole Positions: Thomas Randle, Nick Rowe, Cameron Shields, Ryan Suhle
Pole Positions by Team: AGI Sport (2), Team BRM (1), DREAM (1)
Driver Race Wins: Nick Rowe (4), Jayden Ojeda (3), Jordan Lloyd (2), Will Brown (1), Luis Leeds (1), Cameron Shields (1)
Team Race Wins: AGI Sport (7); Team BRM (4); DREAM Motorsport (1)
Driver Round Wins: Thomas Randle (2015), Nick Rowe (2016, 2017), Jayden Ojeda (2018)
Team Round Wins: AGI Sport (3), DREAM Motorsport (1)