Penrite Preview: Sydney Motorsport Park

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Round Three of the CAMS Jayco Australian Formula 4 Championship is an important juncture for this year’s title fight, with this round being the crucial halfway point of the season.

With Australian Formula 4 mainly featuring as a support event across various rounds of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, this weekend’s round will be the first to be held at a weekend of the Shannons Nationals.

Three practice sessions and slightly longer Sunday races will give our group of young drivers crucial track time to further develop their race craft. Live streaming will also be available for free during Sunday’s two races.

Many of the teams recently took advantage of a test day at Sydney Motorsport Park last month, with over half of the grid entered this weekend having never raced at this venue previously outside of testing.

Some familiar names will be mixing it with the current class of drivers, with British F4 and Red Bull Junior Team driver Luis Leeds returning home for a one-off appearance with DREAM Motorsport.

Fellow British F4 driver, and 2015 Australian Formula 4 driver, Harry Hayek will also be racing at home again aboard a fifth Team BRM prepared car.

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Team BRM: Will Brown, Josh Denton, Brenton Grove, Harry Hayek & Jordan Love

Team BRM’s Jordan Love enters this round with a nine-point lead over fellow teammate Will Brown, having won four out of the last six races between Symmons Plains and Phillip Island.

“I raced here last year and loved it so really looking forward to getting back to racing on this track,” Love said.

Brown has only clinched one race victory this season and will be eager to claw back the championship lead.

“We’ve done a test day there this year already, so really looking forward to racing there,” Brown said.

Karting graduate Josh Denton has enjoyed a standout season to be the best placed rookie, currently sitting fourth in the championship – only 14 points behind AGI Sport’s Nick Rowe.

“I wasn’t expecting to be this far up the field, but I’m glad I’m here,” Denton said.

Fellow rookie Brenton Grove has enjoyed all the highs and lows that motor sport has to offer – from winning his first race on debut at Symmons Plains, to having a mammoth high-speed crash in qualifying at Phillip Island.

“The first two rounds, I’ve kind of experienced everything I can in motor sport,” Grove said.

“I’ve won a race, I’ve crashed, I’ve stalled on the grid, I’ve hit someone, and I’ve been hit … I definitely want to try to be a bit more consistent and get some results.”

After spending much of the year racing in British F4, local New South Welshman Harry Hayek is excited to return home aboard familiar surroundings at Team BRM.

“Really looking forward to racing at Sydney Motorsport Park against some of my mates and especially looking forward to catching up with Mark [Rundle] and the BRM boys,” Hayek said.

“I appreciate how good they are after my English experience, and they certainly wouldn’t look out of place in any European single seater championship.”

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AGI Sport: Nick Rowe & Jack Smith

The dynamic duo of Nick Rowe and Jack Smith have kept their racing skills sharp in the two-month gap since Formula 4 last raced at Phillip Island, coincidentally making appearances in the Australian GT Trophy Series and Australian Endurance Championship in past rounds of the Shannons Nationals.

Rowe enjoyed his first Formula 4 victory at this venue last year, with his experience in speedway helping the Karratha driver win in treacherous rain.

“Hopefully we get a bit more rain there again, that’d be good fun! We’ll do a bit more testing and we’ll see if we can get a bit closer,” Rowe said.

“So far it’s been good. We’ve shown good pace, but just made a few driver errors and a few other mistakes. We’ll be right, we’ll work on it. Hopefully we can get the car a bit faster and be there for the rest of the season.”

AGI Sport rookie Jack Smith is eager to improve his sixth place in the championship standings, having also kept race ready aboard a MARC in the Australian GT Trophy Series.

“I’m feeling fairly confident going into Sydney,” Smith said.

“I’d like to move up the order a little bit further and start to get closer to the front of the grid.”

Smith is one of many rookies in the field stepping up from karts to open-wheelers, and is growing with confidence with every passing session.

“The transition to F4 has been really good. The racing’s been good, getting comfortable with the race weekends and formats and everything, feeling comfortable and keep it going for the rest of the year.”

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DREAM Motorsport – Josh Conroy, Simon Fallon & Luis Leeds

DREAM Motorsport will be looking to interrupt the championship battle between Team BRM and AGI Sport, with the Victorian team armed with three fast youngsters this weekend.

New South Welshman Josh Conroy will be eager to deliver his best result of the season, having previously raced at this venue aboard a Radical in the NSW State Series.

“I want to be higher up [in the championship] but now to get to Sydney Motorsport Park and experience this car here, it’s like a revelation for me,” Conroy said.

Conroy’s teammate Simon Fallon enjoyed his first experience aboard a Formula 4, having made the leap from karts to open-wheel racing at the previous round at Phillip Island.

“It was fun! I enjoyed it, just kept learning each race and that’s what I plan to do this weekend,” Fallon said.

Current British F4 driver Luis Leeds will also make a one-off appearance this weekend aboard a third DREAM Motorsport car supported by long time sponsor Austrans.

The young Victorian has timed the British mid-season break perfectly to include a full race weekend upon his brief return home.

“All the other [British F4] guys will be practicing throughout the summer break of course. I’ve got to make sure I get my practice and prep in before the next round at Snetterton,” Leeds said.

“I’ve learnt a lot since I’ve been in the UK, in the first half of the season. Surely I’ll be able to take some of it back home… Last year I never got the race win, I kept coming second, hopefully I can come back and tick off that race win!”

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Junior Racing Development – Tyler Everingham

Having had past success in National and State Formula Vee, JRD made the leap to Australian Formula 4 with Dubbo junior karter Tyler Everingham earlier this year.

At the recent test day, Everingham was growing with confidence inside the car and was enjoying his first experience of the Sydney Motorsport Park circuit.

“It’s a great track, little bit bumpy but it has loads of grip on the outside line,” Everingham said.

“Starting to move the car around a little bit, starting to dance it through a couple of corners it’s been great.”

With two full race weekends under his belt, the Dubbo teenager has sensed his progression since April’s opening round in Tasmania.

“I’ve made a big step up from the first round, but I think I’ll do even better at Sydney,” Everingham said.

“It’s a pretty flowing track and you definitely need some guts to drive it flat out!”

Entry List

Number Driver Team Sponsor State
7 Tyler Everingham JRD Everingham Electrical & Data NSW
20 Luis Leeds DREAM Motorsport Austrans VIC
23 Brenton Grove Team BRM Grove Hire/Hyped Media VIC
26 Harry Hayek Team BRM Laing+Simmons Potts Point NSW
27 Simon Fallon DREAM Motorsport CoolDrive VIC
51 Josh Conroy DREAM Motorsport Driving Solutions NSW
68 Jack Smith AGI Sport SCT Logistics QLD
79 Jordan Love Team BRM TFS WA
91 Josh Denton Team BRM Pink’s Mitre 10/Kosmic Kart SA
97 Nick Rowe AGI Sport SCT Logistics WA
99 Will Brown Team BRM Cars Galore QLD

Schedule

Day Time Session Time/Laps
Friday 1 July 8:55am Practice 1 20 Minutes
Friday 1 July 10:35am Practice 2 20 Minutes
Friday 1 July 1:10pm Practice 3 20 Minutes
Saturday 2 July 9:40am U Race It Pole Position 20 Minutes
Saturday 2 July 1:04pm Race 1 10 Laps
Sunday 3 July 9:04am Race 2 12 Laps
Sunday 3 July 12:14pm Race 3 15 Laps

Penrite Preview

The two championship protagonists of 2015, Jordan Lloyd and Thomas Randle, produced one of the championship’s most impressive and memorable pieces of driving we had seen in our short history.

Official Hashtag: #F4AU 🏎 ⚓

This weekend’s hashtag is the racing car emoji accompanied with an anchor, despite Sydney Motorsport Park being 55 kilometres outside of Sydney Harbour.

Live streaming will also be available for Sunday’s two races via the Shannons Nationals website.