Esports news | McKeown defends F4 title

11th December 2023
Andrew Evans

Luke McKeown has successfully defended his British F4 Esports title, beating pro racing driver Gordie Mutch by the slimmest of margins to take the title in a bizarre end to the season at Brands Hatch.

McKeown entered the final round ahead of Mutch only on countback, and then only courtesy of one additional third-place finish in comparison to his rival. His Stormforce team-mate Peter Berryman, who had led the way until Knockhill, was still technically in the title hunt but a poor Donington event left him 25 points adrift and all-but needing snookers.

Qualifying saw a new name on pole position as fortune finally favoured Stanley Deslandes, Mutch’s team-mate at JHR by 29 Esports, with Mutch lining up second ahead of Berryman and McKeown. Deslandes seemed keen to make the most of his pole position, not making it easy for his team-mate to get past and keeping the lead until a move from Mutch at Hawthorn. With Mutch on the inside, Deslandes lost momentum and immediately fell victim to Berryman behind.

It was soon to get worse for Deslandes, who unwisely tried to stick around the outside of Berryman at Paddock Hill. Slight contact allowed McKeown past both, and also put Deslandes wheel-to-wheel with Moreno Sirica at Druids. Further contact spat the JHR driver out into the gravel and down to eighth. With no rear-gunner, Mutch was under threat from both of his main rivals and, over the course of an exciting two laps, slipped behind both as McKeown took the lead. Berryman though had his own eye on the title, and beat McKeown into Druids on the final lap – which saw the top three covered by two car lengths almost throughout.

Mutch wasn’t able to capitalise though, as McKeown somehow held it around the outside of Westfield and Stirlings to keep second – with Josh Lad almost coming into the podium picture right at the end.

British F4 Esports Round 8 Race 1 Results

  1. Peter Berryman (Stormforce ART) – FIA F4 – 15 laps
  2. Luke McKeown (Stormforce ART) – FIA F4 – +0.275s
  3. Gordie Mutch (JHR by 29) – FIA F4 – +0.470s

The top six reverse grid meant that Deslandes would again start on pole position for the final race of the season, and he’d streak away from the chasing Lad and Remy Gilbert – who had Mutch for company as McKeown started to fall away behind. Berryman’s title hopes evaporated on lap one though, as he ran side-by-side with Jonas Wanner and ended up running wide to tumble out of the top ten.

Mutch was soon up to second, but McKeown was having a harder time. After toiling, unsuccessfully, to get past Lad, he fell behind Ted Bradbury who was aiming for his first podium of the season – and soon there was a ten-car scrap for third. McKeown did eventually get past Lad with a robust hip and shoulder at Sheene, and then somehow closed the gap back up to Bradbury to do the very same thing on the next tour. After a solid battle over the next lap, McKeown cemented the position when Bradbury made an error at Stirlings.

However the driver title’s destination was now in the JHR team’s hands. With Deslandes leading from Mutch, he only needed to allow his team-mate past to secure the trophy but, oddly, did not. Instead Deslandes took the win by over four seconds, and with Mutch and McKeown sharing fastest laps in the two races there was a tie at the top again.

That meant the championship would depend on any stewarding decisions from the final round, but with no penalties forthcoming it would be McKeown’s title on the basis of one more third-place finish with the two tied on points, wins, and seconds.

British F4 Esports Round 8 Race 2 Results

  1. Stanley Deslandes (JHR by 29) – FIA F4 – 15 laps
  2. Gordie Mutch (JHR by 29) – FIA F4 – +4.375s
  3. Luke McKeown (Stormforce ART) – FIA F4 – +15.531s

SRO America has hosted its final live esports event of the season, with a special Invitational challenge at the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) trade show in Indianapolis for invited esports aces, pro drivers and influencers, held at a special “PRI Show Esports Arena”, similar to the arenas set up at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps earlier this year.

The Sim Pro race, for invited pro esports drivers, saw the racers compete at the nearby Indianapolis, and it was dominated by Jyeed Hutchinson who won the GT World Challenge America race there earlier in the year. Having qualified on pole position, the Lamborghini factory driver was aided by a three-car collision behind him into turn one – sending the second-place car of Chris Severt down the order – but was pulling away at the rate of about a second a lap from Aloo Gobi behind.

Severt was providing the entertainment though, carving back through the pack from seventh on lap one to get back into a podium spot with ten laps gone. In fact Severt would close back up onto Gobi in the last ten minutes, resulting in the most intense battle of the race as the two clashed on several occasions.

That culminated in a braking error from Severt into turn 12 which almost resulted in a veritable plane crash, but Gobi was able to avoid it to secure a second-place finish for her McLaren.

PRI Esports Arena Sim Pro Invitational

  1. Jyeed Hutchinson (Lamborghini) – Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo – 37 laps
  2. Aloo Gobi (Griphax Engineering) – McLaren 720S GT3 – +35.822s
  3. Chris Severt (ST Racing) – BMW M4 GT3 – +44.392s
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