Double-chance at Winton

The CAMS PAYCE Australian Formula 4 Championship reaches a critical point in this year’s title hunt, with six races across two rounds to be held this weekend at Winton Motor Raceway.

It will be Australian Formula 4’s second appearance at the Shannons Nationals in 2018, after June’s Phillip Island round.

AGI Sport’s Jayden Ojeda made the most of that Phillip Island weekend, claiming a clean sweep of Castrol Pole Position and three race wins. The New South Welshman then repeated that feat at Queensland Raceway and holds a 25-point lead over his nearest rival Cameron Shields.

With six races to be held across Saturday and Sunday, it’s a challenge that Ojeda has not experienced even in his karting days.

“I’d never done that many races in a race weekend, so it’ll be a new experience for myself and it’ll be a lot to take in,” Ojeda said.

“Having three races on the one day will be a lot… hopefully we can have a strong car for both rounds.”

Despite Winton being a popular testing venue for Australian Formula 4 teams, 2018 will be the first time in the championship’s history that Winton will formally host a race weekend.

“I mean it’s going to be all hell down there, especially with such a tight track as well,” Ojeda said.

“A lot of tracks we’ve gone through this year have been nice, open and flowing. To change the style of the track as well will be interesting and hopefully change the field up a little bit.”

A maximum of 150 points is on offer across Saturday and Sunday’s races, which will play a major part in this year’s title story.

Suhle leading the pack during at Phillip Island

Ojeda, who is in his first season of Formula 4, will face some strong competition with his teammate Ryan Suhle, Cameron Shields and Aaron Love in the thick of the championship hunt – all of whom have experience from 2017’s double-round.

“I think it was it was fantastic to have a double round though, because we all got into a groove. You bring the cars the whole way here and it’s good to do the extra bit of racing because obviously racing is our fix,” Suhle said.

“So if you can do an extra three races and an extra qualifying session, we’re on.”

Suhle is one of three drivers in this year’s field to have experienced the demands of a double-round, with Cameron Shields and Aaron Love also keen to take on Winton.

“I really like it. I like that kind of thing. I’m really serious in my training as well, so keeping fit is a big part of what I do for racing so I’m certainly looking forward to that,” Shields said.

“Having the double rounds can really help you, or it can really hurt you as well. So we’re certainly hoping this year that our luck can turn around and hopefully play in our favour.”

Lochie Hughes currently leads the Burson Auto Parts Rookie of the Year title chase by 14 points over teammate Zayd Tones, and 30 points over Patrizicorse’s Jackson Walls.

Walls in action during the Symmons Plains opening round.

While the prospect of six races in one weekend may seem challenging, it is one that even our field of Burson Auto Parts Rookies are eager to tackle.

“Yes, are you serious? We are so keen for that round. It’s going to be the best round of the year,” Patrizicorse’s Jackson Walls said.

“Six races in one weekend, and two qualifying sessions. What more can you ask for? It’s going to be flat out.”

The CAMS PAYCE Australian Formula 4 Championship will qualify twice on Friday 31 August, followed by round four’s races on Saturday, and round five’s on Sunday.

Round five will be streamed live and free on the Shannons Nationals livestream at formula4.com.au, with highlights to air on SBS’ Speedweek in the following weeks.