Brands Hatch Indy Circuit hosted the final race meeting of the Duo BRDC Formula 4 Championship season over the weekend, 26th/27th September, where SWR driver Jordan Albert wrapped-up a top six finish in the title standings and only just missed out on adding to his 2015 podium tally.
Ending the opening contest on Saturday with fifth position, the British racer challenged hard for the podium in the second encounter on Sunday morning but had to settle for a fourth place finish just a few tenths of a second shy of the rostrum. He then added seventh in race three to consolidate his placing in the championship’s top half dozen for the race winning Chipping Norton team.
Zubair Hoque, meanwhile, also chalked-up three more points finishes but it wasn’t enough to help him break into the coveted championship top 10. The first year racer ends his maiden campaign 14th in the standings for SWR.
“It’s been a season of highs and lows really this year”, said team owner Sean Walkinshaw, “It would have been great to end with a podium, Jordan only just missed out, but he’s done a great job this year and has always been there or thereabouts. His actual results this season, though, don’t really reflect his true pace or level of performance.
“Zubair has had a big learning year but he’s raced well, applied himself and taken three more strong points finishes this weekend. It would have been great to get both cars in the championship top 10 and although it wasn’t to be, we’re pretty happy overall.”
Only missing out on the round 22 pole position by a mere 0.3 seconds, Albert had to settle for seventh on the grid for Saturday afternoon’s race but swiftly moved into the top six where he stayed close behind fifth position lap after lap with overtaking on the tight Indy Circuit proving impossible.
As the race entered its closing stages, though, Sisa Ngebulana ran wide through the gravel at Clark Curve on lap 23 which enabled Albert to pounce and break into the top five. At the chequered flag two laps later, the Briton was just a couple of seconds shy of the podium placings.
Hoque, beginning the race in 17th position, gained two places at the start to smartly move into the top 15 and he continued his great early progress by moving into 14th spot on the second tour. Edged back to 15th place on lap six, Hoque remained there until the final five laps when shuffled down to 16th which he held to the flag.
Beginning round 23 on Sunday morning from fourth on the grid, Albert swiftly moved into third place and remained there to lap 10 when he was edged back to fourth. Staying close behind the two cars ahead in an extremely tight battle, the Briton was never more than a few tenths of a second shy of the podium and ultimately ended the race just 0.5 seconds shy of third position.
Starting race two in 16th place, Hoque quickly moved into the top 15 and then remained there for the duration of the 25 lap contest with overtaking all-but impossible. Like his team-mate, the Cheshire racer was only ever a fraction of a second behind the car ahead but Brands Hatch Indy Circuit again lived up to its reputation as a track difficult to overtake on in one-make single-seaters.
Lining up seventh and 18th on the grid respectively for the final race of the championship on Sunday afternoon, Albert and Hoque both wanted to end the season on a high but the tight and twisty layout again rendered passing opportunities almost non-existent with Albert staying in seventh the entire race, sandwiched between Jack Lang and Ciaran Haggerty.
As a few drivers hit problems on the opening lap, Hoque was able to slice his way into 13th place where he remained to lap six when edged back a position. Three laps from the finish, though, the first year driver was able to move back into 13th place as a result of a rival’s retirement.
With the 2015 championship now concluded, Oxfordshire based SWR awaits the arrival of its brand new Tatuus BRDC F4 cars which replace the outgoing MSV F4-013 in November’s Autumn Trophy ahead of the main 2016 season.
Commercial Manager Mick Gomme is keen to hear from drivers interested in not only racing the brand new car with SWR in the eight-race Autumn Trophy, but also those competitors who wish to take advantage of the squad’s exclusive winter testing programme in Spain.