Titus Sherlock won in race one at Circuit of The Americas on Friday morning, but it wasn’t enough to hold off championship rival Patrick Woods-Toth, who claimed the drivers’ championship in Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda (F4 U.S.). Entering the weekend with a 66.5 point deficit, Sherlock (No. 31 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3) did everything he could, claiming the pole in qualifying and going on to lead every lap enroute to the checkered flag. Meanwhile, Woods-Toth (No. 27 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F4) moved forward from his fourth-place starting position to claim his 12th podium of the season and the championship title.
“This time last year, I really wasn’t even going to be racing [in 2023],” said Woods-Toth. “When I got an opportunity [to attend the Radford Racing School’s F4 U.S. Scholarship Award School] from the karting series that I’ve raced in, it was a great opportunity to drive a racecar for my first time, but I never thought it would lead to this. The opportunity is all thanks to Ron Fellows and Orlando—they’re my two biggest supporters. They’re the ones who got me here. It’s just incredible that we were able to do something like this. I don’t think anyone expected us to be so successful in our first season, but we worked really hard. I’ve got good people behind me, so I’m happy for them, and for myself, as well.”
When the lights went out, Sherlock jumped ahead of the field to control the race, but a caution during the opening lap gave his competition another chance to make a run at the lead. Second-place starter Daniel Cará (No. 10 Tenuta Foppa & Ambrosi Ligier JS F4) put up a hard fight to try to take the lead on the restart, but Sherlock once again pulled ahead.
During the first lap of the race, Woods-Toth was able to overtake Augie Soto-Schirripa (No. 24 International Motorsport Ligier JS F4) for the third position, and one lap after the restart, he passed Cará to claim second in Turn 12. Falling back to fourth, Soto-Schirripa was also looking to move forward as the race progressed — with just over 10 minutes left on the clock he moved into third, and then past Woods-Toth to claim second a couple laps later. All the while, Sherlock continued to lead the field.
With Soto-Schirripa closing in on his gearbox in the final minutes, Sherlock was able to hold off the charging competition. Coming to the white flag, Sherlock went wide through Turn 15, which allowed Soto-Schirripa to briefly pull side by side before returning to the point position. The two raced wheel to wheel again down the backstretch heading to the checkered flag. Soto-Schirripa briefly nosed ahead, but Sherlock made a race-winning move, braking late and diving into Turn 12 to take the lead.
As they crossed the line, it was Sherlock, followed by Soto-Schirripa and Woods-Toth. Making his very first F4 U.S. start, Ariel Elkin (No. 18 International Motorsport Ligier JS F4) finished fourth, followed by Cará in fifth.
“It was a super long and tough race today, but I just did exactly what I needed to do and stayed out front after starting on the pole” said Sherlock after the race. “I can’t thank my team enough; it’s been a great weekend so far. This morning was just good racing — the whole race I had maybe a couple of car lengths gap, but the last two laps, [Soto-Schirripa] was right on me. It was very intense. Coming into the weekend, we knew the championship was pretty much out of my hands, but second was still possible, and that’s what I need to focus on.”
Soto-Schirripa makes a late-race pass to win race two at COTA
Augie Soto-Schirripa won his fourth Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda race on Friday afternoon at the Mission Foods Austin SpeedTour weekend at Circuit of The Americas. The 23-year-old ran second to his teammate, series newcomer Ariel Elkin (No. 18 International Motorsport Ligier JS F4), for much of the race. The two put on a dynamic show, running wheel to wheel and swapping positions before Soto-Schirripa (No. 24 International Motorsport Ligier JS F4) finally sealed the deal, passing his teammate racing through Turn 15 on the penultimate lap.
While the rest of the field settled their running order, Soto-Schirripa and Elkin had opened up to nearly a four second advantage over the field. Nearly 14 minutes were left on the clock as Soto-Schirripa pulled wheel to wheel with his teammate through Turns 13-14. The move set off a five-minute battle of two-wide racing that was only slowed by a full course caution.
The race resumed with just three minutes left on the clock, the two International Motorsport teammates immediately resumed their battle for the lead. As they raced toward the white flag, Soto-Schirripa was able to complete the pass racing through Turn 15.
When they crossed the line, Soto-Schirripa led the way, with Elkin and Woods-Toth in tow behind him.
“This feels great,” said Soto-Schirripa. “A year ago, I wouldn’t have thought that I’d be here. So just being here is an honor. Look at this guy [teammate, Ariel Elkin]. I’m really proud of my teammate. One-two for the International Motorsport team—first-time ever that we bring two cars and we made it work. I’m over the moon right now. It was a fun race—probably the most fun race I’ve had all year. I think everyone enjoyed that, so hopefully we can put on a show tomorrow, too.”
The lights will go out for the final race of the 2023 season Saturday afternoon at 1:45pm ET. A free live stream of race three will kick off with coverage of the pre-race ceremonies at 1:30pm ET. Watch the broadcast on SpeedTourTV’s YouTube page, or access live timing and scoring on the Race Monitor app.