AUSTIN, Texas (November 3, 2023) – Titus Sherlock won in Race 1 at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) on Saturday morning, but it wasn’t enough to hold off championship rival Patrick Woods-Toth, who claimed the 2023 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.”
Notes of Interest:
- Patrick Woods-Toth claimed the 2023 F4 U.S. Driver’s Championship with his third-place result in Race 1 at the Mission Foods Austin SpeedTour.
- Woods-Toth’s Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport team also claimed the Team Championship title in F4 U.S. allowing them to sweep both titles.
- Titus Sherlock broke his tie with Michael Costello to overtake second in the points championship.
- Augie Soto-Schirripa claimed his fifth podium in 10 F4 U.S. starts this season.
- Ariel Elkin finished fourth in his F4 U.S. Debut. Setting fast lap of the race, the Israel-born driver, who recently competed in the F4 Italian Championship, will start on the pole for Race 2.
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.
READ MORE: Race 1 Official Results
“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.”
F4 U.S. is back on track for Race 2 of the Mission Foods Austin SpeedTour weekend this afternoon at 5:35 p.m. CT. The race will be available to stream on the SpeedTourTV YouTube page, and live timing and scoring can be accessed on the Race Monitor app. For additional news and updates from the season finale weekend, follow F4 U.S. on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.