Formula 4 South East Asia – fueled by Petron – attracts serious racers from all over the world in order to realise their true potential. Event 4 held at the Sepang International Circuit last weekend was no exception and amongst the competitors were a pair of Sri Lankans.
Colombo-native Eshan Pieris, who competed in the season’s kick-off at Sepang for the Finale of the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix back in September 2017, re-joined the championship hoping to clinch the coveted event trophy.
Eshan was joined this event by fellow countryman Liam Lawrence. Although new to F4 SEA, Liam tested in the Asia Cup Series with Meritus.GP where he first made his acquaintance with formula cars.
Liam was just 12 years old when he was first introduced to the world of karting, inspired by his father’s love of motorsport.
At Event 4 of the 2017-18 F4 SEA Championship, the 21-year-old Sri Lankan could not conceal his excitement for the six-race battle that awaited him:
“My goal is to be on the podium, that’s the single biggest motivator for me right now!”
Although he comes from a renowned sporting family, Eshan Pieris is not taking anything for granted and explains:
“I got my love of racing from my dad (David Pieris) and with his blessing, I started my racing career back in 2013.”
In testing sessions at the Asian Le Mans support event in Sepang last weekend, both Sri Lankan drivers showed potential as they consistently improved their lap times.
By Free Practice and qualifying Eshan was at the top of the leader board while Liam stayed on form.
Eshan was on pole for the first race, but a collision at turn 1 with Kane Shepherd saw him spin out, re-joining at the back of the grid. Eshan and Liam finished in eighth and eleventh places respectively.
The second race saw Eshan start second behind Daniel Cao, from whom he quickly stole first position which he held onto until the flag waved.
The third race witnessed the battle between Eshan and Hibiki Taira which resulted in both drivers taking each other out. Liam finished ninth.
Race 4 saw Eshan on pole but a mechanical issue prevented him from starting the race, gifting pole to Kane Shepherd. Liam meanwhile beat Luke Thompson to the flag in his best time thus far of 2:15.868.
By the penultimate race of the weekend, Eshan bettered his time in qualifying while Liam was not far behind in the mid-field.
The heat was on in the final race. Along with every other driver on the grid Eshan and Liam went all out for victory. However, in the heat of the action, Eshan spun out going up into Turn 9. Liam finished the weekend achieving his fastest lap of the event in the final race.
At every F4 SEA event. the ‘Event Championship Trophy’ is awarded to recognise the driver who performed best over the entire 6 races of the weekend. The event championship is scored on reverse points, with first position scoring 1 point, second place receiving 2 points, and so on. The goal is to get the least points overall to win the Event Champion Title.
The tally showed that Eshan had accumulated 55 points while Liam collected 62 points.
F4 SEA is designed to be a cost-effective first step on the Asian FIA ladder to Formula1. Young talents such as Eshan Pieris and Liam Lawrence are already on their way to creating professional careers in the sport. F4 SEA is the only championship in South East Asia providing an avenue for drivers to start collecting FIA F4 points towards a Super Licence.