Lochie Hughes Fights Back in Championship Battle with a Win in Race 2 at COTA

Lochie Hughes Fights Back in Championship Battle with a Win in Race 2 at COTA

AUSTIN, Texas (November 3, 2022) – With the Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda (F4 U.S.) Driver’s Points Championship title on the line, Lochie Hughes (No. 6 Jay Howard Driver Development / CSU One Cure / Lucas Oil / Pelican Ligier JS F4) took the win in Race 2 at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) on Thursday afternoon. Fighting back from a sixth-place finish in Race 1, Hughes scored maximum points to enter the final race of the weekend in control of the standings.

“That was a pretty fun race,” said Hughes recounting the event. “We started p6, so we just chipped away at it one-by-one, trying to get to the front. I was surprised with the pace we had. We made a few changes on the car after Race 1 and they worked quite well. The car felt really well. We were able to just hit our marks and work our way forward. I caught up to Bryson [Morris] and passed him into Turn 1, and then led the rest of the race from there.”

Rolling off sixth, Hughes was on a mission from the drop of the green flag. Picking up two positions on the opening lap, Hughes moved into third by the completion of lap two and into second one lap later. All that was left in front of Hughes was championship rival Bryson Morris (No. 39 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F4). Hughes caught Morris entering Turn 1 while working lap five, completed the pass and never looked back.

Meanwhile, Noah Ping (No. 65 Velocity Racing Development Ligier JS F4), the other driver still in contention for the championship, faced adversity in Race 2 despite starting from the pole position. As the field worked lap seven, Ping had dropped to the fifth position before contact sent him into a gravel trap. Unable to continue or complete 90% of the laps, his finish was not classified in the event.

The provisional results showed Hughes leading Morris to the checkered flag, followed by Andre Castro (No. 8 Future Star Racing Ligier JS F4). However, in a stewards decision after the race, it was determined that Morris crossed the blend line at pit exit to gain a position. A five-second penalty was assessed, which dropped Morris to seventh in the final running order. As a result, Castro moved up to second on the final results, and Alex Berg (No. 08 Penn Elcom / Lordco / Cedar Coast / Kirby Studios / L.A. Prep Ligier JS F4) finished third. 

The decision also affected the championship standings, as Morris dropped to 30 points behind Hughes, which locked Hughes in as the 2022 F4 U.S. Driver’s Points Champion.

A full rundown of the official results from Race 2 are available, here

F4 U.S. will contest their final race of 2022 tomorrow morning with Race 3 of the Mission Foods Austin SpeedTour. Lights out is scheduled for 9:15 a.m. CT. For updates, follow F4 U.S. on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or use Race Monitor to follow live timing and scoring.