Lucas Blakeley – who finished third in the F1 Esports Series Pro 2021 Driver Standings – has announced he’ll be taking part in motorsport for real this coming season, with a full campaign of Scottish Formula Ford 1600.
2021 was truly a breakout year for the 20-year-old Scot, driving as he was for the Aston Martin Cognizant Esports team. He took his first F1 Esports Series Pro win in Bahrain, and went on to score points in every round.
In January this year, he announced his departure from Aston Martin, and headed to the Race of Champions (ROC) based in Pite Havsbad, Sweden.
There, he faced off against three other esports qualifiers in a chance to take on legends of motorsport like Petter Solberg, Mikka Häkkinen and Sebastien Loeb in the Nations Cup.
After he and Jarno Opmeer got the better of esports stars James Baldwin and Martin Palm, Opmeer pipped Blakeley to the eROC title. The top two esports performers were then drawn against Team Germany in the Nations Cup, competing as a special Team eROC ALL STARS entry.
The German team consisted of four-time F1 world champion Sebastien Vettel and reigning F2 champion Mick Schumacher, so it would be a tall order for the esports representatives to achieve any kind of result.
As it turned out, Team Germany progressed, but not before Blakeley pulled off a remarkable victory in one of the heats against Vettel, a moment that went viral around the globe. Vettel made it to the final only to be beaten by Loeb, reinforcing the gravity of Blakely’s achievement considering his experience levels.
Obviously buoyed by his brush with real life motorsport, Blakeley has elected to join the pinnacle of single seater racing in Scotland, securing a drive with the multiple championship-winning Graham Brunton Racing (GBR) squad. Blakeley is set to race in all six rounds of the championship, all scheduled to run at Fife’s Knockhill Racing Circuit – added to iRacing late last year.
He’ll be up against 2019 Scottish Formula Ford 1600 Championship runner-up Neil Broome and 2021 Walter Hayes Trophy finalist Michael Gray, as well as other still-to-announced open wheel talent.
Blakeley commented: “I never thought I’d get the opportunity to drive a real race car and cannot wait for the season to start, I’m totally realistic about results and expectations but I’m not here to make up the numbers, I think that’s something I share with team GBR we’re here to compete!”
Team boss of GBR, Graham Brunton, is suitably enthusiastic about Blakeley’s prospects: “His passion for the sport is incredible, a real student of the sport so even on the very first test day his feedback is relevant.
It really shows the transfer from esports to real racing is not the barrier to entry others think it is. The FF1600 car is very difficult to understand and feel what’s going on but Lucas has impressed from the get go.”
We’ll be sure to keep an eye on Blakeley’s progress throughout the year – this writer/amateur photographer lives ten minutes away from Knockhill so it would be frankly rude not to.
The question is, can simracing and esports prepare a driver for real motorsport?
Well, we know it can already, just ask Sebastien Vettel…
Scottish Formula Ford 1600 2022 Calendar
- Rounds One and Two – Knockhill Racing Circuit (Clockwise) – 10th April
- Rounds Three and Four – Knockhill Racing Circuit (Clockwise) – 21st August
- Rounds Five and Six – Knockhill Racing Circuit (Clockwise) – 9th October