Young people travelled to Bolton in a bid to realise their Formula 1 dreams.

Teenagers with dreams of following in the tracks of Lewis Hamiliton competed for a place in the 2023 Formula 4 British Championships at the nationally renowned University of Bolton's National Centre for Motorsport Engineering, which trains up the teams to work on high performance sports cars and help young people realise their racing ambitions.

For the past four months, motor racing organisation ROKiT has been searching the UK for the fastest esports  teenagers - who experience the virtual thrill of being in a racing car - who have what it takes to be just as quick on a real racetrack.

The Racing Star F1 Esports Competition final was held at the University of Bolton's National Centre for Motorsport Engineering with actor and racing driver Kelvin Fletcher on hand to support the teams.

Sixteen-year-olds Monica Boulton and Deagen Fairclough won the F4 seats.

The winners will be tested physically and trained in the cockpit of the 160mph Formula 4 car before applying for a coveted full racing licence.

The ROKiT Racing Star programme will then cover all their costs in a sport that usually requires drivers to find tens of thousands of pounds worth of sponsorship.

Monica said: "I am still speechless. I had performed well in the qualifying races online and thought I had a chance but the competition from the other girls here in Bolton was tremendous and I am just delighted I have come through.”

The ROKiT scholarship attracted nearly 1,000 applicants and during the finals weekend the top-performing eight girls and eight boys raced it out in the £85k racing simulators.

Kelvin took part in a series of simulation races and praised the ROKiT initiative being held in Bolton.

The Bolton News: Monica and DeaganMonica and Deagan

The former Emmerdale actor who is currently in the British GT Championships, said: “From anything I’ve seen, this doesn’t feel like a university, it feels like the McLaren factory.

“And then when it’s filled with these amazing F1 cars and racing simulators, it’s amazing and the students here are exceptionally lucky.

“As a car fanatic and a huge motorsport fan, this is the place really and Bolton is at the forefront of it.

“If you want to study motorsport, there’s only one place to come and it’s here.”

The Bolton News: Kelvin FletcherKelvin Fletcher

Former F1 team principal and driver Bob Fearnley spearheaded the ROKiT project in Bolton to provide students with the chance to pursue careers in motorsports, either as engineers and various personnel and drivers.

The ROKiT F4 team will also be set up and based in Bolton.

The Bolton News: Nickki DeanNickki Dean

Bob said: “For me, to be able to come back to the North, look at what we’re doing and to be able to give the opportunities to Bolton University, I want to get them to the premier university of motorsport.

“The key thing is to supply the engineering talent to F1 and that is very achievable.”

If Monica and Deagen are successful, they will be on the grid for the 2023 ROKiT Formula 4 Championships next season aiming to progress to the ultimate goal – Formula One.