15-year-old Bajan racer Kyffin Simpson scored a best finish of 9th amongst 33 runners on a competitive F4 United States Championship debut last weekend, despite a truncated Rounds 1 and 2 series schedule due weather and competitor incidents at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington OH.
The #21 Velocity Racing Development entry began with a strong showing in the first of two 30-minute practice sessions, placing 7th of all runners, even with a number of incidents and ‘full-course yellow’ laps to navigate. This would prove to set the tone for the remainder of the weekend as 26 rookie drivers experienced F4 U.S. race running for the first time.
Following a second practice session on Friday morning, Kyffin scored 14th overall in the afternoon’s 20-minute qualifying session with a time of 1:29.545. As per the series regulations, this awarded Kyffin with a 14th-placed start for Round 1, whereas Round 2’s grid would be determined by the fastest laps from the prior round.
The first race day came on Saturday June 27 with rain clouds darkening the sky over the Lexington circuit, threatening a wet start to the F4 U.S. series. However, the field was split on tyre choice with some opting for slicks versus grooved wet rubber. Before the green flag, heavy began to fall and Round 1 was declared ‘wet’ by race official, requiring all slick tyre runners to change to wets before the race could begin as planned.
Now shortened to 15 minutes, Round 1’s start proved to be just as chaotic with multiple incidents forcing a full-course yellow and Safety Car deployment. As Kyffin gained three spots from 14th to place 11th on the opening lap, he crossed the line take the chequered flag 5 laps later under Safety Car procedure. Per Article 6.4 of the FIA Formula 4 regulations, no points were awarded for Round 1 as all laps were completed under the Safety Car.
Thankfully, Sunday’s Round 2 brought dry weather and 25 minutes of racing, and Kyffin made a strong start from 14th on the grid to take two places on the opening lap. By the fifth time by, Kyffin had gained a further position set his sights on teammate Erik Evans ahead, fighting for 9th Varun Choksey of Crosslink-Kiwi Motorsport.
As the two slowed in fighting for position, Kyffin passed both cars with a bold move on the outside of Turn 5 and quickly caught the leading pack ahead, joining the slipstream of Jay Howard Driver Development’s Bijoy Garg in 8th. However, his charge through the field would be brought to a premature end, as a final full-course yellow came on lap 11 of 13. Kyffin crossed the line two laps later in 9th to secure two F4 U.S. Championship points.
Rounds 3 and 4 sees Kyffin and the VRD team take on Virginia International Raceway in Alton, VA, for the Andy Scriven Memorial event on July 17-19 2020.
Kyffin Simpson is supported by sponsors Simpson Race Products, GoPro, SPY Optics and Kokoro Performance.