15-year-old racer Kyffin Simpson achieved three notable top-ten finishes in the latest FIA Formula Regional Americas event at Homestead-Miami Speedway, 2nd-4th October 2020.
The HMD Motorsports driver highly impressed throughout the weekend, ending a practice session in 2nd, and rounding it off with 8th, 7th and 7th placed finishes in the three 35-minute races. During Kyffin’s first two race weekends in the FR Americas Championship, he has gained an impressive 11 places in race conditions, thanks to smart overtakes and imposing speed.
Kyffin started the weekend on a strong note, setting the 4th fastest time in the first practice session; and then wowed by launching his #59 HMD Motorsports Ligier JS F3 into 2nd place during Practice 2, achieving a lap time only 0.098s off the leader. The young Bajan outpaced both his HMD teammates by over 1s and was looking strong heading into Qualifying.
Unfortunately, Miami, FL, experienced severe weather conditions over the weekend, and torrential rain caused the FR Americas qualifying to be cancelled. This was especially disappointing for Kyffin, who was entering the session off the back of a very strong Friday. It was decided that the starting grid for Race 1 would be determined by championship points, meaning Kyffin, who is very new to the Championship, would line up the #59 car in 11th.
Despite starting last on the grid and competing on a still rain-soaked track, Race 1 proved successful for Kyffin, who fought hard to gain places and finish in 8th. His real speed showed after the first 10 laps, and he went on to achieve a fastest lap time of 1:25.742, placing him in 5th on the grid for Race 2.
The second 35-minute race of the weekend started well for Kyffin, with him pressuring the 4th placed driver in the opening laps. Unfortunately, a daring move by the Bajan resulted in the #59 car going briefly off-track, resulting in the loss of some places, but he soon pushed back into 6th position.
Despite some air wash affecting his performance, Kyffin continued to pressure the driver in front, but on this occasion was unable to make the move. The team therefore decided he should back off for some clean air and set a fast lap for Race 3, meaning he finished the race in 7th. A fastest time of 1:23.905 placed him in 6th for the third and final race of the weekend.
It proved a tough start for Kyffin in Race 3, as his grid slot covered the start-finish line which caused severe wheel-spin at lights’ out. This issue meant he fell back into last position, but he fought hard to make his way back through the pack, overtaking key competitors to finish in 7th and securing 6 more championship points.
Summarising the FR Americas weekend at Homestead, Kyffin said;
Another good weekend, for sure. I was feeling pretty confident after Friday’s [practice] sessions. We were right up there, fourth fastest overall, so it was disappointing that Qualifying ended up being rained off.
The weather remained unpredictable all weekend, so setup-wise it was tricky to find a balance that I could race amongst the pack with and be fast in all conditions. Thankfully HMD Motorsports did a great job and for Race 3 especially, we had a really fast car.
I think if the start of Race 3 had played out differently, we would have had a really good opportunity for a top-five, maybe even a top-four finish. Unfortunately my start box was right on a painted section of the track, so when I released the clutch I dropped to the back.
Overall though, I gained a lot of valuable experience in my second weekend with the team. I feel confident in pushing the car to its limits and I’m sure COTA will be a great round for us.Kyffin Simpson, #59 HMD Motorsports
Kyffin’s next race event takes place October 23rd-25th 2020 at Circuit of the Americas, TX, for Rounds 15, 16 and 17 of the FR Americas Championship. Watch the event on fanracing.live and follow @FR_Americas on Twitter for updates.
Kyffin is supported by Simpson Race Products, GoPro action cameras, Spy sunglasses, and Kokoro Performance driver coaching services.