Bajan racing star Kyffin Simpson, 16, drew his debut single-seater racing season to a close with another impressive run of top-10 results in the 2020 Formula Regional Americas season finalé. A challenging road circuit to master, the famed Circuit of the Americas hosted rounds 15, 16 and 17 of the F3-based series, and Simpson duly rose to the occasion to take the chequered flag 10th in all three events.
Mixed weather heavily impacted Friday’s two 30-minute practice sessions, so Kyffin’s running was limited to just 16 laps across the day. However, despite having not driven the COTA circuit previously, Simpson’s early pace was enough to inspire confidence of breaking the top-10 in Saturday morning’s timed Qualifying. The #59 HMD Motorsports car went on to log its fastest time of the weekend with a 2:05.289, just 1.5s shy of series champion Lundqvist’s pole time effort, to line up 9th on the grid for Race 1.
After a promising getaway, Kyffin’s opening race of the weekend proved to be a battle of attrition as the field found it difficult to overtake at the Texan circuit. Known for its dramatic, sweeping turns and sharp elevation changes, COTA had a profound impact on the sensitive aerodynamics of the Ligier JS F3 FR Americas cars. Kyffin fought valiantly to hold on to a top-10 result for the 35-minute duration, and eventually crossed the line 10th.
Race 2 proved to be a more exciting affair as Kyffin battled with fellow racers Jordan Missig, Joshua Car and Hunter Yeany. 4th to 11th positions were separated by no more than 10 seconds for the entire race distance, and Kyffin kept those ahead in check with some of the fastest race times posted all day. In a dramatic finish, Simpson and Joshua Car crossed the line separated by just 0.003 seconds – close, but unfortunately another P10 result for Kyffin.
Thanks to his Race 2 pace, Kyffin lined up 8th on the grid for Sunday afternoon’s Race 3 – the final round of the 2020 FR Americas series. Getting away well once again, Simpson raced into Turn 1 amongst the field but was disadvantaged on the corner exit, dropping down to 10th overall. With the same aero limitations affecting the cars as found in Race 1, Kyffin’s best efforts to attack the cars ahead resulted in a closely-fought but unchanged 10th-place finish.
Looking back on his final FR Americas outing of 2020, Kyffin said;
It was awesome to race at COTA. We didn’t quite have the pace this weekend, but it’s been great preparation for next season and another positive step in my racing journey.
I’d like to thank everyone at HMD Motorsports for their hard work and dedication, my sponsors Simpson Race Products, GoPro and SPY for their generous support, Kieren at Kokoro Performance for his guidance, and of course my family – Mom, Dad, Sophia, Chi Chi and John. We’ll be back better than ever next time!
With the 2020 race season wrapped up, Kyffin’s focus now shifts to an intense testing and training programme with Kokoro Performance to prepare for 2021.
Kyffin is supported by Simpson Race Products, GoPro action cameras, Spy sunglasses, and Kokoro Performance driver coaching services.