16-year-old racer Kyffin Simpson once again featured on the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires podium at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, taking home his third trophy of an increasingly competitive debut season in the Road To Indy program.
Following on from a stellar Mid-Ohio weekend in FR Americas, Cayman Islands-based Kyffin carried momentum into Rounds 11 & 12 of Indy Pro to star in his best performance since Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s triple-header in May.
Changeable weather impacted Thursday’s open test sessions, reducing the #21 car’s track running to just two outings prior to Friday afternoon’s ‘Q1’, but thankfully qualifying went ahead as planned at 1:45pm.
As the session progressed, Kyffin regularly featured at the top of the timing charts with the series’ leading contenders, before his final flat-out lap on new tires was unfortunately compromised by traffic to place him 8th overall for Race 1. Kyffin was keen to rectify this in Q2 and was duly rewarded for his efforts with P4 on the grid for Race 2, just two tenths of a second shy of the overall pole position time.
One of Kyffin’s key observations from the prior weekend was difficulty overtaking at Mid-Ohio, and this would prove true even in the smaller, nimbler Indy Pro 2000 series as Race 1 began on Saturday morning. After a solid getaway from the fourth row, Kyffin challenged for position on the outside of Turn 4 as cars ahead made contact into Turn 5. Avoiding the incident, Kyffin emerged 7th and set out chasing the cars ahead to the chequered flag. 25 minutes of faultless driving later, Kyffin crossed the line to secure another solid points-scoring finish.
Lining up for Sunday’s Race 2 from a much more competitive P4, Kyffin nailed the start to challenge Petrov at the infamous ‘keyhole’ hairpin of Turn 2. Committing to a riskier outside line, the #21 car powered around its rival to secure third by corner exit, and Kyffin shifted his focus to Abel ahead in P2.
Despite a few small opportunities to consider overtaking, Kyffin couldn’t quite close the gap enough to mount a challenge like his opening lap heroics. However, in a testament to his raw pace, Kyffin went on to score the fastest lap in his chase of a podium finish.
Speaking after Sunday’s Race 2, Kyffin said:
“That was better! I had a great start from fourth and by Turn 2 I was right on the back of Petrov. I just sent it as hard as I could around the outside, and by the exit of the corner I was ahead. After that, it was a pretty relentless race of trying to pressure the guys ahead as much as possible.
I’m happy with another podium, but I did hope we could have done a bit better across the weekend as a whole. Q1 really put us on the back foot whereas Q2 was much more representative.
I’d like to thank Ricardo, Julian, Ingacio, Osvaldo and the whole Juncos team; they did an awesome job. It was also great to have my family and friends out here for the 4th of July weekend celebrations, and of course I wouldn’t be here without the generosity of my sponsors. Thank you all!”
With 12 of 18 rounds complete, Kyffin will wait six weeks before returning to Indy Pro 2000 at the Worldwide Technology Raceway (‘Gateway’) in Madison, Illinois. Before then, FR Americas heads to Brainerd International Raceway, Minnesota for Rounds 10, 11 & 12 on 16-18th July.
Kyffin is supported by Simpson Race Products, GoPro action cameras, Spy sunglasses, DART, BODDENS and Kokoro Performance driver coaching services.