FR Americas championship leader Kyffin Simpson graduated from the 2021 HPD GT3 Academy programme this week with a final two-day stint at Sebring International Raceway, November 2-3, following an impressive official Indy Lights debut at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Alongside fellow drivers Ashton Harrison, Cat Lauren and Nicky Hays, Kyffin took the wheel of Racers Edge Motorsports’ Acura NSX GT3 Evo as the Academy tested their skills on fuel saving, race starts, night driving and more. On-track sessions were complemented by seminars conducted by IMSA drivers Ricky Taylor and Dane Cameron, with Racers Edge and HPD partnering to provide a comprehensive introduction to endurance racing and multi-driver events.
Comprising of four key stages, the Academy has visited popular IMSA and SRO venues – Mid-Ohio Raceway, VIR, Indianapolis Road Course and finally Sebring, with Kyffin showing consistent pace against GT3 veterans despite his limited experience. The final event offered Academy drivers to showcase their experience gained to date and take on new challenges such as driver changes, a critical component of endurance races.
Kyffin enjoyed his final run in the Acura, especially Tuesday evening’s night driving where the majority of Sebring International Raceway was cloaked in darkness. He is no stranger to new experiences having recently driven FR Americas, LMP3, Lambourghini Super Trofeo, Indy Lights and now GT3 machinery.
Looking back at his journey through the GT3 Academy, Kyffin said:
“I have had a great time in the HPD GT3 Academy. The Acura is fun to drive, and I’ve felt comfortable pushing pretty much from lap 1 at every track we’ve visited. It’s interesting just how many nuances there are when it comes to team driving – I think I’ve learnt more in these four events than any other time in my career. It’s an experience I won’t forget and I’m looking forward to any future opportunities I might get to race in GTs or prototypes.”
“My thanks go to Jon and Racers Edge for this opportunity, Lee and the rest of the HPD team, and of course our instructors Ricky, Ryan, Mario and Dane for being so open and helpful throughout the Academy programme. The HPD GT3 Academy has a great structure for any driver considering endurance racing to learn and directly apply the knowledge required to race in sportscars.”
Jon Mirachi, Owner / Team Manager, Racers Edge Motorsports Inc.
“The goal of the Academy is to take young, talented drivers who have experience of open-wheel cars, or similar series where every driver has the same equipment and give them the knowledge they need to become top-level sportscar drivers. The nuances and situations that are involved in this type of racing – we’ve got to train them for that, so when they get the opportunity to do something like the Rolex 24 [hours of Daytona], or the Spa 24, they’re prepared. They know how to do pit stops, driver changes, fuel saving and so on.”
“Kyffin is extremely talented. One of the things we noticed right away from the first Academy event was his speed. That made it easy for us, as we could focus less on lap times and more on the things he did need to learn which are the key disciplines of sportscar racing. He’s been a good student, he’s asked a lot of questions in our seminars and discussions, and he seems to really understand and absorb everything we throw at him.”
“I think that he could have a tremendous career in sportscar racing.”
With the Chris Griffis Memorial Test and GT3 Academy behind him, Kyffin travels to Circuit of the Americas for the final FR Americas championship rounds, November 4-7.
To secure the 2021 FR Americas Powered by Honda title at COTA, Kyffin must score 11 points across the final three races. You can follow and support Kyffin’s progress on social media via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Kyffin is supported by Simpson Race Products, GoPro action cameras, Spy sunglasses, DART, BODDENS, Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, and Kokoro Performance driver coaching services.