Monday 29 th March 2021: 16-year-old racer Kyffin Simpson completed a clean sweep of pole position and three back-to-back race wins at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta this weekend with series debutants TJ Speed Motorsports, kicking off his 2021 FR Americas Championship Powered by Honda title challenge in style.
Despite heavy rain curtailing most of Thursday and Friday’s practice running, the #21 TJ Speed machine was the car to beat on track as Kyffin shone from the opening laps of a tricky half-wet, half-dry qualifying session.
Rising to the challenge, Kyffin logged a 1:19.141s in the closing stages, two tenths clear of second-placed TJ Speed teammate Logan Cusson to take his first ever pole position in FR Americas. Fresh out of the car from qualifying, Kyffin said:
“I’m feeling great, I couldn’t be happier with the result. Tim and the TJ Speed team worked so hard this weekend. I’m so glad that it came out so well, and so glad I could get their first pole for them. I think the Road Atlanta course is awesome; it’s one of my favourites with so many fast corners. Earlier in the weekend we had some rain, so of course those corners were a little bit more interesting in qualifying! I think we could expect to win [from pole], I’m feeling great right now. I’m looking for that top step.”
As the lights went out for Race 1 on Saturday morning, Kyffin charged from the first grid slot to lead the pack by a sizeable gap into Turn 1. The Cayman Islands-based teenager never looked back as the rest of the pack fought for position, increasing his lead to an impressive 8.1 seconds over 27 laps, and claiming his first ever FR Americas victory.
Race 2 was far from a straightforward affair however, as third-placed Jordan Missig powered into the lead ahead of Kyffin at the start. Simpson refused to give Missig more than 0.5s of a lead, eventually pressuring the Newman Wachs driver into a spin at the halfway mark. With the road ahead clear, Kyffin settled into a rhythm and welcomed the chequered flag in dominant fashion, some 11 seconds ahead of the field.
Sunday brought the final race of the weekend, with Simpson once again lining up in pole position for a 26-lap sprint around Road Atlanta. Kyffin set out a 5 second gap by lap 6, before a yellow brought the field back together. On the restart, he again established a cushion of 1.5 seconds to second place Missig.
During the remaining 12 minutes of the race, the rain started providing for tricky mixed conditions ! Missing made a late charge to close the gap, but with three laps to go, Kyffin again stretched to 1.5 seconds at the finish line.
Despite the pressure, Kyffin managed the mixed conditions brilliantly never faltered to secure a third race win of the weekend – and his clean sweep of Rounds 1, 2 & 3 of the FR Americas Championship. Kyffin now leads the series standings with 75 points, 30 points clear of Missig.
Reflecting on his incredible run of success at Road Atlanta, Kyffin said: “Three wins! Wow, so thankful to God for this weekend. From the very first lap of qualifying, the car felt great, and
I had the confidence to push. Huge thanks again to Tim and the TJ Speed team for all their hard work. My family, John and Chi Chi were here trackside too, they’ve been a massive support! I also want to thank everyone that’s shown their support online this weekend; thank you for the kind messages.
Tim Neff, TJ Speed owner, added: “What a great day for TJ Speed and a solid start to our FR Americas season. Congrats to Kyffin on a pair of race wins and Logan on two top-five results. All in all, this is a team effort and every guy wearing a TJ Speed shirt deserves some credit. Thank you to all.”
Kyffin hopes to continue his run of success at Rounds 3,4 & 5 of the FR Americas Championship at Road America, 14 th -16 th May 2021.