Kyffin Simpson stunned competitors across five consecutive days of racing last
weekend as the 16-year-old from Grand Cayman scored his debut Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires podium for Juncos Racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, before travelling to Road America to score two further wins for TJ Speed Motorsports in FR Americas Championship Powered by Honda.
As series schedules lined up perfectly, Simpson had the unique opportunity to compete in both disciplines back- to-back, totalling over eight hours at the wheel including all practice, qualifying and race sessions. Kyffin’s weekend began at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway where Indy Pro 2000 formed part of the ‘Road to Indy’s IndyCar support roster at the GMR Indy Grand Prix.
Indy Pro 2000
Friday morning brought the first and only qualifying session of the Indy GP weekend. Looking to improve on his promising performances at Barber and St. Petersburg, Kyffin delivered with his fastest lap of the season so far to line up fourth on the highly competitive Indy Pro 2000 grid.
Round 5 of the series began just a few hours later, and Simpson recovered from a less-than-perfect getaway to fight for third place in the closing stages of the race, re-passing two cars in the process to eventually settle for fourth at the flag.
Saturday brought Rounds 6 and 7, and Kyffin rose to the occasion with his most impressive Indy Pro performance yet. As the green flag fell, the #21 car avoided incidents ahead to emerge as the race leader before battling hard for the remaining laps. Kyffin went on to finish third overall after a spirited race-long defence of P2.
Starting fifth for the final race, Kyffin once again fought for position in a tightly contested race around the Indianapolis Road Course. He eventually crossed the line in a strong sixth, closing out a consistent and rewarding weekend in Indy Pro 2000.
Looking back on a strong debut at the ‘Brickyard’, Kyffin said:
“It was a great weekend and a great experience to be at Indy for the first time. It was even better to be able to podium at such a historic track. I was also very happy with my performance having all top six finishes after a tough first couple of rounds.”
Juncos Racing Team Owner Ricardo Juncos added: “We ended up walking away with three podiums between Reece and Kyffin, which is really good for the whole team, especially when you have two talented drivers at such a young age of 16 earning these podiums. It was amazing to see Kyffin earn his first podium in the Indy Pro 2000, after only 5 races. We are looking forward to being back on track in just a few short weeks for the first oval of the season at Lucas Oil Raceway!”
7 of 18 rounds completed in Indy Pro 2000, Kyffin stands 9th in the overall standings with 88 points, gaining 5 spots over his previous position.
With little time to celebrate his progress in Indy Pro 2000, Kyffin travelled to the Road America circuit near Elkhart Lake Wisconsin to continue his FR Americas title challenge, beginning his first practice session on Saturday afternoon having competed at Indianapolis just hours earlier.
Sunday morning brought qualifying and Simpson, despite having never driven at Road America prior to Saturday’s quick warm-up, came agonisingly close to securing pole position. Just 0.056s separated Kyffin from the front of the grid in his TJ Speed machine.
That afternoon’s first race would prove far from easy for the young racer though, as Kyffin stalled the #21 Ligier at ‘lights out’, demoting him to last place and several seconds off the car ahead. Not one to throw in the towel, Kyffin deployed electric pace to set the fastest lap of the race as he charged through to fifth overall, securing pole position for race two in the process.
Getting away cleanly at the start of race two, Kyffin never looked back to claim a lights-to-flag victory and his fourth of the season so far despite fellow championship contender Joshua Car applying pressure all race long, never more than a few car lengths behind.
Simpson lined up P2 alongside Car for the final race of his five-day marathon. Following a clean start, Car and Simpson set a blazing pace which left the remaining pack a sizeable gap behind. Race two’s roles were now reversed with Car under pressure from Kyffin, and as the white flag waved for the final lap Kyffin’s relentless chase paid off. Car spun with a handful of corners to go, rewarding Kyffin with victory number five of six races.
After a crazy weekend at the wheel of two very different machines, Kyffin said:
“It was an amazing weekend, one that I was not sure I was ready for the challenge of, but I went into it the same way I would any other weekend and did my best. It was a huge learning curve having to learn two new tracks in one weekend, each in a different car. I’m very happy with my best Indy Pro results, as well as two wins in Formula Regional. After this weekend my main takeaway is that as long as I keep my head down and focus on
doing my best, I will come out on top.”
Extending his lead in the FR Americas standings, Kyffin has 137 points, 72 clear of second-placed 2019 F4 US champion Joshua Car. It’s another ‘first’ for Kyffin next weekend, as the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires continues with Round 8 on the first oval of the season May 27th-28th at Lucas Oil Raceway located in Clermont, Indiana.