CHARLOTTE (September 27, 2023) – With two Formula Regional Americas Championship Powered by Honda (FR Americas) wins this season, Ryan Shehan remains in the championship hunt with his Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport team. The rookie is no stranger to the pressure of a championship battle, having entered last year’s Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda (F4 U.S.) season finale still in the hunt for that title. However, the 18-year-old has experienced a lot of growth, both on and off the track, since that battle last fall—having lived abroad to race in the Formula Regional Oceania Championship, completing his high school degree and now earning his real estate license.
“I entered [last] year with open expectations,” said Shehan. “But now, after having a really good year in 2022, I'm expecting to be fighting for the win every single race, and If I'm not, then I know I'm not performing to the best of my ability. My expectations are a lot higher.”
It’s hard to imagine that it was just three years ago when Shehan’s racing career almost came to an abrupt end. A major incident while testing a go-kart at Homestead-Miami Speedway left the driver severely injured. Airlifted to the hospital, doctors gave a grim outlook—suggesting that not only may Shehan never race again, but he might also have permanent brain damage. Shehan, however, had other plans—and he’s been focused on life in the fast lane ever since.
After finishing fourth in last year’s F4 U.S. standings, Shehan moved “down under” to join his Kiwi Motorsport team for the Formula Regional Oceania Championship. The five-round championship gave Shehan coveted experience, providing track time and race knowledge on the same FR spec that he would encounter when he returned stateside for the 2023 FR Americas season.
“Coming to NOLA at the start of the year, knowing that I had already driven basically the same car that I was about to race in FR Americas, I wasn't thinking about having to get used to the car and getting up to speed,” said Shehan. “I was immediately thinking about trying to win the race and trying to start my year off strong. It helped me hit the ground running.”
Just weeks removed from his experience in New Zealand, Shehan entered the opening weekend at NOLA Motorsports Park with a different swagger than he had the previous fall. Quickest in opening practice and qualifying, it was obvious he was going to be a threat to anyone else looking to claim the championship. With back-to-back wins in the opening two rounds, Shehan went on to claim nine-consecutive podiums, and currently holds an average finish of 2.42.
Now, with just six rounds—and 150 possible points—remaining in the battle for the 2023 title, Shehan finds himself second in the standings, just 55 points behind his teammate, leader Callum Hedge.
“Obviously, winning the championship would be nice, but more than that, it'd be massive for my career,” said Shehan. “The Honda scholarship would help secure a future in racing for me and delete a lot of unknowns. I'm not sure what I'll do next year, but if I won, it would set me on that path. I’ve won championships in karting, but since I moved up to cars, I've won races and have gotten podiums, but I've never won a championship. I'd really like to do that.”
Shehan will resume his bid for the 2023 title when FR Americas returns to the track at VIRginia International Raceway, October 5-8. Tickets for the event are on sale now at VIRnow.com. Be sure to follow FR Americas on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the latest news and updates.
- Photos by Gavin Baker Photography