CHARLOTTE (October 30, 2023) – Two Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport teammates remain in contention for the Formula Regional Americas Championship Powered by Honda (FR Americas) title as the series heads to Circuit of The Americas (COTA) for its final race weekend of the season. Callum Hedge (No. 17 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3) and Ryan Shehan (No. 66 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3) will go head to head—as they have all season long—to determine who wins the title, as well as a prize from Honda Performance Development (HPD).
Hedge, a native of Auckland, New Zealand, won a Formula Ford championship years ago, but for the last three years, he’s been a front-runner in Porsche Carrera Cup Australia. Over the winter, he had the opportunity to compete in the Formula Regional Oceania Championship (FR Oceania), where he finished second in the point standings—just 14 points shy of winning the championship—after recording three wins in the series’ 18 rounds. Catching the attention of Tony Quinn and Richard Giltrap, Hedge pulled together funding to continue his path in single seaters by racing in FR Americas, while also continuing a full-time bid in the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia.
While Hedge has climbed the ladder “down under,” Shehan has been working his way up the ranks in the United States.
A native of Austin, Texas, Shehan has steadily advanced along the path on the Road to F1. Inspired to race while attending the USGP at Austin’s Circuit of The Americas, Shehan began karting at the age of nine. He climbed the karting ranks and was competing at a national level when a life-threatening racing incident nearly ended everything during a test at Homestead-Miami Speedway in early 2020. Airlifted from the track and set on a months-long path to recovery, Shehan stayed focused on his dream and got back behind the wheel of a go-kart just nine weeks later. Testing a F4 U.S. car a few months later, Shehan officially joined the F4 U.S. ranks for the 2021 season. One year later, he entered the final race of the season still in contention for the championship before finishing fourth in the final standings. This year, he enters COTA with a chance at the FR Americas title.
Oddly enough, after competing against each other in the FR Oceania championship earlier this year, Hedge and Shehan are now paired as teammates in FR Americas. Both piloting Ligier JS F3s for Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport, the two drivers have been nose to nose all season long.
After winning Rounds 1 and 2, Shehan was out to an early advantage; however, Hedge wasn’t far behind, collecting his first FR Americas win in Round 3 before the series left its opening weekend at NOLA Motorsports Park.
With Shehan holding a 17-point advantage as the championship arrived at Road America, Hedge quickly showed that he wasn’t leaving without putting up a fight. Three wins at Road America led to three more wins at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Soon, Hedge found himself with a chance to tie a record for eight-consecutive FR Americas wins set by current INDYCAR drivers Kyle Kirkwood (2018) and Linus Lundqvist (2020). Meanwhile, Shehan had his own streak going with nine-consecutive podiums, and matching each of Hedge’s wins at Road America and Mid-Ohio with a second-place result. Entering Round 10 to kick off the second half of the season, only 25 points separated the two drivers.
Then came Round 10. Hedge was edged out by Oliver Westling (No. 1 JENSEN Ligier JS F3) to end his chance at tying Kirkwood’s and Lundqvist’s record. Meanwhile, Shehan broke his podium streak after a post-race Steward’s Decision relegated him to fourth on the final results.
Hedge returned to the top step of the podium in Round 11 to win the next four races, while Shehan claimed the runner-up position in three of those four events.
When looking at the 2023 points battle, if there was one turn that proved to be more pivotal than any other turn on the FR Americas circuit, it is VIRginia International Raceway’s Oak Tree Bend. Hedge was leading in Round 13 when a spin in Oak Tree gave Shehan not only the lead, but also a seven-second advantage over the field. A full-course caution erased that gap, but Shehan once again pulled ahead to control the race when green flag conditions resumed. Seconds later, an off by the Austinite in the same turn allowed Hedge to regain the lead and sail off to the checkered flag.
Going into Round 15 the following day, Hedge had a very viable chance to wrap up the championship. If Hedge could win the race, even with a runner-up finish, Shehan would be just one point shy from being able to race for the title at COTA. The lights went out and Hedge pulled away to a multi-second lead; it appeared the battle was over. Then, with 19 minutes left on the clock, Hedge dropped off the track at Oak Tree Bend, causing terminal damage to his car and forcing him to retire from the event. Meanwhile, Shehan cruised to a runner-up finish, just behind the duo’s Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport teammate Cooper Becklin (No. 19 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3), to keep his championship hopes alive.
Hedge enters the final round at COTA with a 51-point advantage over Shehan. Once again, Hedge could wrap up the championship in Race 1 of the weekend—or the two drivers could take it all the way down to the wire.
The battle for the 2023 championship resumes when FR Americas hits the track at COTA, November 2-4. Tickets for the event are on sale now at SpeedTour.net/Austin. Be sure to follow FR Americas on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the latest news and updates, and subscribe to SpeedTour TV on YouTube to stream next weekend’s races free.