AUSTIN, Texas (November 3, 2023) – Callum Hedge clinched the 2023 Formula Regional Americas Championship Powered by Honda (FR Americas) title with a win in Race 1 on Friday morning at Circuit of The Americas (COTA). After earning the pole at the Mission Foods Austin SpeedTour during qualifying, the New Zealander jumped out to an early lead and held on through a mid-race caution period to sail off to the checkered flag.
“It's really cool to finally wrap [the championship] up after a really long season,” said Hedge in Victory Lane. “Ryan [Shehan] put up a real good fight. He's a class driver; I've really enjoyed being teammates and racing him this year. It's just really a big credit for the people who made it happen for me—Mark Pilcher and Steve Horne—without them looking and finding this series, I wouldn't be able to go on and do the cool things that I'm going be able to do next year. So, it's a big credit to them and the people who came on board and supported it—Tony Quinn Foundation, Giltrap Group and Tasman Motorsport Group.”
Notes of Interest:
- With his 12th win this season, Callum Hedge secured the 2023 FR Americas Drivers Championship.
- Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport will also be the 2023 Team Champions in FR Americas, sweeping both championships for the series.
- Cooper Becklin earned his 15th podium in 16 races with his second-place result.
- Cole Kleck earned his first-career podium in his first race back since joining FR Americas at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in June.
Hedge (No. 17 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3) led the field off the starting block on his Hankook tires with Shehan (No. 66 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3) directly to his outside in second. Hedge immediately took control of the race off the starters block, but it was Cole Kleck (No. 11 Speed Factory Ligier JS F3) who got a jump off the grid to move from fifth into second by the time the field exited Turn 2.
Shehan stayed in Kleck’s mirrors and the two had quite the battle for the next several laps. All of the back and forth, however, allowed Cooper Becklin (No. 19 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3) to close in and join the fight. While the trio fought for the second, Hedge pulled away with a 7.492-second advantage before debris on the track slowed the field with a full-course caution.
The race restarted just one lap later and Kleck made a run at the lead, taking the point position off of Turn 1 before Hedge snapped it back in Turn 2. Hedge pulled away and Kleck settled into second, while Shehan and Becklin engaged in a fight for the third position. Becklin took the position from Shehan and continued his forward progress, while Shehan fell in the running order after suffering a mechanical issue.
With a solid hold on third, Becklin kept his eyes forward and started chasing down Kleck for second. With less than five minutes to go, Becklin pulled side by side with Kleck through Turn 13 and completed the pass by the time they exited 14. Becklin pulled away from Kleck, but Hedge proved to have too great of a gap to overcome.
As they crossed the line, Hedge led the field, followed by Becklin and Kleck.
READ MORE: Race 1 Official Results
“We got a really good start—we haven’t made too many good starts this year—but we finally got a good one," said Hedge on the podium. "We put the green tires on this morning to give us the best opportunity to wrap it up in the first race, so that’s what we did. The car was really fast; a big thanks to the team at Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport.”