AUSTIN, Texas (November 3, 2023) – Oliver Westling won a thrilling Race 2 at the Mission Foods Austin SpeedTour weekend at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) with a last-turn, last-lap pass. Marking his second victory in Formula Regional Americas Championship Powered by Honda (FR Americas) competition, Westling (No. 1 JENSEN Ligier JS F3) started the race from the second position and spent the entire race trailing the newly-confirmed 2023 Driver Champion, Callum Hedge (No. 17 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3)—that is, right up until the final turn of the final lap. With a bold move diving deep into the final turn, Westling beat Hedge across the line by just 0.050-seconds.
Notes of Interest:
- Oliver Westling scored his second win and third podium of the 2023 season.
- Callum Hedge, the newly-minted 2023 FR Americas Driver Champion finished second, marking his 15th podium of the season.
- Manuel Roza finished third to score his first-career podium.
- With his fourth-place result, Ryan Shehan locked in to finish second in the final point standings.
- Cooper Becklin is guaranteed to finish third in the final point standings following his fifth-place result.
Hedge took control of the race on the initial start only to be slowed later that same lap by a full-course caution. Once the race restarted, he led the field down the frontstretch and again pulled a gap on Westling. The JENSEN driver stayed close, continuing to stay in Hedge’s mirrors and never falling more than two seconds back.
While they raced for the lead, other drivers found themselves jockeying for position too—teammates Manuel Roza (No. 12 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3) and Ryan Shehan (No. 66 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3) faced off for third, while it was Cole Kleck (No. 11 Speed Factory Ligier JS F3) versus Cooper Becklin (No. 19 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3) battling for fifth.
With just over three minutes left on the clock, Hedge noticed a rear wheel bearing was starting to fail. He was forced to slow his pace, as Westling was able to push his fresh Hankook Tires to the limit, closing the gap from 1.609 seconds to just 0.451 seconds.
Tight on Hedge’s gearbox the entire final two laps, Westling pulled side by side in Turn 12 on the final lap. The two continued to swap positions all the way through Turn 15 when Hedge emerged the leader, but Westling wasn’t giving up that easy. He drove it in deep entering Turn 20 and nosed ahead for the lead as they crossed the finish line side by side.
READ MORE: Race 2 Official Results
“The last lap was tough,” said Westling following the race. “Callum was definitely hard to battle, and he won’t let up easy. I feel really good about [this win]; I pushed hard. I wasn’t going to give up or let up. I shot up to Turn 20 and just went for it. I saw him right next to me, and I saw his front wing, but I was like ‘There’s no way he’s passing me.’ I’m really proud of our effort.”
FR Americas will contest one more round this weekend with lights out for Race 3 scheduled at 9:20 a.m. ET. It will stream live on the SpeedTour TV YouTube Channel. Fans can follow @FRAmericas on Facebook, Instagram and Twitterfor updates, and use the Race Monitor app for live timing and scoring.