AUSTIN, Texas (November 5, 2023) – Confirmed as 2023 Driver Champion of Formula Regional Americas Championship Powered by Honda (FR Americas), Callum Hedge capped off his year in Victory Lane on Saturday morning at Circuit of The Americas (COTA). The 19-year-old from Auckland, New Zealand earned his 13th win of the season when he led the field to the checkered flag with nearly a 10-second margin.
Notes of Interest:
- Officially the 2023 FR Americas Driver Champion, Callum Hedge earned his 13th win in 18 races on Saturday morning. With the victory, he is ranked third on the all-time wins list in FR Americas behind Kyle Kirkwood and Linus Lundqvist, who are both tied with 15.
- Drivers from Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport have won 16 FR Americas races this year enroute to their 2023 Team Champion title. Hedge led the charge with 13 wins, Ryan Shehan added two more victories, and Cooper Becklin added another win.
- Manuel Roza was awarded the Omologato Perfectly Timed Move of the Race after a strong performance that saw him earn the first two podiums of his career.
- Jake Bonilla recorded a career-best finish with his fifth-place result. The F4 U.S. graduate made his FR Americas debut this weekend at Circuit of The Americas.
A cool, foggy morning delayed the start of the season finale at the Mission Foods Austin SpeedTour by nearly an hour. Once the weather cleared, Callum Hedge (No. 17 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3) led the field down the grid for the final race of 2023. After edging Hedge to the finish in Race 2, Oliver Westling (No. 1 JENSEN Ligier JS F3) lined up next to the New Zealander for Race 3. Westling got a jump off the block, but Hedge pulled ahead to take control of the race. Several puffs of smoke could be seen throughout the opening lap as drivers tried to bring their Hankook tires up to temperature, and the caution ultimately waved later in the same lap.
The race restarted with nearly 20 minutes left on the clock. Hedge led the field down the front stretch and toward Turn 1 with Westling in tow. Behind them, Manuel Roza (No. 12 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3) was facing pressure from Cole Kleck (No. 11 Speed Factory Ligier JS F3) and Ryan Shehan (No. 66 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3) as the field raced three wide through Turns 1 and 2. Roza pulled ahead to claim the third position while Kleck and Shehan raced side by side. It wasn’t long until Hayden Bowlsbey (No. 22 Save22 Ligier JS F3) joined the Kleck and Shehan fray. Hard racing between the trio led to Bowlsbey losing control in Turn 13, spinning and making contact with Shehan’s front wing. Both cars were able to clear the incident and the race continued green.
Meanwhile, newcomer Jake Bonilla (No. 20 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3) climbed through the field. Starting in 11th, he worked his way up to seventh with about 10 minutes left on the clock, and then engaged in a battle with Everett Stack (No. 2 JENSEN Ligier JS F3) to take the sixth position. Bonilla raced ahead as they entered the esses, and overtook Shehan just minutes later when Shehan was forced down pit road to replace his damaged front wing. Shehan returned to the track, but was out of contention for the win.
As the clock ticked down, the racing stayed clean. Hedge led the field across the finish line with a 9.250-second margin of victory over Westling. Roza finished third taking the second podium of his career, followed by Kleck in fourth and Bonilla in fifth.
READ MORE: Race 3 Official Results
“No, I don't think so,” Hedge answered when asked if winning ever gets old. “Everyone likes winning. If I don't win, then I'm not happy, so I need to work as hard as I can. I was pretty disappointed yesterday; I left the door open at the last corner. So, I made sure I didn't make that mistake again today. I got a pretty rubbish start, to be fair, but then the car was really fast. So big thanks to the team, and Paul for engineering it. I'd like to thank Honda and HPD for the awesome scholarship and prizes they have offered to the series, so big credit to them. I can't wait to see what next year holds for me. Big thanks to the people that made this happen for me—Steve Horn, Mike Pilcher, Tasman Motorsport Group, Giltrap Group and Tony Quinn Foundation.”
Hedge won the 2023 FR Americas Drivers Championship this weekend at the Mission Food Austin SpeedTour. Shehan finished second in the championship, followed by Cooper Becklin (No. 19 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3) in third.
Sweeping the top three spots in the Driver’s Championship, Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport also took the 2023 Team Championship title. The organization recorded 16 wins this season, along with 44 podiums. JENSEN finished second in the Team Points Championship battle with two wins and four podiums. IGY6 Motorsports finished third in the Team Points Championship standings with one podium.
READ MORE: 2023 Team Points Championship Standings
FR Americas will kick off its 2024 season, April 11-14 at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, La.
For news and updates throughout the off season, be sure to follow FR Americas on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Prospective drivers wanting to learn more about FR Americas, the #RoadToF1 ladder, and how to get involved in the 2024 FR Americas season should visit FRAmericas.com.