Confirmed as 2023 Driver Champion of Formula Regional Americas Championship Powered by Honda (FR Americas), Callum Hedge capped off his championship season in Formula Regional Americas Championship Powered by Honda by winning the third and final race at Circuit of The Americas. 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. 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.
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.
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.
“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.”
Sweeping the top three spots in the drivers’ championship, Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport also took the teams’ title. The organization recorded 16 wins this season, along with 44 podiums.
Patrick Woods-Toth wins F4 US season finale at COTA
Patrick Woods-Toth finished off his F4 US championship season in similar fashion — in victory lane at COTA. In a whirlwind year, the 20-year-old Canadian went from driving karts, to attending an F4 “karts to cars” scholarship school at Radford Racing School last December, to winning a championship in his first year racing single seaters. The victory marked Woods-Toth (No. 27 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F4) fourth time atop the podium in 2023. He held off a hard-charging Jesse Lacey (No. 16 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F4) during the closing laps, crossing the line side by side with his teammate to take the win with a 0.017s margin. It was his fourth win of the season.
Titus Sherlock was awarded the Omologato Perfectly Timed Move of the Race after winning Race 1 of the weekend, and overcoming a mechanical issue in the Race 3 that caused him to give up the pole position and start the race from the back of the field. Despite the circumstances, he raced through the field to finish eighth.
The field faced an aborted start, which allowed Sherlock’s team a couple extra minutes to work on his car while the field came back around for a two-by-two rolling start. Daniel Cara (No. 10 Tenuta Foppo & Ambrosi Ligier JS F4) led the field down the front stretch with Woods-Toth next to him accelerating toward the green flag. Cara had a clean start and pulled away from the field, while a couple competitors spun behind him.
Before the completion of the first lap, double yellows waved. Augie Soto Schirripa (No. 24 International Motorsport Ligier JS F4) was on a tear from the drop of the green flag. The Race 2 winner experienced a transponder failure in that event, which left him without an official lap time to set the grid for Race 3. Instead, he lined up 22nd and climbed all the way to eighth before the safety period.
The race resumed with Cará leading the field to the restart, while Daniel Quimby (No. 42 Doran Motorsports Group Ligier JS F4), Kekai Hauanio (No. 29 N.E. Where Transport Ligier JS F4), Woods-Toth and Lacey battled hard behind him. It didn’t take long until Woods-Toth starting picking off his competition with Lacey doing the same behind him. Woods-Toth overtook Cara for the lead with just over 11 minutes left on the clock. Just a few turns later, Lacey moved in to second overtaking Quimby racing through Turn 1. From there, it was all focus forward.
On the final lap, Lacey ran side by side with Woods-Toth through Turn 11. The two drag raced down the backstretch before making contact in Turn 12, and Lacey finally pulled ahead as they reached Turn 13. Now nose to tail, Lacey led Woods-Toth and Soto-Schirripa through the final turns all the way to Turn 19. Woods-Toth pulled next to Lacey and raced him through Turn 20 and to the finish line. As they crossed, Woods-Toth edged Lacey by just a 0.017s margin, with Soto-Schirripa just behind them.
“We wrapped up the championship yesterday after such a strong year, and today, we were just going for gold,” said Woods-Toth. “It’s nice to end on a high note. Finishing first on track and we came away with a championship — that’s the most important part. I’m just so happy and thankful for the team, my sponsors, everyone. It’s been such an amazing year.”
FR Americas and F4 U.S. will kick off the 2024 season on April 11-14 at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, La.