Callum Hedge Crowned FR Americas 2023 Driver Champion

With the 2023 Formula Regional Americas Championship Powered by Honda (FR Americas) season officially in the books, Callum Hedge was crowned the Driver Champion Saturday evening at the year-end FR Americas Awards Celebration. Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport celebrated their first FR Americas Team Championship, while Kevin Janzen was honored as the FR Americas Masters Champion, and Manuel Roza was awarded the Omologato Perfectly Timed Pass Award. 

FR Americas Driver Champion

Callum Hedge’s (No. 17 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3) bid for the 2023 FR Americas title required him to overcome challenges both on the track and logistically as he traveled halfway around the globe for each of the series’ six event weekends. In addition, he was logging miles to and from Australia to simultaneously compete in the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia. He spent literal days on airplanes with some weeks, such as the two weeks leading into the rounds at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, requiring up to 49 hours on a plane between events. In all, between FR Americas, Australia’s Porsche Carrera Cup Championship and Formula Regional Oceania in New Zealand, Hedge has seen 50 checkered flags this year alone. 

Throughout the course of the 18-race FR Americas season, Hedge collected 13 wins and 15 podiums. 

“It’s been quite difficult traveling to and from New Zealand and Australia,” said Hedge as he accepted the championship trophy. “It’s rough sitting on planes constantly, but big thanks to the people who make it happen for me. Without them, it wouldn’t be possible. Big credit to Steve Horn and Mark Pilcher. What they did for me at the start of the year, pulling the funding together about two or three weeks before the first round, was very awesome, and I really appreciate them. Also, the people that came on board to support us—Tony Quinn Foundation, Giltrap Group, and Steve Horn, himself, with Tasman Motorsport Group—thank you. 

“Big thanks to the people who put this event on—SCCA and Parella Motorsports [Holdings]—thank you very much. Scott [Goodyear], thanks for all your hard work. You’re a great race director. Your driver’s briefings have been very fun—they’ve been pretty long, but very useful. You put in a lot of effort and take a lot of pride in what you do; I really appreciate all your work. Mom, thanks for coming out this weekend. I hope you enjoyed coming to America for the second time this year; hopefully you can come back sometime soon. All my competitors, thank you for giving me a good, hard season of racing. The team at Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport, thank you for all your work. Your car has been really good this year. We haven’t had many issues, so big credit to you. Thanks, Gary, Teena, Thomas for fixing all my broken stuff—you’re a champion, mate. Paul, thanks for engineering me on a few other weekends,” concluded Hedge.

As the 2023 Driver Champion, Hedge secured a prize from Honda Performance Development (HPD), in addition to a Bell Athlete contract, a carbon Bell helmet, a custom OMP racing suit, a bespoke Omologato timepiece, Haas F1 Team guest experience at the Miami Grand Prix, and an invitation to the FIA Prize Giving Ceremony at the conclusion of the season. Last, but not least, Hedge also earned FIA Super License Points to assist in his journey on the Road to F1. 

     READ MORE: 2023 FR Americas Driver Points Championship Standings 

Andrew Salzano (right) of Honda Performance Development presents Callum Hedge (left) with the 2023 FR Americas Driver Championship award. Photo by Gavin Baker.

FR Americas Team Championship

Fielding cars for FR Americas Driver Champion Hedge, Driver Vice Champion Ryan Shehan (No. 66 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3) and Third-Place Driver Champion Cooper Becklin (No. 19 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3), among several others, Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport won their first FR Americas Team Championship. Averaging 5.83 FR Americas entries per race, the Dallas-based organization has been leading the team standings since the very first checkered flag of the season at NOLA Motorsports Park. Throughout 2023, Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport drivers have accumulated 16 wins, 46 podiums and 95 top-10 finishes across their 105 entries. The award was accepted by team co-owners Garry Orton and Teena Larsen.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Teena Larsen, co-owner of Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport. “We did it. It’s unbelievable. It’s not just us—it’s the team. The team, the families, the drivers—we created that family atmosphere that really made us all thrive and move forward together, which helped us all excel. All we asked for is that they do the best job that they can, and they all did that and exceeded all of our expectations. We’re so proud of every one of them.” 

“Winning these championships means a huge amount,” said Garry Orton, co-owner of Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport, after the ceremony. “The amount of work that everybody put into it—back in the shop and here at the track with all of our crew; they’ve all had the same goal, and they all strive for it. We’ve been incredibly lucky to have some really good drivers and good crew to pull all this off. It would be an incredible thing if we can repeat it, but it’s not easy.”

     READ MORE: 2023 Team Points Championship Standings

Garry Orton and Teena Larsen, co-owners of Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport accept the 2023 FR Americas Team Championship award. Photo by Gavin Baker.

FR Americas Masters Championship

Kevin Janzen jokes that he’s older than most of his competitors’ parents. Born in 1965, the Canadian is the oldest driver in the FR Americas paddock. He missed rounds at Mid-Ohio and NJMP this season as he recovered from a health scare, but despite that, he still recorded 10 top-10 finishes enroute to the Masters Championship. In addition to racing cars, he’s a four-time USA National Champion with the Labbat Blue Hockey Club, an avid tennis player, and an avid skier—both with heli ski and cat skiing, and even, backcountry powder skiing. 

“I am grateful to Gary and Teena and all of the Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport mechanics and race engineers for all of their hard work and efforts this year,” said Janzen. “The team provided excellent support and ensured I had a fast and reliable car. I am also grateful for our driver coach Roberto Moreno and his relentless efforts to make sure we are always improving. This is not an easy car to drive, and as such, it took a lot of training in the gym, testing and race sim to keep sharp. I want to also thank Tony Parella for hosting the series, and a special thanks to Scott Goodyear for his attention to detail and his guidance to make sure the races are conducted in the most professional and safe manner. Thank you to Ligier, Hankook and Honda for providing an excellent race car, tires and engine.  

“It was nice to receive the Master Championship award and to be recognized this year. Racing is a difficult sport, as you put so much on the line while driving. It is one sport that really penalizes mistakes and requires precision and concentration. I must say it is an unreal experience driving the JSF3. I look forward to the 2024 season,” concluded Janzen.

Kevin Janzen was named the FR Americas Masters Champion. Photo by Gavin Baker.

Omologato Perfectly Timed Pass Award

A new award in 2023, the Omologato Perfectly Timed Pass Award recognized the driver who picked up the most positions from their starting position to their finishing position throughout the course of the 18-race season. Making 17 passes this year, Manuel Roza (No. 12 Crosslink Kiwi Motorsport Ligier JS F3) was named the award winner.

“For me, personally, it has been a tough season full of learning experiences,” said Roza. “We missed two rounds [at New Jersey Motorsports Park and VIRginia International Raceway], so it was very important for us to perform at Circuit of The Americas. The weekend was the best I’ve had all season, and the crowning achievement of all those efforts this year is receiving the Omologato Perfectly Timed Pass Award. Not only do I personally feel fulfilled that our hard work was rewarded, but it could possibly allow us to get future sponsorship for 2024. Once again, thanks to everyone who makes this possible—FR Americas, the series’ partners, my sponsors and my family—especially my mom. It has been an amazing year.”

Scott Goodyear (right) presents Manuel Roza (left) with the Omologato Perfectly Timed Pass Award. Photo by Gavin Baker.

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 FacebookInstagram 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.  

Adam Sinclair