The Barbados-born Caymanian was signed as a development driver with CGR in May 2022, only two races into his Indy NXT career that already featured a fifth-place finish at Barber Motorsports Park. He ended up finishing his rookie campaign ninth in the standings despite switching teams from TJ Speed Motorsports to HMD Motorsports mid-season.
There were already some flashes of potential shown the year prior as Simpson took seven wins, 13 podiums and two poles en route to winning the 2021 Formula Regional Americas Championship.
Fast forward to the conclusion of the 2023 Indy NXT season, the 18-year-old’s record included a career-best runner-up result (Mid-Ohio), an additional podium and a pole to finish 10th in the championship standings after competing in 13 of 14 events.
The lone event missed at Gateway was a result of a schedule conflict with his full-time commitment to the European Le Mans Series. He currently sits second in the LMP2 championship standings entering this weekend’s ELMS contest at Spa-Francorchamps - the fourth of six rounds.
And that’s part of why all involved feel the timing is right for Simpson’s move up to North America’s premier open-wheel championship – his variety of experience across multiple forms of racing with evidence of growth.
Beyond his current ELMS run with Algarve Pro Racing, he also helped the team finish third in the Asian Le Mans Series standings during the early part of the year. Additionally, he has contested the endurance rounds in IMSA each of the past two years, winning the GTD category (with Gradient Racing) at Petit Le Mans last year.
Although there is still one round remaining, he already helped to win the 12 Hours of Sebring in LMP2 (with Tower Motorsports) back in March, co-driving with John Farano and Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin.
“I think it's helped me in a lot of ways doing all these different series,” Simpson said. “Racing sports cars has helped a lot with my fuel saving and pit stops. Obviously, we don't do that in Indy NXT, you're just pushing flat out for 35 laps or however long the race is. I think doing all that this year was very helpful, but also just general race craft, being in close races with other drivers has been very helpful, just doing lots of racing this year.”
#8 Tower Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07: John Farano, Scott McLaughlin, Kyffin Simpson
Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images
Simpson has spent the process since being affiliated with Ganassi being part of engineering debriefs, learning the nuances within the team, along with certain coaching and feedback. In January, he got his first taste of driving one of CGR’s Indy cars at a test at Sebring International Raceway.
“Yeah, I think it's been very helpful being able to work with the team, learn the team, learn how they do things,” Simpson said. “Also just learn all the engineers and mechanics. Just meeting them has been very helpful. I think that will be something that helps me a lot going into this next year. I think it will be very exciting to work with them even closer than I have previously.”
The off-season work, which is built around his remaining sports car commitments, has already begun with simulator work.
So far, things have been positive but there remain a few question marks going into next year, such as what number he’ll run or who the engineer and strategist will be. One thing he isn’t concerned about, though, is going for Rookie of the Year against team-mate and 2022 Indy NXT champion Linus Lundqvist.
“I don't really have any expectations set for myself right now,” Simpson said. “It would be great to win Rookie of the Year. I don't have anything specifically set for myself right now.”2023-09-22T16:58:18Z dg43tfdfdgfd