Jeff Kingsley On a Roll in 2014
Continuing the strong run of results started in 2013, the 15-year-old home grown racer made his successful US debut in both open wheel cars and Senior karts
Jeff Kingsley, pilot of the Whitby Toyota Scion PSL Karting CRG, has been on a podium run since clinching the Eastern Canadian Karting Championships Rotax Junior Max title in September at the Mt. Tremblant Karting Circuit in Quebec. The Grade 10 student from Trinity College in Port Hope, Ontario has recently been competing in the US in both racecars and karts and he continues to progress up the motorsports ladder.
While competing the Pan American Rotax Max event in New Orleans last October, Kingsley enjoyed an excellent outing, standing on the podium with a third place finish amongst a strong international field. The Pan Am event was set up as a primer for the Rotax Max Grand Finals and Kingsley did not disappoint. Moving on to the Rotax World Finals meant a return trip to the stellar NOLA karting facility in New Orleans. Showing his form early, Jeff qualified third, won the first two qualifying heat races in a field that featured the best 72 Juniors from over 60 countries. On the final day, while most of the other Team Canada members were spectators, Jeff was going into the final day tied for first in points and starting on the front row. Luck was not on Kingsley’s side in the prefinal as he was forced to the outside at the start, sending him back in the field. The string of bad luck followed Kingsley into the final were a mechanical issue ended his day early. To finish off the year Jeff was named CanadianKartingNews Junior Driver of the year, his third driver of the year award in a row.
“Our karting program was solid this year with some great results and some disappointing ones as well,” comments Kingsley. “I hated to see the Canadian Nationals and the Grand Finals get away from us as we were in contention at both events. But we made it back on Team Canada, which was a goal, and we showed all season that we were the ones to beat. It was a great way to cap off Junior karting.”
While looking to make a name in the international karting scene, Kingsley was also making some noise on the regional open wheel car racing circuit. Taking in his first Formula 1600 open wheel racecar at CanadianTireMotorsportsPark this past October, Kingsley grabbed an impressive fourth place in the feature event. To start the 2014 campaign, Jeffrey made his first start south of the border, competed in an SCCA sanctioned race at the famed Sebring International Raceway, where he drove a Honda-powered Spectrum Formula F with Exclusive Racing. After starting from the back while having to wait on final confirmation of his US racing status, Kingsley continued where he left off in October by grabbing two second place trophies and the points lead in the class.
“The open wheel racing part of our program has been a blast,” smiles Kingsley. “We have had a chance to work with some great teams and run in some awesome cars. In Canada it was on the treaded radial and in the US it was on a slick. I really liked both and was able to find speed quickly.”
With the 2014 campaign in full swing before the calendar completed January, Kingsley hooked up with long time tuner and coach Kyle Herder and PSL Karting to move into Senior karting in the Rotax DD2 Max class. Just looking to ease into the program, Jeff’s debut run in DD2 at the Florida Winter Tour turned out to be stacked with many Rotax World Champions plus an ex-Formula One driver. The goal was to get into the top ten out of the 25 entries. Qualifying on Friday had Jeff ending up with two ninth place finishes, which was better than expected. On Saturday Kingsley moved up to sixth place through the early stages of the final and on the last lap he caught up to the fourth and fifth place karts. Making a bold move, Kingsley made the pass stick and finished fourth. On Sunday in the prefinal a race driver in front of Jeff had an engine issue resulting in evasive action and ending with a 13th place result. Starting from inside row seven in the final, Kingsley fought his way up to sixth at the finish line and after a DQ for the second place driver, Jeff ended up fifth place in the final order.
“It was unbelievable passing the current World Champion and also Nelson Piquet Jr. in my first race plus having the second fastest lap,” grins Kingsley. “We were able to get some pretty good results with a fourth and fifth place finish for the weekend. PSL Karting and Kyle Herder were amazing. The field was super stacked and I couldn’t be happier with the results.”
Up next for Kingsley will be a return trip to the Florida Winter Tour, this time at the Ocala Gran Prix Circuit in late February. Planning the year ahead will include karting in the Rotax DD2 Max program and competing in the new Formula 1600 Super Series. This new program includes races in Ontario and Quebec with an opportunity to race in the Honda Indy Toronto at Exhibition Place and Canadian Formula One Grand Prix in Montreal.
For more information about Jeff, visit his website at jeffkingsley.ca. For more information about Whitby Toyota, visit their website at whitbytoyota.com.