Tower Motorsports overcome adversity to finish 5th in LMP2 class

Tower Events’ #8 ORECA LMP2 powered to a strong finish of 5th in class in the 2023 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, just 2 laps shy of the overall class leading cars despite a considerable setback on the opening lap of the race. The quartet of John Farano, Josef Newgarden, Scott McLaughlin and Kyffin Simpson set about overtaking some 50 cars on their comeback charge, driving without incident, and setting class-leading lap times.

Starting from 9th, John Farano experienced an unfortunate ECU failure just 7 turns in to the gruelling 24-hour event. After a short stint in the garage, Tower Motorsports’ crew successfully revived the #8 machine and John returned to the race 10 laps behind the field.

The remaining race time was characterised by maximising stint times, saving tires and fuel, and calling pit stops at the perfect moment to capitalise on caution periods. Taking over from Farano, Simpson reduced Tower’s deficit with the #8’s fastest race lap in his first shift, delivering a consistently fast tempo that INDYCAR drivers Newgarden and McLaughlin mirrored in their respective stints throughout the race.

After 20 hours of incremental gains and 4 of the 10 laps recovered, the #8 became eligible for a series of ‘wave-bys’ in the final few hours of the race. With a final push from Simpson, Newgarden and McLaughlin, Tower Motorsports took the checkered flag just 2 laps down, 5th overall in LMP2.

Reflecting on their performance, Kyffin Simpson said:

“It was a pretty tough race. We started off on the back foot from the first lap. Once we rejoined the track, we just had to keep fighting. We were slowly able to gain some laps back, but it was difficult because there weren’t many yellow flags to help us out. It was still a great effort from the whole team to gain 8 laps back. It was really fun working with Josef, Scott and John these past weeks.”

It was a “great run for the #8 crew,” said Josef Newgarden. “I am very thankful to have been here these last couple of weeks. It was a great opportunity to join John, Rick Capone, and the entire team at Tower Motorsports. I was really impressed by the level of effort. When I look back on it now, we were 10 laps behind pretty early into this race and we fought back to two laps down. I think that’s a testament to the hard work from everybody on this team. It showed that we had the ability to win this race if we didn’t have some misfortune in the beginning. Hard fought event, but I think we put our best foot forward and we can be proud of our result and how we fought back.”

John Farano added that he believes “our performance was number one in class. Everyone put their heads down and genuinely never gave up hope. I really wish we could have given the team a better result, but we all did great to finish where we did and everyone should be proud of themselves. Personally, I will never quit until I get that Rolex and I really believe we will be the team to beat at the remaining 2023 events.”

Scott McLaughlin added ‘the 24 Hours was a crazy race, I am so tired but very proud of the crew at Tower Motorsports for the work they did and sticking with it until the end. To finish 2 laps down after being 10 laps down is pretty wild. We all fought very hard to come back from this. Great job by Kyffin, John and Josef as well. Just wasn’t our day.”

Following some well-deserved rest, Kyffin returns to the wheel in LMP2 – this time with Algarve Pro Racing – in his debut Asian Le Mans Series appearance. 10th-12th February at the Dubai Autodrome, and 17th-19th February at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi.

Fans can follow live coverage of the 2023 Asian Le Mans Series on the ALMS YouTube, and can support Kyffin on social media via FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

Kyffin is a Chip Ganassi Racing development driver supported by Ridgeline Lubricants, InvestCayman, Visit Cayman Islands, Boddens Legal, Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa Grand Cayman, Simpson Race Products and Kokoro Media.

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