Tower Motorsports won the 2023 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in the LMP2 class last weekend, with drivers Kyffin Simpson, Scott McLaughlin and John Farano taking home silverware in one of the most dramatic finishes in the races’ 71 years of running.
The #8 Oreca prototype overcame setup challenges, a mid-race tangle with the barriers, and unlucky full-course yellow timing to leapfrog the LMP2 field in the final hour of the race – a bold strategic decision finally paying dividends, supported by the lightning pace of the team’s drivers.
Farano started the race with almost three hours’ straight driving, a testament to his consistency and experience, keeping the #8 on the lead lap as their competitors faltered around them. For the remaining nine hours, Kyffin and Scott traded double-stint duty to power into the class lead – and defended their place valiantly in a dramatic final 30 minutes that saw three of the GTP leaders crash out of the race.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for the team, however. At the six-hour mark, Kyffin experienced the highest of highs and lowest of ls in quick succession. After pulling off a daring around-the-outside move for second overall, Simpson ran ever so slightly wide at the exit of turn one – arguably Sebring’s most challenging corner. The #8 spun at high speed, damaging both the front and rear of the car as it glanced against the barriers.
Thankfully, Kyffin was able to quickly re-join the race, bringing the wounded LMP2 back to the pits for a full service. Tower Motorsports got to work, losing only a handful seconds and one place on track to restore the car to perfect condition. Not deterred by this misfortune, Kyffin delivered a consistent stint in third place – chasing down second again – before handing over to McLaughlin.
Adding to a fifth-place finish at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, INDY NXT star Simpson, NTT INDYCAR SERIES front-runner McLaughlin and Toronto native Farano take the LMP2 class championship lead with 375 points, ahead of TDS Racing (350) and Era Motorsport (323).
Speaking after his second high-profile IMSA victory in five months, Kyffin said:
“What a result. I’m thankful to God for bringing me through this one! P1 is a real testament to our preparation and key decisions during the race, even with the chaos going on around us. Rick and the entire Tower crew executed a flawless race, huge props to them. I’ve really enjoyed working with John and Scott. We all drove our hearts out this weekend and I’m glad we could finally grab a win.”
Scott McLaughlin added:
“I’m really proud of the team. We fought through adversity and focused on getting the job done. Even though we were faced with our own set of challenges, I think we had a nearly flawless race. I truly have no words; I’m just overjoyed and thrilled for everyone involved. Our car was great, and extremely fast, and we were able to build our confidence throughout the entire race. We nailed it!”
John Farano, Team Owner and Principal summed up the weekend:
“Sebring for me is one of the most iconic events in motor racing and to win here, takes a little bit of luck, great strategy and staying patient so you can be in it at the end when it really matters. We succeeded on all counts and as always, the team was super strong keeping us in the fight with flawless pit stops and avoiding penalties which I believe, made the difference in this race. Big thanks to Ryan and the engineering staff calling the strategy, Rick and the crew for giving us a fast car, and Kyffin and Scott who drove brilliantly. I could not be happier to share this win with this great group of people and can’t wait to get to the next one.”
After a relentless start to the 2023 season with Daytona, Asian Le Mans Series, INDY NXT’s St Pete opener and Sebring, Kyffin has a well-deserved break ahead of his next race event. The 18-year-old Cayman returns to the track in the European Le Mans Series with Algarve Pro Racing, making his European debut at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on April 23.
Fans can follow Kyffin’s progress via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Kyffin is supported by Ridgeline Lubricants, The American Legion, Visit Cayman Islands, Boddens Legal, Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa, Simpson Race Products and Kokoro Media.