Kyffin Simpson, James Allen and Alex Lynn dominated the 2023 running of 4H Spa, scoring their second win of the European Le Mans Series from pole position to extend Algarve Pro Racing’s overall championship lead in LMP2.
Riding high from a podium finish at MotorLand Aragón, 18-year-old Simpson headed to Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps with confidence, despite having never visited the Ardennes venue with its daunting climb through the famous Eau Rouge and Radillon corners.
The #25 Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa ORECA 07 didn’t immediately show front-running pace in Friday’s opening practice sessions, however. Undeterred, the team chipped away at preparing the car’s setup for Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session, and Kyffin’s fellow Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Alex Lynn duly delivered.
Lynn set a best time of 2:03.564s, one tenth clear of the chasing United Autosports and IDEC Sport cars, to secure APR’s first outright pole position of 2023; a statement of intent for the four-hour race to come.
Kyffin opted to take the green flag, leading the 40-car field down the short straight into the La Source hairpin to begin four hours of hard racing. Behind, one of the LMP2 cars locked its brakes on the inside, narrowly avoiding Simpson as it careered down the inside of the corner. The chasing pack wasn’t as fortunate – three other LMP2s were collected by the out-of-control car, incurring significant damage and the first of five safety car periods in an incident-packed race.
When the race finally restarted after almost 30 minutes of yellow flags, Kyffin set about extending his race lead over the cars behind. The young Caymanian driver delivered a faultless, consistent stint to pull away from second place. Despite traffic, more yellows, and a pit-stop cycle to manage, Simpson eventually placed over seven seconds ahead as he was called in for the first scheduled driver change.
APR teammates Allen and Lynn battled through the remaining 2h30 of the race with little incident, maintaining their overall lead and executing on the team’s planned strategy. In contrast to earlier races in the season, 4H Spa was won on consistency and assured control rather than outright pace.
After the last pit cycle reshuffled the order, the #25 emerged at the front of the field to take a well-deserved victory – their second of 2023, locking in their championship lead by 11 points.
Speaking after the race, Kyffin said:
“It was so incredible to be able to win at Spa. It’s an amazing track and it was also a very crazy race. The team did a great job on the pit stops and strategy, and James and Alex did a great job keeping out of the carnage. Now we look on to Portimāo for a double header and we will make sure to do everything we can to win for the team’s home race.”
With four of six ELMS rounds complete, Algarve Pro Racing next travel to Algarve International Circuit, Portugal for the final two rounds of the season in a dramatic title-decider, October 20th-22nd 2023. Kyffin Simpson is supported by The American Legion, Ridgeline Lubricants, InvestCayman, Visit Cayman Islands, Boddens Legal, Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa Grand Cayman, Simpson Race Products and Kokoro Media.