Driver Spotlight: Stephen Simpson
Driver: No. 85 JDC/Miller Motorsports Oreca FLM09 (TUDOR), No. 37 LAP Motorsports MINI JCW (CTSC)
Between doing the two TUDOR and Continental races, then having a dominant first stint leading before the car had its mechanical problem, was Saturday at Lime Rock one of your biggest roller coaster days in racing?
“We had a little issue there. It’s typical that the first real issue we have comes in the race, as the JDC/Miller Motorsports guys put out such a reliable car for the last year and a half. The reliability has been fantastic. We were unlucky it happened when we were in such a good spot.
“I’m really disappointed for the team because they and my teammate Mikhail Goikhberg deserve that top step.
“It was great to lead the race for such a long time and pull the gap. I enjoyed getting through the traffic. Even when the pros got in the other cars, we caught them up and overtook them again.”
This weekend was your first ever double duty race between PC and the MINI in the Continental Tire Challenge. Was there any fatigue either day of or after the fact?
“I think in the last two days I’ve changed race suits about 15 times! I just had as much rest as I could have in between the two races. In the PC car, I was feeling good. Both before the little issue and after, I just wanted to get the result.”
You had a several year gap in-between stints of your career. Did you ever think you’d get back to racing this much again?
“I still think about it fairly often. I didn’t race for about five years. I thought my career was done and dusted. JDC/Miller Motorsports gave me a chance when they premiered at Sebring last year. I don’t know my schedule the rest of the year, and I’m not sure if I’ll be back in the car, but I hope they get that win they deserve.”
What did you think of Lime Rock Park in your first visit there?
“It’s a fantastic, unique track; Skip Barber has done great things for it. It’s a real driver’s track; there are some high-speed areas where you really need to hold your breath! The racing was really good actually. I thought it would be difficult to get by both PC and GTD cars, but it wasn’t so much the case.”
What’s your take on the level of talent within the PC category?
“The level of competition is excellent, and it’s something I love. I love racing against guys I rate highly.
“I was happy for Tom [Kimber-Smith] winning, actually. We go back a long way. We raced against each other in 2001 in the U.K.! I was very close when I raced with Tom. To be back on track with him again, it’s something I find special. I just love being a part of this series.”
You’re South African but you’ve made the U.S. your home about 10 years now. How did your career evolve to this point?
“It’s a bit of a story but I’ll keep it short and sweet. I moved to the U.K. when I was 17 to pursue my racing career. I spent a couple years there; then lived in Italy, and raced in Europe.
“I came to America after racing for South Africa in A1GP. I did some Indy Lights and Formula Atlantic. Indianapolis is now home for me. My wife and I live there. I just love being a part of the American motorsport family, I suppose. I live 10 minutes from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and I’m there on a regular basis.
“I just love living in America. My wife and I go back to South Africa every year or two. She loves going back there. I love being part of this paddock, and I want to be back in the car on a more regular basis.”