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Tower Claimed Overall Podium With “Bits and Pieces” Off Car

Tower Motorsport becomes first LMP2 class team to finish on 12H Sebring overall podium in 11 years…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

Tower Motorsport claimed an unlikely overall podium finish in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with “bits and pieces hanging off” its Oreca 07 Gibson according to Scott McLaughlin.

The LMP2 squad, with McLaughlin, Kyffin Simpson and John Farano, rebounded from a mid-race accident to score class honors and a third place overall finish in the Florida endurance classic, benefitting from a three-car GTP pileup in the final 20 minutes of the race.

It marked the first overall podium for a LMP2 class entry in the race since 2012 when Starworks Motorsport took its HPD ARX-03b to top category honors and also with a third place overall finish.

Ironically, the vestiges of the Peter Baron-led Starworks squad morphed into Tower Motorsport, which has since been under the leadership of Ricky Capone since 2021.

NTT IndyCar Series star McLaughlin, in only his second sports car race, held off Peugeot FIA World Endurance Championship star Mikkel Jensen, for the class win, which came after an Hour 7 crash with Simpson at the wheel.

“There were bits and pieces hanging off of it,” McLaughlin said post-race.

“Unfortunately Kyffin had that little moment… The team really did the right strategy and kept us on the lead lap, fixed the bodywork. Thankfully the car was straight and we had a really fast race car.

“I was able to use the right strategy calls from the team and manufacture a result there at the end.

“It was pretty full-on and a pretty hard race there in the end. It was definitely difficult. It was probably the darkest race I’ve ever been a part of; I’ve never seen anything like it.

“I was just building up confidence every lap out there at night. I’m just stoked for everyone, John, Kyffin and the team. It’s really cool.”

The Kiwi said the race came as a massive learning experience following his debut in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January, where the car lost ground early on due to an electrical issue triggered by a leaking drink bottle.

Saturday’s race wasn’t any further straightforward.

“I was struggling, thinking as fast as I could and I didn’t care if I didn’t know what the hell I was doing,” McLaughlin said. “I was just trying to drive it as fast and keep it as wry as I could.

“There were some pretty big blocks going on and trying to do what I could to manage the cold tires.

“That was another thing, just learning that and keeping the temps and what was working well on [tire] warmup, under the safety car, to keep the temps and pressures up.

“I learned that on the run but hopefully that sets us up better when I hopefully come back and have another crack.”

Simpson, meanwhile, credited the Florida-based squad for getting the car so quickly back on track after his accident.

“It was unfortunate,” he said. “I was going through Turn 1 and got a little bit wide and just barely dropped the wheel on the exit and it snapped the car sideways.

“It was a really unfortunate crash but the team did a great job getting it back out there. A huge props to them.

“I think they did an amazing job, not even just in that but all day with the race strategy calls and pit stop calls.

“It was a little bit tough in the first couple of laps in Turn 1. I was lacking a little more confidence than usual but built up to it slowly and tried to not make any more mistakes than that.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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