SA race driver Stephen Simpson relishing the prospect of a classic Long Beach street race
South African Stephen Simpson’s #85 Hi-Tide Red Line JDC Miller Motorsports ORECA FLM09 Chevrolet team heads west to the classic street circuit in Long Beach California following 36-hours of racing in the state of Florida so far this year, with the team in a close fight for the IMSA Prototype Challenge championship lead.
IMSA’s racing focus now shifts to sprint mode for the 100-minute Bubba Burger SportsCar Grand Prix of Long Beach Saturday 16 April following the Daytona 24 and Sebring 12-hour endurance races and Indianapolis-based Capetonian Simpson is relishing the change of pace. “I am very excited to be racing on the streets of Long Beach again,” Stephen confessed. “I previously raced there in Formula Atlantic back in 2006 and I have great memories of the classic track.
“We are racing over the same weekend as the IndyCars, so the different rubber laid down on the track will definitely make things more interesting,” Simpson explained. “The JDC Miller Motorsports Team has put long hours into making sure we go to Long Beach prepared and ready to get back on the top step of the podium.”
Simpson won the Daytona 24-hour Prototype Challenge driving with Americans Chris Miller and Kenton Koch and Canadian Misha Goikhberg and the team kept their chase on the sharp end of the title table by surviving shambolic conditions to end up fourth in class in the Twelve Hours of Sebring. “After our win at Daytona earlier this year, I feel we have the potential to go out there and be right at the sharp end and I am determined to contribute to a great result,” Stephen, who will share the Miller ORECA-Chevy with Misha Goikhberg this weekend concluded.
The Long Beach Grand Prix has a long and spectacular history that stretches way back to the 1970s when Formula 1 raced there. The Long Beach weekend has since switched to being a most popular annual street race venue for IndyCars and IMSA Sports Cars. The Bubba Burgers 100 Minutes will be live streamed on www.imsa.com from 03h00 SA time Sunday 17 April.