Stephen fights to finish in New York 6-hour

South Africa’s Stephen Simpson starred in a sensational race to finish a very close second to Portuguese driver Joao Barbosa in a thrilling Sahlen’s IMSA Six Hours of the Glen at the New York Watkins Glen Raceway Sunday. Simpson and Barbosa fought nose-to-tail and side-by-side throughout the closing 25 minutes after Stephen forced his way into the lead at the final restart and stayed ahead until the duo reached lapped traffic.

From there, each driver took advantage of the others’ difficulties as they scythed through the back markers, but Barbosa had the last laugh when Simpson was caught out by a slower car as he led into the penultimate lap. The Cadillac was able to take the gap and open a small lead, which he held through to the flag, ultimately pipping Simpson’s Oreca by just a second after six hours racing.

“Wow, what a hectic race!” Stephen admitted. “It was a good race for us and it's nice to be disappointed with second, but all credit to Joao — that was an incredible dice in the toughest conditions — we were both caught out lapping slower cars, but I suppose he was lucky enough that I was the last one to be wrong footed. “I am also delighted that our JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca is now right on the pace — this was our best result of the season with the car so far — we have now developed it onto a race-winning package.

“I need to thank my co-drivers Misha and Chris for handing me the car in a position to be able to fight for the win.” Simpson shared the JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca-Gibson with Russo-Canadian driver Misha Goikhberg and American Chris Miller, while Cadillac driver Barbosa was teamed with fellow Portuguese Filipe Albuquerque and Brazil’s Christian Fittipaldi.

“I would also like to personally thank and congratulate each and every one of our team members who have contributed to get us where we are. “JDC-Miller Motorsports is a small, strong privateer team and to be able to take on the might of General Motors as we are, is an incredible achievement at every level — thanks to all of you!

“The team now has it all to do once again — we travel straight to Canada for the next round of the WeatherTech championship at another classic former grand prix circuit at Mosport Park for the Mobil Sporstcar Grand Prix this coming weekend. 

“That’s the second of four races over three weekends, so we all have our work cut out,” Simpson concluded. “This one is a shorter two hour, forty minute race but we go there with a spring in our step knowing full well we can finally beat that six-race Cadillac streak - bring it on!”