- Versteeg sweeps the weekend with two overall and Pro-Am class victories
- The 2018 Huracán Super Trofeo EVO was introduced to the North American public in a special ceremony
- Class championships will come down to the wire at Imola, Italy
Monterey, Calif. (Sept. 24, 2017) - If the tone of Saturday's Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America Round 9 at Laguna Seca resembled the fast and the furious, Sunday's theme was geared toward precision and excellence.
In the second of two 50-minute sprint races that took place on the iconic undulating road course along the central coast of California in Monterey this weekend, drivers and teams coaxed the most out of their Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo entries on the 2.238-mile, 11-turn race complex.
But it was Austin Versteeg in the No. 7 entry for DXDT Racing and Lamborghini Dallas who had the fortitude and skill to sweep the weekend with two overall and Pro-Am class victories, to keep his championship hopes very much alive and kicking.
"Crazy weekend," said Versteeg. "This track is crazy to drive on. It throws something different at you every time you are out on the track. But I can't thank the DXDT crew enough for giving me a wicked car all weekend and allowing me to push how I do."
And as Versteeg looks ahead to a potentially impending class championship, the rest of the teams and drivers joined him as the new 2018 Huracán Super Trofeo EVO was unveiled to the North American public as part of the pre-race ceremonies for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Throngs of fans and series officials, as well as the teams and drivers got their first look at the dynamic, extensively redeveloped race car that offers up entirely redesigned aerodynamics, new devices to improve safety, and several improvements to its mechanics and electronics. The developments combine to offer drivers and teams an efficient and highly professional race car, which makes its track debut at the three Continental series in Europe, Asia and North America in spring 2018.
North American competitors are looking forward to running the new car in all four categories of competition in 2018.
Divided into separate podiums, the series recognizes the breadth of talent in the Super Trofeo field by classifying the drivers into several divisions: Pro, Pro-Am, Amateur (Am) and Lamborghini Cup divisions.
And while Versteeg's dominance in the Pro-Am category was uncontested this weekend, he was heavily challenged Sunday by the Pro entry of Riccardo Agostini and Trent Hindman in the No. 1 Prestige Performance entry for Lamborghini Paramus.
The duo faltered in Saturday's race and conceded the victory on the last lap to Versteeg. Sunday's race was an entirely different matter. Starting third on the grid just behind the No. 30 of Brandon Gdovic for DAC Motorsports and Lamborghini Palm Beach, Agostini locked in and maintained a consistent pace and managed tire wear to keep the car in an optimal position as the mandatory pit stop window opened.
The teammates switched places and it was Hindman that capitalized on strategy and moved the No. 1 into second-place by Lap 19. Hindman continued to push the pace and began reeling in Versteeg, but just didn't quite have enough to catch the red No. 7, and had to settle for second overall and take the victory in the Pro division. Their win continues to expand their ever-growing points lead for the category championship.
"We just didn't quite have the pace today," said Hindman. "Congratulations to Austin [Versteeg]. He drove a hell of a race. For us, the more important thing is the championship. The No. 16 [Richard Antinucci, Change Racing, Lamborghini Carolinas] had some trouble today and we had some trouble yesterday, which took us out of a potential win so I guess the law of averages comes into play. We capitalized on what we had. I think we are in a good position now, as long as we keep it clean at Imola, hopefully we will have the North American championship."
Gdovic followed Hindman's lead and drove his Huracán Super Trofeo entry across the finish line in third-place overall, and second in Pro.
The No. 55 of Yuki Harata for Dream Racing Motorsports and Lamborghini Las Vegas continued this charge toward the Amateur division championship, starting in fourth on the grid, but running as high as first due to pit stop strategy. He finished fourth overall and captured his fifth win for the season. He has only finished off the podium once in 10 rounds of competition.
"It's amazing really," said Harata. "It was a new experience for me starting from the second row. It's the first time I have started there and I pushed hard in the first stint. Our pit stop was perfect and I could maintain the pace and the last lap I saw I had [Edoardo] Piscopo behind me and I was nervous, he is a Pro. But I was so happy to finish in fourth overall."
The combination of Edoardo Piscopo and Taylor Proto rounded out the top five for US RaceTronics, running the No. 50 for Lamborghini Beverly Hills. The duo gained five positions throughout the course of the race, and took home second-place honors in Pro-Am competition.
And it was déjà vu all over again for driver JC Perez in his No. 71 entry for P1 Motorsports and Lamborghini Palm Beach. Perez recently returned from running LB Cup competition in the European Super Trofeo series and was pleased to back up his European victories with his third consecutive victory, and his sixth for the season.
"I pushed when I had to push at the beginning and then at the end I just didn't want to risk the car," said Perez. "My guys have been really good with the car and I didn't want to do anything at the last race, especially with such a commanding lead. It just wasn't worth it for me. So, I just toned it down a bit and kept pace with the car in front of me."
Laguna Seca marks the last rounds of competition in the U.S., as drivers and teams will now make the transition overseas to the final two rounds of series competition Nov. 17-18 in Imola, Italy, followed immediately by the World Final, where the Super Trofeo North America, Europe and Asia series competitors will converge to battle for the right to be named a world champion.
Tape-delayed coverage of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will air on the CBS Sports Network Oct. 15, 2017, at 3 p.m. ET.
Lamborghini Super Trofeo races will be live-streamed on the following platforms: squadracorse.lamborghini.com, motortrendondemand.com and Internationally on imsa.tv and radiolemans.com. Tape-delayed coverage of each event will air on CBS Sports Network in prime time. The coverage will feature live commentary on both the broadcast and live streams.
The Huracán LP 620-2 Super Trofeo adopts the V10 direct injection engine mounted on the road car, managed by a MoTeC control unit that delivers a maximum output of 620 horsepower. The frame is a hybrid carbon/aluminum construction with modified geometries to house an improved radiator up front and better accommodate the racing gearbox at the rear, which also provides better aerodynamics.
Lamborghini and its dealers entertain VIP guests at every Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America event in the Lamborghini Village, which features lavish hospitality and amenities.
For more information on Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America, visit squadracorse.lamborghini.com, follow @LamborghiniSC on Twitter and Instagram and like the Lamborghini Squadra Corse Facebook and YouTube pages.
AUSTIN VERSTEEG (No. 7 DXDT Racing, Overall winner, first ProAm):
"Crazy weekend. This track is crazy to drive on. It throws something different at you every time you are out on the track. But I can't thank the DXDT crew enough for giving me a wicked car all weekend and allowing me to push how I do.
I just had to manage the race today. I knew I had to pull a gap initially with the cars who had co-drivers behind us because of our pit window is a little longer than theirs and we were able to do that and still have come car left at the end to manage traffic and maintain the gap. I knew Trent [Hindman] would have some pace and I was able to hold him off due to my awesome car and all the support I have behind me. Squadra Corse and Pirelli and IMSA provide a great program here. It's a great package to race in the U.S. and all over the world."
TRENT HINDMAN (No. 1 Prestige Performance, winner, first Pro):
"We just didn't quite have the pace today. Congratulations to Austin [Versteeg]. He drove a hell of a race. For us, the more important thing is the championship. The No. 16 [Richard Antinucci, Change Racing, Lamborghini Carolinas] had some trouble today and we had some trouble yesterday, which took us out of a potential win so I guess the law of averages comes into play. We capitalized on what we had. I think we are in a good position now, as long as we keep it clean at Imola, hopefully we will have the North American championship. Full focus is now on trying to see if we can win the World Title. Big thanks to the Prestige guys, and Riccardo [Agostini] did a great job."
RICCARDO AGOSTINI (No. 1 Prestige Performance, winner, first Pro):
"It was a great weekend. We were a bit unlucky in Race 1 with a brake issue but everything looks good for the championship. We just need to manage in Imola and we can be a little bit more focused on the World Final to get a good set up and the best situation we can have. This was my last race in the U.S. and hopefully I can be back next year."
YUKI HARATA (No. 55 Dream Racing Motorsport, winner, first Am):
"It's amazing really. It was a new experience for me starting from the second row. It's the first time I have started there and I pushed hard in the first stint. Our pit stop was perfect and I could maintain the pace and the last lap I saw I had [Edoardo] Piscopo behind me and I was nervous, he is a Pro. But I was so happy to finish in fourth overall and I am really looking forward to Imola."
JC PEREZ (No. 71 P1 Motorsports, winner, first LB Cup):
"I pushed when I had to push at the beginning and then at the end I just didn't want to risk the car. My guys have been really good with the car and I didn't want to do anything at the last race, especially with such a commanding lead. It just wasn't worth it for me. So, I just toned it down a bit and kept pace with the car in front of me."
2017 LAMBORGHINI SUPER TROFEO NORTH AMERICA SCHEDULE
|May 4-6||Circuit of The Americas||Austin, Texas|
|June 29-July 1||Watkins Glen International||Watkins Glen, N.Y.|
|Aug. 4-6||Road America||Elkhart Lake, Wis.|
|Aug 25-27||Virginia International Raceway||Danville, Va.|
|Sept. 22-24||Laguna Seca||Monterey, Calif.|
|Nov. 16-17||Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari||Imola, Italy|