An exciting, mad dash to the checkered flag in Friday’s race at Laguna Seca for Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America was in keeping with the intense action the North American series has been boasting all season long.
The last event for the U.S. based series on native soil, Rounds 9 and 10 were highly anticipated, as the winding road course near the central coast of California is coveted for its complexities and elevation changes, including the sweeping downhill “Corkscrew” complex which has made the venue famous.
In the first of two 50-minute races that will take place over the event weekend, the teams and drivers tackled the 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course in style as a fleet of 21 Lamborghini Huracán’s took the green flag and pole sitter Trent Hindman set the pace in his No. 1 entry for Prestige Performance representing Lamborghini Paramus, which he shares with Riccardo Agostini in the Pro category.
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 Pro competitors Hindman and Agostini dominated the majority of Friday morning’s competition, a late race caution flag created a last lap dash to the checkered flag, allowing Pro-Am competitor Austin Versteeg to edge out the Pro duo to capture the Overall and Pro-Am victories.
Versteeg, in the No. 7 entry for DXDT Racing and Lamborghini Dallas started in fourth position at the beginning of the race, but was shuffled back to seventh in opening lap traffic. The young driver dug deep, and pushed his Huracán through traffic, making several savvy moves to regain position heading into the mandatory pit stop window.
With a clean, perfectly timed stop under his belt, Versteeg locked in behind Agostini, who had taken over for Hindman and proceeded to fill Agostini’s mirrors, looking to gain any advantage he could.
And a caution flag on Lap 25 provided the opportunity. The full-course caution was issued to recover the No. 57 Amateur entry of Pippa Mann and Shea Holbrook for Prestige Performance and Lamborghini Paramus who lost a wheel and were forced to retire from competition. With only five minutes left in the race, series officials issued a Green and White flag scenario, creating a drag race to the end.
Agostini faltered shortly after the green flag dropped, conceding the victory to Versteeg, his fourth win in class in a row and his second overall victory in the season. The last lap incident pushed Agostini and Hindman down the grid to ultimately finish in 12th.
“I didn’t know what to think about the yellow because it came so late in the race,” said Versteeg. “But I knew if it went green we had to get it done right away because Agostini is a great driver. This track is very hard to pass on, especially when the tire is at the end of its life. We had a great restart, but then he had a little bobble on the brakes and we were able to take advantage of it.
Versteeg was followed to the overall podium by Pro driver Brandon Gdovic in the No. 30 entry for DAC Motorsports and Lamborghini Palm Beach.
Gdovic, who had a brilliant run in yesterday’s qualifying session, started in second on the grid and proved that consistency was the way forward, as he maintained his position, dropping only to third following the mandatory pit stop window, but followed Versteeg’s lead on the last lap to move up to capture second overall.
In a surprise twist, the No. 55 of Amateur competitor Yuki Harata for Dream Racing Motorsport and Lamborghini Las Vegas made an incredible last lap effort, jumping from sixth to third place as the last restart occurred to take the final step behind Gdovic on the overall podium, as well as the victory in class.
“I think my start was really good,” said Harata. “I tried to follow the Pros, the leaders, and I think I found a good pace after the safety car pulled away. I didn’t know about being on the overall podium but it was just an amazing race.”
In LB Cup competition, it was once again JC Perez with a dominating lead in class to take yet another victory, his sixth this season, in his No. 71 entry for P1 Motorsports and Lamborghini Palm Beach. He maintains the class championship lead with 123 points.
“Today was very hard to drive,” said Perez. “I managed to create a gap and then all my competitors seemed to have trouble keeping it inside the lines, so I decided to slow down and just keep the lead. I had a 20 second gap to P2, so it wasn’t really worth it for me to keep pushing. I am looking forward to tomorrow.”
Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America also welcomed a new, but familiar face to competition this weekend. In a collaboration with DAC Motorsports, a longstanding European Super Trofeo team hailing from England, fielded an entry in LB Cup. Toro Loco by MTech enjoyed their first U.S. race, and their first podium in North American competition with a third-place finish with Peter Aaronson behind the wheel of the No. 81 car.
Sunday’s Round 10 race, another 50-minute sprint, will start at 11:25 a.m. PT and will be live streamed on squadracorsa.lamborghini.com.
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.
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):
“The whole race was dramatic. At the start, I had a good run into two, but unfortunately on the exit of four I dropped a wheel and we dropped back two positions. From that moment, I just knew we had to push. You have to conserve the rears [tires] a little with the heavy fuel load.
This track has no grip at all. But I had no options but to push and the car was amazing. It allowed me to make moves early in the race and close the gap right before the pit window. The pit stop was awesome and we came out of the pits in fourth. And we were able to get past third and second quickly, because the car had amazing pace.
And from there it was just pushing to [Riccardo] Agostini. He had a pretty big gap, but we were faster. I didn’t know what to think about the yellow because it came so late in the race, but I knew if it went green we had to get it done right away because Agostini is a great driver.
This track is very hard to pass on, especially when the tire is at the end of its life. We had a great restart, but then he had a little bobble on the brakes and we were able to take advantage of it. I can’t thank everyone at DXDT enough and my sponsors and everyone who is associated with the program.
My thanks to Jonatan Jorge who is amazing as a driver coach, and my family who is out here supporting me.”
YUKI HARATA (No. 55 Dream Racing Motorsport, winner, first Am):
“I think my start was really good. I tried to follow the Pros, the leaders, and I think I found a good pace after the safety car pulled away. I didn’t know about being on the overall podium and it was just an amazing race.”
JC PEREZ (No. 71 P1 Motorsports, winner, first LB Cup):
“Today was very hard to drive. I managed to create a gap and then all my competitors seemed to have trouble keeping it inside the lines, so I decided to slow down and just keep the lead. I had a 20 second gap to P2, so it wasn’t really worth it for me to keep pushing. My team did a great job and gave me a great car. I am looking forward tomorrow!”