Monterey, Calif. - The marine fog layer over WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca lifted just in time Sunday morning to reveal a thrilling final domestic round in Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America.
The 10th race of the season contained all the elements that make the single-make series utilizing identical Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo EVOs a fan favorite: wheel-to-wheel racing, dazzling passes, critical pit stops, drivers charging toward the front; even a drag race to the finish line to decide a podium position.
Conor Daly, who finished off the race win Saturday in the No. 46 Precision Performance Motorsports, Lamborghini Palm Beach, started from pole on Sunday and quickly built a two-second lead while the action was furious behind him. Jake Eidson (No. 9 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini Vancouver), Corey Lewis (No. 29 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte), Cedric Sbirrazzuoli (No. 27 Dream Racing Motorsport, Lamborghini Dallas) and Andrea Amici (No. 1 Prestige Performance/Wayne Taylor Racing, Lamborghini Paramus) ran nose-to-tail in second through fifth place through most of the opening stint.
It wasn’t until Lap 10 when Lewis made an inside pass of Eidson in Turn 2 for second place. Later on the same lap, Amici snuck past Sbirrazzuoli for fourth. A lap later, contact between LB Cup points leader Mel Johnson (No. 08 GMG Racing, Lamborghini Newport Beach) and Justin Price (No. 22 Dream Racing Motorsport, Lamborghini Atlanta) ended the latter’s race with right-rear wheel damage.
On Lap 13, as the mandatory pit window for the 50-minute race was about to open, Randy Sellari (No. 3 Dream Racing Motorsport, Lamborghini North LA) spun at the top of the famous Corkscrew turn while leading in LB Cup.
When the pit window opened, Daly, Lewis and Sbirrazzuoli were among the first takers. Brandon Gdovic replaced Daly in the No. 46 while Richy Antinucci jumped into the No. 29 for Lewis. As the two raced for the same real estate at pit exit, they made light contact, with the No. 29 getting the temporary advantage. However, Antinucci was soon ordered to cede the position to Gdovic for an improper pit exit.
Adding insult to injury, the No. 29 was then assessed a drive-through penalty for not meeting the 84-second minimum pit stop time (from pit-lane entry to exit) by more than one second. The No. 46 was also penalized for not meeting the pit time requirement, but since its pit stop was less than a second off the minimum, it was assessed a post-race time penalty of 0.234 seconds (double the actual time by which it missed the minimum).
When the dust settled from the pit stop cycle and the penalties, Gdovic held a lead of nearly two seconds over Sandy Mitchell in the No. 1, with Paolo Ruberti third in the No. 27. Mitchell wasn’t done, however, and quickly closed to the rear bumper of Gdovic. Mitchell made a couple unsuccessful late attempts to pass for the lead, but knowing his car would be assessed a five-second post-race penalty for an improper race start, opted to hold steady in second place at the checkered flag.
The win for the No. 46 completed a weekend sweep for Daly and Gdovic and was their third this season to go with the season opener at Barber Motorsports Park. It was also the third straight victory for Gdovic, who teamed with Shinya Michimi to win the second race of the VIRginia International Raceway weekend last month.
Meanwhile, Antinucci charged back from the drive-through penalty to make a late pass on Ruberti and claim third place overall and in the Pro class. Antinucci and Lewis lead Gdovic by six points (124-118) in the Pro standings.
For the second straight day, James Sofronas (No. 14 GMG Racing, Lamborghini Newport Beach) and Steven Aghakhani (No. 6 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini Beverly Hills) put on a dazzling duel for the Am class win in the closing lap. And for the second straight day, Sofronas held strong for the win, Aghakhani finished second and Cameron Cassels (No. 33 Prestige Performance/Wayne Taylor Racing, Lamborghini Paramus) was third. McKay Snow (No. 63 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte) finished fourth and leads Aghakhani by 13 points and Cassels by 15 in the Am standings.
Eidson started second and turned the No. 09 over to Damon Ockey, who comfortably drove to the win for the ProAm weekend sweep. In the process, the duo clinched the season championship. Ron Atapattu and Patrick Liddy drove the No. 24 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini La Jolla to second place on Sunday. Dani Clos secured the last spot on the ProAm podium when he rolled the No. 69 Prestige Performance/Wayne Taylor Racing, Lamborghini Paramus out of the last turn and past teammate Dean Baker in the No. 53 on the final straight to the checkered flag.
Despite the early contact with the No. 22, Johnson and co-driver Thomas Lovelady finished off the LB Cup victory in the No. 08. Sellari recovered from his Corkscrew spin to finish second in the No. 3, with Matt Dicken (No. 36 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte) taking third. Johnson holds a 14-point lead (115-101) over Ashton Harrison and Stephanie Cemo, who finished fifth Sunday in the No. 43 Prestige Performance/Wayne Taylor Racing, Lamborghini Paramus.
The climactic round of Lamborghini Super Trofeo takes place Oct. 24-25 at Jerez de la Frontera in Spain, where competitors from North America, Europe and Asia will compete. Live streaming of that event will be available on squadracorse.lamborghini.com/live-streaming.
WHAT THEY SAID
"I didn’t have to work as hard yesterday! It was a great battle today and I had to make sure I stayed on our strategy. I knew the (No.) 29 was supposed to give me the lead and he was supposed to let me by. I then let him go back by and I knew he had that drive-through he had to serve. I made sure to pace myself to keep the tires on the car, but it was good to be first over the line."
"Yesterday we found out what it was like on the older tires, and Brandon did exactly what he needed to do today. Others made mistakes today and we didn’t. These races, it’s important to stay mistake-free and that what’s we did today. We got two wins this weekend and that’s a great way to finish off the North American portion of the season. It’s been fun to be here this weekend, the car and the track was awesome."
"It’s great to win the championship but we still have two more races to go, and we want to go to Spain and continue to race hard and make overall podiums. Jake drove a great first stint and was in first place for most of the first part of the race. We had a five-second penalty and we were able to stay ahead of that and we got another win."
"Good race today for us and it is great to clinch the class championship. We had another clean race and that is what we are always looking to do. I gave Damon no tires today, as I thought I would try to make it as hard as possible for him! We are looking forward to the World Finals and see what we can do there."
"That was fun. The best part was a double podium for GMG today with my friends Mel (Johnson) and Thomas (Lovelady). Great job by our team and we set the car up for a long run. It was cooler today so we didn’t need as much ‘TC.’ Then, Steven (Aghakani) gave me a heck of a run there at the end. This was a well-earned win for the guys who put this car together on what basically was a last-minute call."
"It’s been a tough weekend for us but we had a bit of pace today and brought it into the pits P1 today. That was some redemption from yesterday and Tom did the rest of the work. I had some contact with the No. 22 and we came together in Turn 1, but I was able to get it going pretty quickly after that."
"It was a solid day. Mel did a great job in his stint and we had good pace. We tried to have a clean run. That is what we did for the most part and that turned into a win today."