Nelson Piquet Jr. Claims the Pro Class Crown; Bryan Ortiz and Sebastian Carazo Take ProAm Championship on Tiebreaker
By Mark Robinson
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America drivers collected three class race wins and two championships Sunday in the final day of Grand Finals competition pitting North American and European competitors against each other at Portimao, Portugal.
Nelson Piquet won the Pro/ProAm race at Algarve International Circuit to secure the Pro class championship. Bryson Lew and John Dubets won the ProAm race but lost out on the class championship in a tiebreaker to Precision Performance Motorsports (PPM) teammates Bryan Ortiz and Sebastian Carazo.
A third PPM duo, Nikko Reger and David Staab, were the overall and Am class winners in the Am/LB Cup Grand Finals race that preceded the Pro/ProAm race.
Piquet Jr., the former Formula One and Formula E driver, started from the pole position Sunday and dominated the 50-minute race in the No. 130 Ansa Motorsports, Lamborghini Broward Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo2. He held off a closing Danny Formal, who finished 1.226 seconds behind in the No. 101 Prestige Performance with Wayne Taylor Racing, Lamborghini Paramus Huracán. Formal and co-driver Kyle Marcelli are the 2022 North American series Pro champions.
Coupled with a second-place finish in Saturday’s race, Piquet clinched the 2022 Grand Finals Pro title.
“A bit unexpected, to be honest,” Piquet said. “We didn’t have the easiest season in America. When Alain (Nadal, team principal) gave me the call to come over here to Portugal, I said, ‘Look, if we’re going to do it, let’s do it the right way. Let’s test, bring some good engineers, get some tires and do it properly.’ Yeah, we did everything we had to do. We tested, we developed, we got better and better.
“We’re here, we won it,” Piquet added. “Thank you to Alain and the whole Ansa Motorsports team for giving me the opportunity. It’s amazing to be racing in incredible cars like these in an amazing championship and at amazing tracks. For sure, it’s a day that I won’t forget soon.”
Precision Performance Motorsports Duos Win ProAm Race, Championship
Lew and Dubets started fifth in ProAm in the No. 146 PPM, Lamborghini Palm Beach Huracán. But once Dubets climbed into the car for the final stint, he zoomed to the top of the class, winning by 10.502 seconds.
“I can’t say how much fun that was out there today,” Dubets said. “The car was hooked up; PPM gave us an absolute animal. Bryson put it up there in a good spot for me and, man, all I can say is it was awesome! Such a fun race.”
Lew and Dubets’ victory locked them in a tie with teammates Ortiz and Carazo for the Grand Finals ProAm championship, the latter duo winning on
the tiebreaker for fastest lap turned in Sunday’s race. The difference? A mere 0.41 seconds for the No. 147 PPM, Lamborghini Palm Beach Huracán drivers who finished seventh in Sunday’s race. It’s the second straight Grand Finals ProAm crown for Ortiz, who shared it with Brandon Gdovic last year.
“It feels amazing,” Ortiz said. “I knew we had a good car; we just messed it up in the pit stop with the belts so we lost a lot of time. But Seb came in and did exactly what we needed. He passed as many cars in the class as he could and put us in a position to be tied (for the ProAm championship), and we won it. That’s an awesome, awesome feeling.”
Reger, Staab Find Redemption in Am Class Finale
Reger and Staab rebounded from the disappointment of a postrace penalty Saturday to win overall in the Am/LB Cup race Sunday. It allowed them to finish second in the Grand Finals Am class standings.
Reger started the race in the No. 148 Precision Performance Motorsports, Lamborghini Palm Beach Huracán and turned it over to Staab in the lead at the mandatory pit stop. Staab survived numerous challenges from Andrzej Lewandowski in the No. 60 VSR Huracán throughout the final stint, holding off Lewandowski by just 0.244 seconds at the checkered flag for the win.
“It was intense!” Staab said. “I just had to go back to the fundamentals that we’ve been working on, all the data that we’ve been watching, all the videos we reviewed. Just prepared to execute every corner out there and keep it in front.”
Reger and Staab finished second provisionally in Saturday’s Am/LB Cup race, which would have been enough to give them the Grand Finals class championship coupled with Sunday’s victory. But a postrace penalty for incident responsibility at the start of Saturday’s race dropped them to fourth place and left them three points shy of Lewandowski in the final standings. Reger and Staab used it as motivation for Sunday.
“David woke up this morning and just decided to (go for it),” Reger said of his teammate. “He drove an amazing race; this is the best drive he’s had all year. We really deserve the championship but we’ll take this win and we’ll go home winners because we knew we had it in the bank.”
Roberts Leads North American LB Cup Finishers, Stewart Just Misses Title
Fred Roberts, who won both Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America LB Cup races Friday at the track, was the top class finisher among the North American contingent in Sunday’s Grand Finals. Roberts drove the No. 189 NTE Sport, Lamborghini San Francisco Huracán to a second-place finish – capping a weekend to remember.
“I’m elated for many reasons,” Roberts said. “This is my third weekend in the car, and you know what? Put your head down, turn your laps. Head down, don’t get greedy, don’t get stupid, just do your thing. And if someone gets in your way, go around them the best way you can. That’s it. But most of all, have an awesome time, and I did.”
Slade Stewart, winner of Saturday’s LB Cup Grand Finals race in the No. 114 Flying Lizard Motorsports, Lamborghini Newport Beach Huracán, finished fourth Sunday to wind up second in class points. Stewart attempted a last-lap pass for second place – which would’ve given him enough points to take the Grand Finals crown – but had contact with another car, suffered a punctured tire and was stranded on course.
The 2023 Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America season opens May 12-14 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.