Championship visits iconic Watkins Glen
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 26, 2019) – The thrill and excitement that surrounds the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America championships returns for Rounds 3 and 4 this weekend at Watkins Glen International.
The first two rounds took place almost three months ago as the season got underway at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. The racing didn't disappoint as a collection of veteran championship drivers and a crop of talented newcomers treated the fans to a pair of mistake-free 50-minute races.
The 11-turn, 3.40-mile circuit located in the Finger Lakes region of Western New York will test the skills of the field which will once again feature 18 Huracán Super Trofeo EVOs roaring to the green flag on Friday and Saturday.
There are several new faces in the paddock this weekend. Of the 27 drivers that competed in the first two rounds of the 2019 season, only six participated in the two races here last year.
Even though the calendar shows it is mid-year in 2019, there is a small sample size to digest in this year's championship with only two rounds being contested to date.
There was a good deal of déjà vu in the first two rounds as the same driver or teams won both rounds to start the year. The only one of the four classes where that didn't happen was in the PRO class.
Two teams split the podium in PRO with the No. 46 driven by Conor Daly and Brandon Gdovic from Precision Performance Motorsports (PPM), Lamborghini Palm Beach taking Round 1 while Corey Lewis and Richy Antinucci in the No. 29 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte won Round 2.
Both teams were at The Glen last year, with the No. 29 finishing fourth and fifth in the two races. Gdovic finished fourth in Race 1 before a mechanical issue forced him to the bottom of the final results in Round 2.
In the PRO-AM class, Damon Ockey and Jake Eidson in the No. 09 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini Vancouver won both Rounds 1 and 2. Ockey competed in the AM class in 2018 and finished second overall.
Series newcomer McKay Snow won both of the AM Class races in April to open up a 10-point lead in the early going. The driver of the No. 63 from Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte will be looking to keep his streak going.
Mel Johnson, another series newcomer, won both of the LB Cup races while driving the No. 08 GMG Racing, Lamborghini Newport Beach entry. Within this class, be sure to watch the No. 43 team of Stephanie Cemo and Ashton Harrison from Prestige Performance/Wayne Taylor Racing, Lamborghini Paramus. The all-female team made their debut at Barber and earned an extra point for grabbing the class pole and spent time at the front of the class during the weekend.
Their two class victories give Change Racing and Lamborghini Charlotte the lead for the Team and Dealership championships. PPM is second in the Team chase while Lamborghini Palm Beach holds that spot in the Dealership title hunt.
YOUNGEST RACER IN SUPER TROFEO HISTORY MAKES SERIES DEBUT
Steven Aghakhani will make history when he gets into the No. 6 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini Beverly Hills entry at Watkins Glen, as he will become the youngest racer in series history.
The 16-year-old California native has been associated with US RaceTronics for the last four years as he is a member of their development program.
He will be driving one of four team entries and will be participating in the AM class against three other entries. Among his competitors will be former CART champion Paul Tracy, last year's AM class world champion Ryan Hardwick and others with a great deal more experience than he has.
"I always put other drivers ahead of me because I started from such a younger age and going into this series, I obviously don't have racing experience as any of these other drivers do," Steven said. "However, I always look at other drivers to be quicker than me and learn from them. I never put anyone under me or behind me or anything like that. I always put people above them just because of how much more experience they have."
This will not be his first time at Watkins Glen as he had the opportunity to run a few days there not that long ago.
"I think it's a great circuit," he said. "I mean, the banking and the elevation changes are probably the biggest factors at that course. The greatest thing about the course is that I enjoy how smooth the surface is compared to other tracks in the series. Other tracks will have a high amount of grit but pair up the pavement with the banking and all the elevation and straight line breaking, and it just comes out to a fast-flowing track. I do enjoy fast flowing high-speed tracks over slow speed tracks."
Steven credits his father Akrim with continuing to motivate him to be the best he can be as he begins his career.
"We were able to go out there and lay down some laps," Akrim said of the test days at Watkins Glen. "On both track days, we had rain and it was hard for him to get dry weather to be able to understand the track limits. However, he was able to go out there and still lay down some fast laps in the rain. Based on my observation and his driving in the rain, he may have been a second away from a pole position. I definitely think he can be competitive in his class."
So what does Steven hope this, and future, experiences will get him?
"I want to eventually get into prototypes and doing the long endurance races, like Daytona and Le Mans and all of those really huge name races that are out there," he said. "That is my top goal, and I think I'm going to shoot for that down the line."
His father thinks along the same lines when asked the same question.
"He has been in races where the prototypes were passing him left and right," he added. "And he wasn't a fan of because he always wants to be the fastest guy. So I think the way I see it, it will be a prototype hopefully and who knows, maybe one day a Lamborghini prototype."
PAUL TRACY RETURNS TO IMSA IN SUPER TROFEO
Veteran racer and current NBC Sports broadcaster Paul Tracy will be on the Lamborghini Super Trofeo grid at Watkins Glen.
The 2003 CART champion will be co-driving the No. 69 Prestige Performance/Wayne Taylor Racing, Lamborghini Paramus entry in the Pro-Am class in which the team enters the weekend in third place.
"I'm super excited to get back behind the wheel of a race car again at Watkins Glen with Hubbell Racing," Tracy said. "I have raced at The Glen in an IndyCar and a Prototype, and I am looking forward to see how the Lamborghini feels at this iconic track."
Tracy is no stranger to IMSA as he raced 12 times from 2005-13 earning two podium finishes. He has also run in the Rolex 24 At Daytona three times (2007, '07 and '12) with a best finish of seventh in his last appearance.
Round 3 begins at 4:25 p.m. Friday with Round 4 starting at 10:25 a.m. Both of these races, as well as the balance of the 2019 Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America series, can be streamed live on IMSA.TV and squadracorse.lamborghini.com/live-streaming. For those who would like to watch the races, they will be broadcast NBCSN on Wednesday, July 10 at 6 p.m. EDT.