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AGHAKHANI: Pumped Up for Super Trofeo Season

Steven Aghakhani files his latest Sportscar365 column ahead of Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America season…

Photo: Supplied

The last few months have obviously been up and down. I’ve been really trying to make sure the season is in order and making sure the races are completely good to go.

The schedule has seen changes here and there, but it’s not affected my level of preparation, as I wrote in my previous column for Sportscar365.

I’m usually at the gym or training on the sim. Just doing more and more practice, really as much as I can. It’s been about keeping my body healthy and my mind clean and clear

I had my first race of the year last month at Mugello in the Italian GT Endurance Championship, driving a Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo with Vincenzo Sospiri Racing.

It was a hell of an experience getting to race a Lamborghini GT3 Evo on one of the most famous tracks in Italy against a field of all top professional drivers at their home track.

Mugello was only my second race in Europe after being in Jerez, Spain for the Lamborghini World Final last year, which we won.

Photo: Supplied

The weekend in Italy went pretty well. I was able to start the race at P7 after an unlucky qualifying session and bring the car to P5 by end of my stint.

We had some small issues in the first few practices and qualifying. We weren’t as fast as we would have liked to. In testing we were 1.5 seconds faster than compared to what we were doing on the race weekend. We were chasing the car a lot with the team engineers, but the race went as well as it could have, and we collected some points.

I started the race per Giorgio Sanna’s request and kept it clean for the rest of my stint. Our second driver, Raffaele Giammaria, got in and had to deal with a tire de-beading, but he was able to keep as much pace as he could.

Our third driver, Leonardo Pulcini, brought the car back from seventh to sixth but we had a little contact with another car. Both cars spun out, but we were able to get back the position and finish sixth.

I’m super pumped to go back and do more races with the VSR team in the Italian championship this month at Imola.

I have to admit, my first experience was somewhat challenging as there was a little bit of a language barrier. But that fixed itself once we all got on track, as everyone pretty much speaks the same language of racing there!

Photo: Supplied

It’s going to make for an interesting year jumping back and forth between America and Italy. We’re lucky to have special permits to let us race in Europe, and I have to thank VSR and Lamborghini for making that happen.

We have three more races in Italy, in addition to the full Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America season ahead with US RaceTronics.

But that experience in Mugello, combined with my training during the extended break has definitely helped me prepare for the start of the Super Trofeo season this weekend at Road America.

Having more race experience is always better. It’s pretty simple logic in that sense.

But the biggest thing I learned was that for 45 minutes straight I was just following behind a Ferrari. We were running really good pace, but I was able to understand and analyze his weaknesses and I made my pass as soon as the moment was available.

Photo: US RaceTronics

We had a bit of a challenging test at Road America recently but there were still positives to take away from it, like re-learning the track and all of the new rubber and markers that have been laid down.

The biggest thing is getting re-acclimated to the track and having that test day will let us do that much quicker than most other drivers.

It was also a good opportunity to drive again with Jacob Eidson, my new co-driver for this year. We had earlier tests in the year at Buttonwillow, but it was good to build on those previous experiences.

Jacob and I both had birthdays during the recent break, but our average age is still just 21. I’m pretty sure that makes us the youngest driver pairing in Super Trofeo.

At 17, I am told I am the youngest double-duty driver in the world too, but that doesn’t intimidate me in the least. It’s actually a great motivator to go out there and take on the pros with more experience. It helps me learn the game too.

Photo: Daniel Schenkelberg Photography

Jacob is a real down-to-earth guy. He understands the car and understands how to help the other driver and can look over data really easily. He’s super awesome to talk to and frankly, he’s a real badass driver. The best thing is that we can rely on each other.

We most definitely have a lot of confidence going into the season.

Road America is a track that has to be on everyone’s list at one point. The high-speed nature of the track with obnoxiously large curbing and concrete patches makes it very unique.

The scariest feeling is going through The Kink because that corner makes you feel like you’re going to go off every time you go through it. It’s such an intense feeling!

We have some simple, straight forward goals for this weekend.

It’s about keeping the car clean, make sure we don’t destroy the car and aim for a podium finish and just have fun. That’s the biggest thing.

Our goal is the championship, so we need to start the season off strong. I just can’t wait to get going!

Photo: US RaceTronics

Steven Aghakhani is a 17-year-old championship-winning driver, competing in the 2020 Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America Pro class with US RaceTronics and Vincenzo Sospiri Racing in the Italian GT Championship.

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