Richard Antinucci took the lead early and never looked back in Race 1 of the opening weekend of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America season on Friday at Circuit of The Americas.
The No. 16 Change Racing driver, representing Lamborghini Carolinas, jumped up from his second-place grid position on the opening lap, seizing control of a race he would eventually win by over two seconds.
The series veteran and 2015 Super Trofeo North America Pro Driver Champion, was a comfortable leader for much of the race, despite a brief bobble which allowed Edoardo Piscopo and Taylor Proto in the No. 50 entry of US Racetronics representing Lamborghini Beverly Hills to close within a few seconds in the early stages of the race.
“It was a great start and really good first stint. I pressed the pit lane speed limiter one lap on the straight and lost two seconds,” Antinucci admitted after the race.
“Then I was cruising. I was told he was catching, but I was really cruising.”
Second-place finishers Trent Hindman and Riccardo Agostini worked their way up to the podium from a fifth-place gird position.
Agostini worked his way into third place before pitting midway through the race, allowing Hindman to take the wheel of the No. 1 Prestige Performance Laborghini Huracán Super Trofeo entry, representing Lamborghini Paramus.
Hindman, who had already been on track for another event earlier in the day, continued his teammate’s work getting past the pole-sitting No. 50 of Piscopo and Proto into second position.
Race 1’s third-place finisher probably saw the most action of all the podium finishers.
Super Trofeo-newcomer, Austin Versteeg piloted his No. 7 DXDT Racing entry representing Lamborghini Dallas to the last step of the overall podium after enduring battles through much of the event’s 50 minutes of green-flag racing.
The 17-year-old, who started third on the grid, fell as low as fifth in the opening stage of the race, but battled back with several terrific on-track passes to reach third on Lap 17.
The Pro-Am driver’s performance in his first sports car start boosted his confidence, and Versteeg is already looking forward to another strong result in Race 2 tomorrow.
“[The race] was definitely a change with pit stops and full fuel load, and managing tires, and all that stuff,” Versteeg said after the race.
“I came out with confidence and learned a lot of things that I can hopefully bring to the table tomorrow and continue to push.”
Making the most of her series debut, Ashley Freiberg piloted her No. 30 DAC Motorsports machine, representing Lamborghini Palm Beach to a third-place result in the Pro category.
The sixth-place qualifier showed great resilience in her first race behind the wheel of the Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo, gaining ground after her pit stop, to finish in the top five overall.
The Amateur class saw a repeat winner, as Patrice Brisebois followed up his inaugural Super Trofeo North America victory from 2016 with another first-place finish on Friday.
The former Stanley Cup winner drove the opening stint before handing over the No. 18 DAC Motorsports entry representing Lamborghini Palm Beach to his teammate, Emmanuel Anassis.
Anassis inherited the car running second in the class and finally took the lead on Lap 18 after a fierce battle with the US RaceTronics No. 17 of Brian Theines.
The top LB Cup entrants were also running in close proximity at race’s end. Class pole-sitter Paul Terry worked his way back to the front of the pack after pit stops and was lucky to avoid an incident when the two cars running immediately behind him spun simultaneously.
The driver of the No. 62 DXDT Racing entry, representing Lamborghini Dallas claimed victory a few laps later, earning the first LB Cup win of the 2017 Super Trofeo North America season.
Overall winner Antinucci hopes to maintain a similar level of performance for tomorrow’s race and may have an easier road to the top step of the podium with a first-place grid position.
He was quick to praise the team that gave him a car capable of taking the first win of the season on a warm day in the Texas sun.
“Thanks a lot to Change Racing. I’m so stoked to be back with them,” he said. “[This is the] perfect start, right?”
The second and final race of the weekend will start at 9:45 a.m. CDT Saturday, May 6. The race will be live streamed at motortrendondemand.com and on squadracorse.lamborghini.com/live-streaming.
RESULTS: Race 1