Change Racing heads into this weekend’s Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America season finale and World Final looking to continue its streak of success in the world’s fastest single-make series.
As the winningest team in Super Trofeo history, the Robby Benton-led squad has entered a pair of Lamborghini Huracán LP 620-2 Super Trofeo cars for Richard Antinucci (Pro) and Luis Rodriguez Jr. (Am) in its quest for a third consecutive World Final win.
Sportscar365 caught up with Benton following Friday’s Round 11, which saw a dominant race-winning run by Antinucci and class win for Rodriguez.
You’ve scored class wins in the World Final in 2014 and 2015. What’s it going to take to continue that streak this weekend?
“Any time you can come and race against everyone that runs these cars globally is the proverbial best of the best.
“We’ve enjoyed massive success in the U.S., and fortunately for the past two years we’ve been able to follow that up with an exclamation point at the World Final. That’s our goal here.
“Every year it gets harder. The drivers get better, the teams get smarter and deeper. We know it’s going to be a challenge to try and repeat it again this year.
“Last year at Sebring we had home-field advantage. A lot of the guys that came over hadn’t even seen Sebring on a map, much less the race track. It was one thing to do it there. We were able to take two class wins.
“Here we’re fighting for the Am class with Luis Rodriguez and the Pro and overall with Richie. The Pro class is going to be tough. It’s going to be a steep battle. There’s some really, really good European drivers and teams.
“It’s going to require us to continually make the car better through the next U.S. round and subsequent World Final qualifying and races. We have to keep getting better and stay ahead of the curve.
“If we can stand on the top step victorious, this one will mean the most just because it’s a bit more competitive. We’re the visitors on the home field.”
What are the logistics behind taking the team overseas to Valencia?
“Logistically, it couldn’t have been any simpler. Squadra Corse puts together a good, concerted effort.
“All of the U.S. teams had their cars collected at a central location and everything was shipped and delivered straight to the track. All the customs and everything was handled.
“For us, we packed our cars away, shipped them over about two months ago, and we showed up at the race track and they’re here.
“It’s very, very easy from that standpoint. I really have to applaud Lamborghini Squadra Corse for the effort they put it in to making it easy for us.”
How did the deal with Richard come about?
“We’ve known Richie for a long time. He’s always had another team. We had a car that was available here.
“The qualification process to run here requires you to run a previous race in the U.S., so there’s a small selection of drivers to choose from.
“Obviously the decision for us came down to between Richie and Corey [Lewis], both drivers we know that could come here and be competitive. Corey had commitments in the Asian Le Mans Series, so for us, the logical choice was to finally be able to work with Richie.
“We joked back and forth for a couple of years that we would one way be able to work together. We were able to put a stone in place at Road Atlanta in the GTD car and then parlay into what we’re doing here.”
Could it lead to something more, either in GTD or Super Trofeo next year?
“You never know. Richie is in the Lamborghini factory driver pool and is one of the supported young drivers coming up. It makes sense for us if we can find a way to make it work.
“There’s a lot of synergy between what we’re doing and what the factory is trying to promote. But there’s no plans set beyond the World Final. Our eyes are on the prize right now.”
Can you learn a lot in the North America races to prepare for the World Final?
“We look at the U.S. races as practice for the World Final. Yes, obviously we want to come here and do well and want to win.
“But in reality, Richie is not racing for a championship, Luis, it would take an extenuating set of circumstances to close the gap now.
“Realistically speaking, we want to run as well as we can in the U.S. races while in the back of our mind, we’re using them as a test bed for the races on Saturday and Sunday.”