Santino Ferrucci made his presence felt with an exciting victory in his Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America debut Thursday at Circuit of the Americas.
Ferrucci, an 18-year-old American Haas F1 development driver, made his sports car debut this week after racing previously only in open-wheel cars.
That didn’t stop him from earning a 9.172-second victory in the No. 77 Courtney Racing entry representing Lamborghini Broward over points leader Shinya Michimi in the extreme Texas heat.
“It was a beast to hold onto,” Ferrucci said. “But I enjoyed it. There’s nothing like having a fun race car when you’re running around a racetrack like this.”
Michimi’s second-place finish in the No. 1 Prestige Performance Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo LP 620-2 representing Lamborghini Paramus was his eighth overall podium finish of the season. The result helped Michimi extend his Pro Championship lead to 45 points, 126-81, with three rounds to go.
Michimi’s Prestige Performance teammates Craig Duerson and Trent Hindman rounded out the overall podium with a third-place finish in the No. 10 entry representing Lamborghini Paramus. The duo was also the top-finishing Pro-Am entry.
Derek DeBoer and Jeroen Bleekemolen finished fourth overall and second in Pro-Am in the No. 66 TRG-Lamborghini machine representing Lamborghini Los Gatos. Emmanuel Anassis rounded out the top five overall in the No. 18 DAC Motorsports entry representing Lamborghini Palm Beach.
Ferrucci started the race in second behind Richard Antinucci. He got a jump on the start, but Hindman had the advantage going into the left-hand Turn 1 at the top of the daunting hill at the end of the front straightaway.
Ferrucci fell into second, followed by Michimi in third. The three raced single file over the next 10 minutes until a full-course yellow was brought out by debris left on track from two punctured rear tires on the No. 09 US RaceTronics entry representing Lamborghini Calgary, driven by Damon Ockey.
With 38 minutes to go in the 50-minute race, the field restarted under green. Hindman retained the lead, but Michimi made an outside move going into Turn 1 to take the inside line and second position from Ferrucci through Turn 2.
The three continued to race in lockstep until the mandatory pit window opened up at the 20-minute mark. As pits cycled through, Ferrucci and Michimi were side by side.
The two made side-to-side contact and traded positions over the next five minutes. Ferrucci pulled a gap of 0.987 seconds, but Michimi reeled him in. With 21 minutes to go, Ferrucci got sideways coming out of Turn 2, but Michimi couldn’t capitalize.
Over the next 16 minutes, the two played a game of cat and mouse as they wove through lapped traffic. Ferrucci extended his lead to 2.203 seconds. Michimi closed it to 0.743 seconds. The gap grew to 3.582 seconds, and then it was diminished to no more than a car length.
“Coming from qualifying, we had a little bit of understeer,” Ferrucci said. “So I was thinking, ‘All right, we start the race with understeer, and we go to oversteer.’ But it didn’t really account for the grip that the LMP guys were putting down.
“So you started loose, and I was just trying to manage the rear tire. I turned up the traction control a little bit. When Michimi got behind me, I thought, ‘All right, it’s time to go and start pushing.'”
With six minutes to go, Michimi was following Ferrucci’s every move. Michimi pushed him wide in Turn 1, and Ferrucci cut back in sharply, not giving an inch. That ended up being Michimi’s last-ditch effort. Ferrucci retained the lead and drove to his eventual first Super Trofeo win.
Victor Gonzalez Jr. finished third in the Pro-Am class in his first Super Trofeo start since 2015. He was back with Change Racing in the No. 16 representing Lamborghini Carolinas.
His Change Racing teammate Luis Rodriguez Jr. was the top finisher in the Amateur class in the No. 29 representing Lamborghini Carolinas. It was Rodriguez’s third class win of the season.
Patrice Brisebois finished second in the Amateur class in the No. 24 DAC Motorsports entry representing Lamborghini Palm Beach. Brisebois earned his first podium finish in Round 8 at Virginia International Raceway in late August.
James Burke and David Askew rounded out the Amateur podium in the No. 98 DXDT Racing Lamborghini.
Ross Chouest stayed perfect this season, earning his ninth Lamborghini Cup victory in the No. 3 DXDT Racing entry representing Lamborghini Miami.
Jackie Heinricher finished second in the Lamborghini Cup in the No. 57 DAC Motorsports entry representing Lamborghini Palm Beach. Will James rounded out the podium, finishing third in the No. 11 eXclaim Racing/Migliore Motorsports entry representing Lamborghini Paramus.
The second and final race of the weekend will start at 8 a.m. (CT) Friday. The race will be live streamed at motortrendondemand.com and on squadracorse.lamborghini.com/live-streaming.
RESULTS: Round 9