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Lamborghini Super Trofeo NA

Francis Jr. Enjoying New Challenge in Super Trofeo

Erine Francis Jr. making quick work in transition to Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America competition…

Photo: Jamey Price/Lamborghini

A veteran of racing at the ripe old age of 26, Ernie Francis Jr. has always enjoyed a new challenge. He’s relishing his newest venture into Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America, and already succeeding in the IMSA-sanctioned one-make series.

In his series debut at Sebring International Raceway in March, Francis and co-driver Giano Taurino finished second in their first race before copping the overall and Pro class win in the weekend finale while driving the No. 88 TR3 Racing Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo EVO2 in the pair of 50-minute sprint races.

They take a one-point class lead into this week’s doubleheader round at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

Francis has been racing cars since he hopped into a Spec Miata at age 14. He’s won numerous Trans-Am races and titles, drove in a NASCAR Xfinity Series race in 2017 and competed the past two years in Indy NXT.

He gained nationwide notoriety driving in Tony Stewart’s made-for-TV SRX Racing Series for three years, collecting one win against a field of much higher-profile racers from NASCAR, IndyCar and other series.

Now Francis has landed in Super Trofeo this year. And if the opening weekend is any indication, the Floridian is going to love it.

“This is like a little bit of a Trans-Am car with traction control and some downforce,” he said following the Sebring victory when he drove the closing stint. “The power is really high, tire fall-off is really big, so it’s all about trying to conserve. I was really struggling towards the end of that stint there. That was my first time on that old of tires in a race run, so I was just learning lap by lap trying to figure it out.

“I think we’re only going to get stronger from here. This was my first weekend in the car, so I think if this is how it goes first weekend, then I can’t wait to see the rest of the season.”

The Pro competition should be tight all season. Francis and Taurino are a single point ahead of Nico Jamin and Kiko Porto, who won the first Sebring race in the No. 4 ANSA Motorsports Lamborghini and placed third in the nightcap.

Danny Formal, the two-time defending Pro champion, is paired this year with Ryan Norman in the No. 1 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti entry and they sit eight points out of the lead.

Forty-one cars are on the WeatherTech Raceway pre-event entry list, which would set a Super Trofeo North America record if all compete.

Other teams to watch include:

***Jeroen Bleekemolen and Tim Pappas (No. 54 Flying Lizard Motorsports), who lead in Pro-Am after grabbing a first and third in class at Sebring.

***Ken Dobson (No. 27 Forte Racing), who moves to Pro-Am and will team with Alan Fudge after winning both Am races at Sebring.

***Graham Doyle and Ashton Harrison (No. 10 WTRAndretti), both past race winners who’ll team for the first time in Super Trofeo.

***Jaden Conwright, a past IMSA Diverse Driver Development Scholarship recipient who returns for a second shot at Super Trofeo this weekend, where he’ll team with Cam Aliabadi in the No. 15 World Speed Lamborghini.

Following a pair of Friday practices, Super Trofeo qualifying starts at 2:05 p.m. ET on Saturday. Race 1 starts at 8:40 p.m. Saturday, with Race 2 at 12:40 p.m. Sunday. Both races stream live on Peacock and

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