Newly crowned 2016 Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America series champion Shinya Michimi has his eyes set on additional hardware this weekend in Valencia, with the 23-year-old targeting the world title in the fourth edition of the Lamborghini World Final.
The Prestige Performance driver, who has scored six wins in ten races on U.S. soil, heads to Spain as one of North America’s best hopes of taking the overall title, which will see stiff competition from front-runners in the Europe and Asia Super Trofeo championships.
Sportscar365 caught up with Michimi to get his thoughts on the battle ahead.
You’re going for a world title this weekend. Does having the Super Trofeo championship already locked up change your focus?
“In general, we’re probably just going to be looking to use the U.S. races to test for the World Final. We need to know what tire life is going to be like, how much fuel we need, etc.
“So we’re going to use a lot of that try some different things setup-wise as well. It’s never easy.”
What have you been doing to prepare for this event?
“It’s been a little tough. Most of the places I’ve been able to use some sort of simulator to test on before.
“This track is quite hard to find on any simulator. So I’ve been watching a lot of on-boards. I’ve been able to find old replays when GP2 used to race here, so I’ve been learning a lot from that.”
Having done a season of Super Trofeo Europe in 2015, and now returning to the World Final in your first year in North America competition, does it give you a better gauge of your competition?
“At the end of the day, Europe and North America, the top of the class is the top of the class, so hopefully we should be right there.
“It will be interesting because I’ve made some improvements this year. I think the team has been really good this year. Hopefully we can get a slightly better result than last year.
“The biggest challenge is that the pressure becomes higher. It’s my second year in the car and I obviously know a lot of the guys around here and the European series. There’s a lot more pressure to do better.”
Do you take a different approach in the World Final, given the points structure and two-race format?
“It’s tricky. If you’re in a situation where it’s you and another guy first and second, then you have to go for it at that point.
“But the points difference between first and second isn’t huge, so if you win both, you’ll obviously win the world title. You have to finish both races.
“It’s a balance. You need to be finishing up front but you also need to be finishing the race.”