Shinya Michimi earned his fifth victory in seven races this season by taking the checkered flag Saturday in Round 7 of the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America at Virginia International Raceway.
Michimi took the 9.091-second victory in the No. 1 Prestige Performance entry representing Lamborghini Paramus over Josh Norman in a race that had its tone set by extreme temperatures and a lengthy yellow flag six minutes after the start.
“I can’t really compare the car with the conditions because it’s (my) first time here at the track,” Michimi said. “The track is really nice, really smooth. It makes the lines interesting because you can run three different lines in different sections and end up with the same lap times.”
Michimi started the race in second position after the first start was waved off, behind Richard Antinucci in the No. 17 US RaceTronics entry representing Lamborghini Beverly Hills.
On the start, the running order stayed true, with Antinucci leading followed by Michimi and Trent Hindman in the No. 10 Prestige Performance entry representing Lamborghini Paramus.
That trio and Damon Ockey, who had a great start by picking up two spots, looked to be pulling a gap on the field before an incident at the six-minute mark brought out a full course yellow.
The No. 26 car driven by series rookie Steve Johnson dropped a wheel coming out of Turn 17 and veered across the track, making a hard impact with the wall on the driver’s right.
There was extensive cleanup for the next 10 minutes, cutting into the first stint time of teams with co-drivers.
Four minutes after the field went back to green, the mandatory pit window opened, and teams began making their stops. The shortened green flag racing period in the first half of the race altered pit strategies slightly for some teams.
Antinucci, the Pro driver in the No. 17 US RaceTronics Pro-Am entry, stayed out as long as possible to turn quick laps and give his teammate Yufeng Luo a gap.
After the pit stops cycled through over the next 10 minutes, Luo retained the lead for the No. 17, with Michimi closing quickly. With 20 minutes remaining, Michimi took the lead from Luo in Turn 1.
Michimi then turned on the afterburners and extended his lead, lap after lap, to as much as 18 seconds.
No one could catch him, but the rest of the field got their chance with seven minutes remaining when a caution was triggered by Jackie Heinricher going off course in Turn 5 in the No. 57 DAC Motorsports entry representing Lamborghini Palm Beach.
The field bunched, but Michimi was no match on the restart, pulling away immediately and growing his gap to 9.091 seconds over the next five minutes to take his fifth victory of the season.
Josh Norman, in only his second solo race in the series, made a late push to overtake Luo to finish second overall in the No. 71 Change Racing entry representing Lamborghini Carolinas.
It was Norman’s best finish in the series in his two seasons. He was also the top Amateur finisher.
Luo held on to finish third overall and first in Pro-Am with teammate Antinucci.
Brandon Gdovic followed up an overall second-place finish at Road America with a fourth-place overall finish, also ending up second in the Pro-Am division in the No. 46 DAC Motorsports entry representing Lamborghini Palm Beach.
Hindman and Duerson rounded out the Pro-Am podium with a third-place finish and finished fifth overall in the No. 10 Prestige Performance entry representing Lamborghini Paramus.
Ockey fell back after the pit stop to finish sixth overall and second in the Amateur division in the No. 09 US RaceTronics entry representing Lamborghini Calgary.
Joel Janco and Jonatan Jorge earned their first podium finish of the season with a third-place Amateur finish in the No. 66 TRG-Lamborghini entry representing Lamborghini Lamborghini Los Gatos.
Ross Chouest extended his streak to seven class wins in a row in the Lamborghini Cup division. Chouest has taken pole and won every race this season in the No. 3 DXDT Racing entry representing Lamborghini Miami.
Shawn Lawless finished second in Lamborghini Cup in the No. 27 Dream Racing Motorsport entry representing Lamborghini Las Vegas. Will James rounded out the Lamborghini Cup podium with a third-place finish in the No. 11 eXclaim Racing/Migliore Motorsports.
The second and final race of the weekend will start at 9:50 a.m. (ET) Sunday. The race will be live streamed at motortrendondemand.com and on squadracorse.lamborghini.com/ive-streaming.
RESULTS: Round 7