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Misano Thursday Notebook

Sportscar365’s news and notes ahead of the returning Lamborghini World Final…

Photo: Jamey Price

***The Lamborghini World Final returns this weekend after a one-year absence. Misano is staging the event for the first time after being originally confirmed as the venue for the 2020 edition, which was ultimately canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

***Misano is the seventh different circuit to host the World Final after Vallelunga, Sepang, Sebring, Valencia, Imola and Jerez.

**The World Final event consists of the title deciders for the Super Trofeo Europe and Super Trofeo North America seasons. The regional championships will then combine for the World Final which is split between pairs of races for Pro/Pro-Am and Am/LB Cup.

***Two cars that were initially signed up for Super Trofeo Europe are not at Misano. These are the LB Cup-class effort from Scuderia Tornacum with Belgian drivers Benoit and Francois Semoulin, and the No. 63 Autovitesse car driven by Fanatec GT2 European Series competitor Cedric Leimer.

***Additionally, three cars that were set for the Super Trofeo North America season finale have been withdrawn. Change Racing’s LB Cup drivers Matt Dicken and Scott Welham are not on the latest entry list after appearing on a provisional version.

***The other absence from the North American grid is the LB Cup entry for Justin Price, who had entered three rounds this year with Dream Racing. The LB Cup grid now stands at four cars after initially being the largest class with seven competitors.

***A total of 19 cars are on the North America grid, along with 33 from Super Trofeo Europe.

***The No. 630 car racing under the ‘factory’ Automobili Lamborghini banner is being driven by 2012 GP2 champion Davide Valsecchi and Italian TV presenter Guido Meda. The pair co-host the Italian version of Top Gear, while Valsecchi is also known to British audiences for his Formula 1 and 2 punditry.

***Valsecchi last raced a Lamborghini in 2016 when he contested a part-season in the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup, making appearances for Attempto Racing and Grasser Racing Team.

***The team principal of Attempto Racing, which now runs Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evos, is driving this weekend. Arkin Aka has joined Holger Harmsen in the No. 90 GT3 Poland machine. His last registered races came in the 2019 Porsche Carrera Cup Germany series.

***MotoGP star Pecco Bagnaia was initially in line to drive the No. 630 ‘VIP car’ this weekend before a potential deal fell through. Former VIP car driver Emanuele Pirro, who works for Lamborghini as a brand ambassador and consultant, is on-site at Misano along with several current factory drivers who are supporting the running of the event.

***Most teams are spending almost a full week at Misano, after track action kicked off on Tuesday with five collective test sessions. One of the notable incidents was an off for North America front-runner Steven Aghakhani at Turn 13. His US RaceTronics car missed the other tests as the team replaced the rear wing and diffuser.

***Europe and North America each held a pair of 60-minute practice sessions on Thursday. Loris Spinelli set the pace in both Super Trofeo Europe outings. The Italian went half a second clear in the first session before beating Danny Kroes by a smaller 0.138s margin in session two.

***Over in the North American field, Pro championship leader Richard Antinucci paced a briefly red flag-interrupted FP1 with a 1:33.306 effort. Antinucci also set the tone in FP2, leading Aghakhani’s co-driver Jacob Eidson by a clear six-tenths.

***Patrick Liddy and Mel Johnson sat out Free Practice 2 because of a battery issue that forced US RaceTronics to change the alternator on is No. 108 US Lamborghini.

***Super Trofeo Europe co-drivers Spinelli and Max Weering are uniquely also driving in the North America races, albeit for different teams. Spinelli will race in Pro-Am with Claudinei Senhoreti, as he has done throughout the season. Weering is running solo for MCR Racing. It is currently unclear how the two drivers will approach the World Final.

***North America title contender Stevan McAleer had to visit the medical center on Thursday due to an allergic reaction. The hotel he was staying in previously had cats in it and McAleer is, unfortunately, highly allergic to felines. The Change Racing driver was reportedly feeling well despite the adverse reaction and took part in qualifying on Thursday.

***Wayne Taylor Racing’s Danny Fomal says that he and Kyle Marcelli are “going to give it our all” in their quest for the North America championship, despite being the outside bets on a 26-point deficit to leader Richard Antinucci. “Kyle and I are ready, we’ve been working together better than I ever expected,” Formal said. “He’s become like a brother to me. I’m just super excited for the final event and ready to give it 100 percent.”

***Misano marks the final race event for the Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo EVO, which was introduced in 2018. The Super Trofeo series will move to the updated EVO2 version next year.

***Lamborghini is holding a presentation at Misano on Saturday evening, involving a prize-giving ceremony for the Super Trofeo champions and a celebration of the year’s activities.

***The final Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America races of the season take place at 9:25 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. CEST (3:25 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. EST). The Super Trofeo Europe races are due to start at 12:05 p.m. and 4:50 p.m. CEST. All aces will be live-streamed on the official Lamborghini Squadra Corse YouTube channel.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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