With new cars, an expanded grid as well as new drivers and teams to the championship, there’s been plenty of momentum building for the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo series as it readies for its third season in North America.
The six-round IMSA-sanctioned championship, which kicks off on May 1-2 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, will see the introduction of the Huracán LP 620-2 Super Trofeo, boosting the overall field to an expended grid of more than 20 full-season entries, according to U.S. Series Coordinator Chris Ward.
“The interest and demand for the car and the series is at an all-time high,” Ward told Sportscar365. “We’re expecting 16 Huracans to arrive soon, with great new teams and great new drivers coming into the paddock.
“We’re expecting large grids and a good show for the fans. The fans have been very warm and responsive to the series in our couple of years of being in North America. We expect to be able to continue that growth and fan enjoyment going forward.”
Launched at the Monterey Car Week last August, the 620-horsepower Huracán Super Trofeo will serve as the centerpiece for the Italian manufacturer’s popular single-make championships worldwide.
More than 60 of the V10-powered, rear-wheel drive sports cars will be produced by Lamborghini at its Sant’Agata Bolognese headquarters for competition not only in North America but also Europe and Asia, with the Super Trofeo Europe series getting underway this weekend at Monza.
“It’s been a massive undertaking,” Ward said. “That alone would have been enough for most motorsports departments, let alone when you factor in the coincidental release of our brand-new Huracán GT3 car in the Blancpain Endurance Series. It’s a very small and dedicated team of motorsports professionals in Italy.”
While the Huracán ushers in a new era for the North American series, it was the Lamborghini Gallardo LP570-4 Super Trofeo that started it all nearly three years ago and will continue to be eligible in the championship.
It will result in an expanded class structure, with Pro, Pro-Am and Am categories for the Huracán, as well as the Gallardo class.
Ward said FIA-rated Gold and Silver drivers will typically be placed in the Pro class, with Bronze drivers either in Pro-Am or Am, depending on their abilities. Roughly one-third of the Huracán field will be represented by two-driver lineups this year.
“In North America, there’s a little bit of us being the new kids on the block and that’s exciting,” Ward said. “A lot of these gentlemen drivers like the new, shiny thing and we’re that, which is great.
“But there are a number of announcements to come. There are some very, very big names in the TUDOR paddock that some of our existing drivers have teamed up with. Some of them will raise eyebrows.
“It will be great for the series and give us really good visibility.”
There are also changes to the qualifying format for this year, which will see back-to-back 15-minute sessions to determine the grids for each race. Previously, the grid for the second race was determined by the finishing order of the first 50-minute race.
While having launched with a very modest car count in 2013, Ward feels the championship’s rapid growth has been due to a number of factors, including its worldwide reach, with the World Final being hosted in North America for the first time this year.
“I think the structure of the series and the fact that we’re a global series, that helps a lot,” he said. “A number of our drivers in the North American championship traveled to Sepang for the World Final last year, where we won the Pro-Am championship for North America.
“We’re very excited to invite the Europeans and Asians to North America this year to host the World Final at Sebring, where we could see a grid in excess of 60 cars, which would be tremendous.”
For series management, preparation for the start of the 2015 season continues, with a Huracán Super Trofeo delivery and shakedown event set for the week of April 20 at Spring Mountain Raceway in Pahrump, Nev.
The event will include technical training from the factory, for both drivers and teams, with the new car, as well as two days of on-track testing in advance of the season-opener one week later.
Ward said additional Huracán Super Trofeos are expected later in the year, with most having already been pre-sold due to the high level of demand for the car and series.
“We’re super excited about the 2015 season,” Ward said. “I don’t think there’s a better calendar of any single-make series in North America.
“With us opening the calendar at Laguna Seca, then going to Watkins Glen, VIR, COTA for the first time and then Road Atlanta and close out the season in Sebring… It should be a great year.”