With four overall wins from the first eight races of the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America season, O’Gara Motorsport has emerged as quite a storyline as the depth and level of competition has increased.
The four overall wins are only a part of the story though; the team has also won six times in the Huracán Am category and overall been a force to be reckoned with across the board with all of its four cars.
The Tom O’Gara-owned team made its biggest move at the start of the season, bringing in veteran open-wheel team manager Shane Seneviratne as O’Gara Motorsport’s race team director, to oversee and run all race activities.
A further shift from five cars at the season-opening weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca down to four by Watkins Glen, as well as adding last year’s Lamborghini World Final champion Edoardo Piscopo to its driver lineup at the Glen, have all paid dividends to this point.
“We essentially started from scratch as a whole new team,” Seneviratne told Sportscar365. “We weren’t doing another series.
“We had five cars to start. The main goal with the new car was to get the right people in place, and finish things out. From Watkins Glen, we could refine it a little bit more, and now we’re at a point where we’re comfortable we have a real race team.”
The team’s four-car lineup includes the all-Pro pairing of Piscopo and Richard Antinucci in the No. 50 Lamborghini Huracán LP 620-2 (pictured above, with O’Gara), the Pro-Am lineup of O’Gara and Brian Wong in the No. 69 Huracán, and brothers Ryan and Damon Ockey in the Nos. 89 and 09 Am class Huracáns.
Matt Halliday ran under the O’Gara banner at Mazda Raceway.
Antinucci scored the win in the season-opener at Mazda Raceway and he and Piscopo have won three more times since, twice at Virginia International Raceway and once at Circuit of The Americas last weekend. Meanwhile Ryan Ockey has secured five of the team’s Huracán Am wins, and Damon Ockey added a sixth.
It’s a stint in the first race at VIR that stands out to Seneviratne as the highlight to date thus far in 2015, when all four O’Gara cars ran first through fourth overall, including O’Gara in fourth on his own.
O’Gara, who like others raced the previous generation Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 before the Huracán’s arrival, calls the new car a smoother one to drive.
Additionally, he’s been impressed with how far the championship has come in three seasons.
“It goes back to being at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in a parking lot, where Lamborghini brought seven cars and seven dealers,” O’Gara told Sportscar365. “They’d ask, ‘Do any of you guys want to drive a car?’ Sure! ‘Any experience?’ Hell no!
“Out of that group I was the only one who said, ‘Let’s do this.’ So we’ve gone as a series from a ‘camping experience’ in Canada to professional drivers, ex-F1 drivers coming in, to now there’s 26 cars and you can barely get a clean lap. The quality is exponentially better.
“This car has so much power. I’ve never driven anything other than Lamborghinis on a track, but this one just rips your face off when you get the power down.”
With O’Gara’s face fully intact in spite of that last line, he praised Seneviratne’s impact on the team as the series reached its halfway point just before COTA.
“This year, Shane joined us and brought a level of professionalism to the team with the people he brought,” O’Gara said. “I think that’s allowed us – Richie and Edoardo, and the Ockeys – to demonstrate what they’ve got.”
Seneviratne and O’Gara plan to continue with a four-car Super Trofeo effort in 2016, and have also been confirmed for a Huracán GT3 program in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next year.
What’s been interesting for Seneviratne is the customer interest, as he’s started receiving phone calls similar to when he was a team manager in Formula Atlantics.
“Recently I got a call from a father of a 15-year-old driver; I used to get those calls all the time in Atlantics,” Seneviratne said.
“Those that make those calls are very serious, because they have done their research about the series. It’s their son, they’re 15, they don’t mess around, and they want the right program for their kid.
“I wasn’t getting that call at the beginning of the season. I am now.
“The series is becoming a place where drivers can advance their careers.”