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Pandemic World Final “Quite the Undertaking” for U.S Series

Lamborghini’s Chris Ward explains how U.S series overcome logistical hurdles to make World Final…

Photo: Eros Maggi/Lamborghini

Automobili Lamborghini America motorsport senior manager Chris Ward described transporting the full Super Trofeo North America paddock to Misano for the final round of the 2021 season as “quite the undertaking” amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Shipping delays forced Lamborghini to scramble an air freight transit to bring its full fleet of more than 20 cars to the east coast of Italy for this weekend’s World Final event.

A total of 19 Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo EVOs ended up entering the last two races of the North America season on Friday, with three drivers from the LB Cup class withdrawing due to a mixture of COVID travel and business-related reasons.

Overcoming the pandemic’s logistical impacts has enabled the largest North American grid for a World Final to link up with the Super Trofeo Europe series for the closing races of the Lamborghini single-make season that determine the brand’s global champions.

The 2020 World Final was canceled due to the global impacts of COVID-19, which are still being felt at Lamborghini through the continued pause of its Super Trofeo Asia series.

“Considering the shipping disasters that there are globally, we have been able to successfully transfer all 22 cars here,” Ward told Sportscar365.

“Having brought all the cars and materials, air freighting them at the last moment because the ships were delayed, it was quite the undertaking.

“We started planning in June and then the teams had a very tight turnaround from our last round at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. It was literally two weeks.

“Most teams are east coast-based, so it took five days just to get there from Laguna. It was a five-day transition over to the east coast, so they only had two or three days to get everything ready and drop it off at Atlanta, which is the shipping hub.

“And then whilst everything was loading into Atlanta, we got notification that the ship it was meant to be getting on was delayed by a week, which then put its load-in to here somewhat in jeopardy, but still doable.

“So we started moving everything towards the port, but just as we were doing that the ship got delayed another week, which would have had it dock in Italy on Friday of [race] week. That really wouldn’t have been ideal.

“We consider ourselves very fortunate and our shipping partner did a great job. They put it all on some 747 cargo plane and got it here on time, so we’re grateful to them.”

The North American equipment entered the Misano paddock at 8 a.m. on Monday and the teams were able to set up with time to spare for the following day’s test sessions.

Ward added that the administrative element of organizing the North American side of the Misano event contributed to the overall challenge of staging a flyaway round.

“Aside from all of the logistics elements, the preparation by all the teams, drivers, families and guests from an administrative point of view with COVID testing and EU passenger locator forms,” he said.

“Things that none of us had ever heard of before, just making sure that every single person had undertaken all of those elements to get everybody here was a miracle.

“Challenging would be an understatement. We can move very freely within the United States.”

Head of Lamborghini Motorsport Giorgio Sanna added: “With COVID and the logistics situation in general, it was a big challenge, but fortunately we achieved the targets.

“Everything went very well, and I hope that in the next one or two years the situation will be back to normality.”

Wayne Taylor Racing general manager Travis Houge told Sportscar365 that all operations have run smoothly at Misano despite some initial concerns about the timeframe between the Laguna Seca event on Sep. 10-12 and the transatlantic crossing to Italy.

WTR brought its full load of equipment and staff to Misano, although other outfits such as Dream Racing Motorsport have leaned on support from European teams.

“Hats off to Lamborghini to get this all done,” said Houge.

“Last week we anticipated showing up not knowing if our cars or equipment were going to be here. But it probably went better than any other World Final we’ve had.

“The stuff was here on time and we were unloaded by noon on the first day we were here. Normally we’re a day later.

“But the timeframes were difficult, going from Laguna to where they wanted us in Atlanta on the Thursday after.

“When you have two truck drivers going across, you still can’t make it in time and get it serviced. So when we got there, there were some issues on where the stuff went, but we got everything here.

“We’re very impressed and happy with what they’ve done.”

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

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