Richard Antinucci and Cedric Sbirrazzuoli split the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America season-opening races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, but while Antinucci is a known quantity in North America, Sbirrazzuoli is new to the scene.
The 27-year-old driver from Monaco is embarking on his first season in North America in the Lamborghini ST championship after primarily racing GT machinery in Europe.
He is dovetailing this season with the STR team in Lamborghini ST in the team’s Lamborghini Huracán LP 620-2 with racing a Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 in the Blancpain Endurance Series with AF Corse.
The difference between the two, Sbirrazzuoli said, is negligible and makes for an easy transition.
“All the cars are very similar. The technique is the same,” Sbirrazzuoli told Sportscar365. “Racing between a Ferrari and Lamborghini is not confusing. You can switch from one to the other pretty easily.”
What Sbirrazzuoli hasn’t needed to do this year, perhaps to his benefit, is adjust from the previous generation Gallardo LP 570-4 Super Trofeo to the new Huracán.
Not having any preconceived notions of how the previous car drove allowed him to settle in nicely to the Huracán at Mazda Raceway.
“I can’t compare with the Gallardo, as I never raced it. But [the Huracán] is clearly a very nice car,” Sbirrazzuoli said.
“Looking at the lap times, it’s faster than GT3s. It’s extremely fast. I found it quite similar to a GT3 in Europe. That was a good thing. So it was very nice to drive. With the handling, the speed, it’s a very good car.”
Sbirrazzuoli didn’t even feel he extracted the maximum at Mazda Raceway, as he was learning the car, track, team and series all in one weekend.
“For me, it was a completely new experience,” he said. “I didn’t know the team, car or track. Now in the next weekend I can be more competitive, as I know the car better.
“We didn’t have a great setup in Laguna. But it should be a little easier for me now.”
Sbirrazzuoli will miss free practice and arrive before qualifying. He tested earlier this week ahead of the Total 24 Hours of Spa, the next round of the BES season.
He’ll also have a new co-driver this weekend, in Lawrence DeGeorge. The two will share the No. 07 car; DeGeorge was unavailable during the Monterey weekend.
Overall though, Sbirrazzuoli is looking forward towards racing further in America after he tests the waters this season.
“It has always been my dream to race in America,” he said. “There are more opportunities over here. Starting this year was a good thing, and Laguna was one of my dream tracks. Winning there was a very good thing for me.
“They’ve done a good job with the championship. I’ve done Maserati and Ferrari Challenge. Lamborghini is so well organized. There’s all the hospitality. The people are involved; they want to help you. They really do a good job in that way.
“The goal is obviously TUDOR. I think it’s best in the U.S. with all the brands, GTs, prototypes, and next year they open to GT3 spec.
“For sure the TUDOR would be a nice goal. For now, I just do my best in Super Trofeo and see what happens at end of the season.”