An exciting, mad dash to the checkered flag saw Austin Versteeg claim his second overall victory of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America season, in Saturday’s round at Laguna Seca.
The last event for the U.S.-based series on native soil, Rounds 9 and 10 were highly anticipated, as the winding road course near the central coast of California is coveted for its complexities and elevation changes, including the sweeping downhill “Corkscrew” complex which has made the venue famous.
In the first of two 50-minute races that will take place over the event weekend, the teams and drivers tackled the 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course in style as a fleet of 21 Lamborghini Huracán’s took the green flag and pole sitter Trent Hindman set the pace in his No. 1 entry for Prestige Performance representing Lamborghini Paramus, which he shares with Riccardo Agostini in the Pro category.
While Hindman and Agostini dominated the majority of the race, a late-race caution flag created a last lap dash to the checkered flag, allowing Pro-Am competitor Versteeg to edge out the Pro duo to capture the overall and Pro-Am victories.
Versteeg, in the No. 7 entry for DXDT Racing and Lamborghini Dallas, started in fourth at the beginning of the race, but was shuffled back to seventh in opening lap traffic.
The young driver dug deep, and pushed his Huracán through traffic, making several savvy moves to regain position heading into the mandatory pit stop window.
With a clean, perfectly timed stop under his belt, Versteeg locked in behind Agostini, who had taken over for Hindman and proceeded to fill Agostini’s mirrors, looking to gain any advantage he could.
And a caution flag on Lap 25 provided the opportunity.
The full-course caution was issued to recover the No. 57 Am entry of Pippa Mann and Shea Holbrook for Prestige Performance and Lamborghini Paramus, which lost a wheel and were forced to retire from competition.
With only five minutes left in the race, series officials issued a green-andwhite flag scenario, creating a drag race to the end.
Agostini faltered shortly after the green flag dropped, conceding the victory to Versteeg, his fourth win in class in a row and his second overall victory in the season.
The last lap incident pushed Agostini and Hindman down the grid to ultimately finish in 12th.
“I didn’t know what to think about the yellow because it came so late in the race,” said Versteeg. “But I knew if it went green we had to get it done right away because Agostini is a great driver.
“This track is very hard to pass on, especially when the tire is at the end of its life. We had a great restart, but then he had a little bobble on the brakes and we were able to take advantage of it.”
Versteeg was followed to the overall podium by Pro driver Brandon Gdovic in the No. 30 entry for DAC Motorsports and Lamborghini Palm Beach.
Gdovic, who had a brilliant run in yesterday’s qualifying session, started in second on the grid and proved that consistency was the way forward, as he maintained his position, dropping only to third following the mandatory pit stop window, but followed Versteeg’s lead on the last lap to move up to capture second overall.
In a surprise twist, the No. 55 of Am competitor Yuki Harata for Dream Racing Motorsport and Lamborghini Las Vegas made an incredible last lap effort, jumping from sixth to third place as the last restart occurred to take the final step behind Gdovic on the overall podium, as well as the victory in class.
“I think my start was really good,” said Harata. “I tried to follow the Pros, the leaders, and I think I found a good pace after the safety car pulled away.
“I didn’t know about being on the overall podium but it was just an amazing race.”
In LB Cup competition, it was once again JC Perez with a dominating lead in class to take yet another victory, his sixth this season, in his No. 71 entry for P1 Motorsports and Lamborghini Palm Beach.
He maintains the class championship lead with 123 points.
Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America also welcomed a new, but familiar face to competition this weekend.
In a collaboration with DAC Motorsports, a longstanding European Super Trofeo team hailing from England, fielded an entry in LB Cup.
Toro Loco by MTech enjoyed its first U.S. race, and their first podium in North American competition with a third-place finish with Peter Aronson behind the wheel of the No. 81 car.
Sunday’s Round 10 race, another 50-minute sprint, will start at 11:25 a.m. PT and will be live streamed on squadracorsa.lamborghini.com.
RESULTS: Round 9