With the fourth edition of the Lamborghini World Final set to kick off in Valencia, Giorgio Sanna, Head of Lamborghini Motorsport, spoke with assembled media to preview the weekend and reflect on the 2016 season in both the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo and GT3 competition, and look ahead to the future.
Below is an excerpt from the roundtable discussion with Sanna.
What are your thoughts for this World Final weekend?
“The World Final for us, talking about the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo, is the most important event of the year.
“It’s a big opportunity and the only opportunity to put together all the drivers from Asia-Pacific, America and Europe together.
“Every year the show is better and better. This year we chose Valencia and the track is very nice. It’s not so fast but tricky. All the drivers can enjoy these kind of characteristics, especially the amateurs.
“We expect a nice battle for all of the races today.”
What was the reason for remaining in Europe, at Imola, for next year’s World Final?
“At the moment, more than 50 percent of the overall grid is based on the European cars. We normally have 45-50 cars just in Europe, so to arrange the shipment and spare parts for all of the cars out of Europe starts to become really difficult.
“For this reason, we prefer to support the Asian and American drivers to come to Europe.
“They have the shipping fees [included] in the entry fee to do the World Final and to support them on the budget side.
“Next year will also be a very nice opportunity for many customers, teams and sponsors to also enjoy the factory.
“Due the fact we’ll be in Imola, we will arrange a nice event at the [factory] to show the facilities, to have a tour of the production line and museum.
“For many customers outside of Europe, it will be a very good opportunity to experience something new.”
Are there plans for any changes to the Super Trofeo format next year?
“No. Next year, the car will [remain the same] because the plan was to have at least a three-year [regulations freeze] because we have to respect the investment the customers have already made.
“Honestly speaking, the car has a lot of success on the commercial and sporting side because it’s really competitive in terms of running costs and lap time, so there’s no reason we should change anything for next year.”
What was the inspiration for launching the Middle East cup next year?
“In our opinion, the Middle East is an important market with big potential. We sell a lot of road cars there and they have some nice facilities, like Yas Marina and Bahrain.
“The problem is that they don’t have the motorsports culture, but it’s not much different to what China was ten years ago. The money was present, people were interested to race but they didn’t know how to do it.
“The idea is to penetrate this new market with motorsport activities. We’ll go there mainly with customers coming from Europe and Asia-Pacific. But I have to say there are two or three American drivers that are also interested in coming.
“[We have to] set up the show, to show to the local potential drivers what Super Trofeo is and how we work.
“The format will be exactly the same on what we have today in Super Trofeo in the other regions, with a nice hospitality and spare parts/technical support services.
“We’ll start with three races and we will see. In my opinion, in the near future, there could be the potential to have a full series in the Middle East. But that’s to be done during the off-season in the three other championships, which for me is January, February and March.
“We could generate a new championship. We need time to do it but we’re going on the right way.”
How would you rate your first year of customer racing with the Huracan GT3?
“As a first year of customer racing, we can be proud of what we achieved.
“We delivered 40 cars worldwide, a huge effort, and we had 78 race weekends… We had 52 podiums, 18 overall victories, 22 pole positions and two champions in GT Asia and GT Open.
“Of course there’s always something to do better and areas that we can improve. But we have to keep focused on our targets and we are on the right way.”
Are there any specific targets on the GT3 side next year?
“We are working to improve the technical support team, which will be strengthened with additional engineers, also because we are looking to increase the [car count].
“Of course on the sporting side, the target is to alway try to win. This year, we won several races and two championships.
“Next year, we will try to be more competitive in the key long-distance events like Daytona and 24 Hours of Spa.
“The target will also be to try and win in the IMSA series and Blancpain Endurance.”
What are your thoughts about the new Blancpain GT Asia series?
“For me, it’s a big opportunity for all the teams because everyone knows how Stephane Ratel works. [SRO] is the inventor of the GT3 and GT4 categories. They know very well how to promote a series.
“In my opinion, we need to increase the quality level of the championships in Asia with good broadcasts, good organization, a fixed schedule that cannot change every two weeks.
“That’s something that’s normal in Europe and America but Asia-Pacific has less experience in motorsport. I trust that SRO can guarantee this kind of better services.
“We can’t expect a full grid like Europe because the portfolio of teams are not so big. But it’s true that Asia-Pacific can open opportunities on the sponsorship side and drivers looking to invest.”
Will Blancpain GT Asia or GT Asia will be more profitable for Lamborghini?
“We have to trust in Ratel because everything he’s done until now has been really well done, including Pirelli World Challenge. We are partners of Stephane Ratel but in the end, we have to take into consideration of the wishes of our teams. We will not force any teams to move on one side or the other.
“We won GT Asia and have a very good relationship with them and Team FFF was very happy to be involved in this championship… But [Lamborghini] will be present in both series.
“It’s clear with the SRO series that we have Super Trofeo in the same weekend, so we have more [things] set up, like hospitality. But at the end, we go to support the teams where the teams like to race, especially when we have gentlemen drivers involved.”