An enthusiastic late-morning crowd greeted the drivers for Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America Race 1 of the weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
The race started with Loris Spinelli in the No. 71 P1 Motorsports, Lamborghini Broward leading the field of 18 cars to speed and taking the green flag. But soon after, the festive atmosphere was tempered by an incident in the famous Corkscrew turn at the 2.238-mile 11-turn WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca circuit.
Only six minutes into the race, Sheena Monk in the No. 7 Wayne Taylor Racing, Lamborghini Paramus had an accident as her car went off the course and into the tire barrier. The race was red-flagged four minutes later for safety crews to attend to her. Following the incident, she was awake and alert and transported to a local hospital for further evaluation.
The red flag lasted until there was 12 minutes remaining in the race. Immediately after the restart, the mandatory pit window opened, and teams had to decide whether to pit immediately or wait as the mandatory stop still needed to occur.
Many of the leaders decided to pull into the pits, but Edoardo Piscopo in the No. 50 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini Beverly Hills decided to stay out and found himself in the lead.
Piscopo stayed out until the last second, literally, entering the pits with just over two minutes remaining to make their stop. As the other cars circled the track, they were still in the lead. At that time the No. 33 Wayne Taylor Racing, Lamborghini Paramus of Cameron Cassels spun in Turn 5 and a full-course yellow was thrown.
Taylor Proto had taken over for Piscopo during the pit stop and still was in the lead when the yellow was thrown and then went on to take the checkered flag. It was the team’s third win in the last four races and they extended their class lead to seven points (110-103). Brandon Gdovic and Shinya Sean Michimi in the No. 46 PPM, Lamborghini Palm Beach was second while Corey Lewis and Madison Snow in the No. 29 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte were third.
Spinelli and his teammate JC Perez finished off winning the race in the PRO-AM class, and in doing-so wrapped up the 2018 championship. Their win gave them 122 points and a 57-point lead over second place team of Randy Sellari and Stevan McAleer in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing, Lamborghini Paramus who retired following the accident by their teammate, Monk.
Brian Thienes (No. 17 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini Beverly Hills) won for the second time in the last three races in the AM class, coming from behind to claim the victory. Class leader Ryan Hardwick (No. 2 Dream Racing Motorsport, Lamborghini Atlanta) was second to hold on to his class championship lead heading into Sunday’s Round 10 of the 2018 series.
The LB Cup class race was won by Mark Proto and Parris Mullins in the No. 88 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini La Jolla. It was the pair’s fifth win of the season and second in the last three races.
The final U.S. round of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America series takes place Sunday at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca at 2:25 p.m. ET/ 11:25 a.m. PT. The race will be streamed on IMSA.TV and squadracorse.lamborghini.com/super-trofeo/north-america.
Statement from Lamborghini:
“Our thoughts are with Sheena Monk as she recovers from yesterday’s accident in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Upon initial analysis of the car data following the accident, all of the operating systems were found to be functioning appropriately, as did the car’s safety systems during, and after, impact. All of us at Lamborghini are thankful for the safety of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo race cars.”
“Coming out of pit out was fun and then I drove around at 60 kph (kilometers per hour) was nice as I was able to take in the sights of Laguna Seca. Edoardo capitalized on the free laps we had when the other cars were pitting, and it worked out for us at the end of the race. We got really lucky with that yellow. We expected there to be a traffic jam the second any one came into the pits and then more people came in in groups. So, we decided to wait until the last minute and it worked out for us.”
“It was a great car and strategy today. After the start, I lost a place, but kept my focus and pushed as much as I could because I knew we could win. Things played out for us in the end. I’m sorry for Sheena and I hope she is all right, so it is a sorrow victory.”
“It was a good beginning to the race and I am happy we won. My team P1 Motorsport did a good job. I hope Sheena is all right. We wanted to win the championship this week and we did.”
“This is my home track. I’m from Marin County and I did all my Skip Barber driving here. I felt good showing up. The yellow at the end played in our favor. Right now, I’m thinking about our fellow driver and hoping she is OK and to see her back out here. Mark has been super consistent and that is what matters. Hopefully I can pick up a spot or two and we can bring home some more points tomorrow.”
“Hats off to US RaceTronics. Good team strategy today moved up to the front and we stayed consistent the entire time we were out there. I found myself in first place and there was a lot of good driving out there and happy to bring home another first-place trophy.”