2016 Aug. 26th-28th Virginia International Raceway (USA) – Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America (Rounds 7 & 8)
Prestige Performance is making a habit of winning races. It was no different Sunday as Shinya Michimi swept the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America weekend with a Round 8 win at Virginia International Raceway.
Michimi, who also set the fastest lap of the race, earned the 1.457-second victory in the No. 1 Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo LP 620-2 entry representing Lamborghini Paramus over the duo of Trent Hindman and Craig Duerson, leading a 1-2 Prestige Performance overall finish.
“Trent (Hindman) and I are really good friends, and we’re within the same team, but we like to have inner-team battles,” Michimi said. “And they kept telling me he was running quicker lap times, so I wanted to prove I could still run the quick lap times, so I turned it up a notch. The guys have given me a great car to run. There are never any issues, and it just gets quicker as the race goes on.”
Starting on Pole, Michimi led the field from flag-to-flag, but victory didn’t come easily in a race plagued by cautions. The first caution was brought out six minutes into the race, just like Round 7 Saturday. The No. 29 Change Racing entry representing Lamborghini Carolinas driven by Luis Rodriguez Jr. went off in the Esses, triggering the caution. On the restart four minutes later, Yufeng Luo in the No. 17 US RaceTronics entry representing Lamborghini Beverly Hills dropped a wheel through Turn 17 and spun. He made contact with the pit wall. That incident triggered the second caution of the day with 38 minutes remaining in the 50-minute race.
Michimi led the restart with 27 minutes to go, followed by Brandon Gdovic in the No. 46 DAC Motorsports entry representing Lamborghini Palm Beach, Damon Ockey in the No. 07 US RaceTronics entry representing Lamborghini Calgary and Duerson in the No. 10 entry representing Lamborghini Paramus.
Michimi had a flawless pit stop. He was required to stop for 1 minute and 24 seconds, and his Prestige Performance team completed a stop in 1:24.021 to help him retain first place. Hindman exited the pit stop in second behind his teammate, aided by the requirement to stop for only 1:21 as a co-driver team.
Michimi slowly built a 3.053-second lead on Hindman before the third caution of the race was triggered with 10:45 to go. On the restart with 3:55 to go, Michimi pulled out a fantastic restart on Hindman. But Hindman was not deterred. He tried to reel in Michimi over the next three laps, getting as close as .790-of-a-second. But he was unable to close the deal, and Michimi earned his sixth win in eight races. The win also extends Michimi’s points lead to 114-71 over Emmanuel Anassis in the No. 26 DAC Motorsports entry representing Lamborghini Palm Beach with four rounds to go.
“We started out with the goal to win the championship, and we’ve done what we need to do in the order we need to do it,” Michimi said. “I think a few more races, and we can hopefully clinch it. But we’re looking to win races because if you’re winning up front, then they can’t catch you.”
Hindman and Duerson in the No. 10 Prestige Performance entry took the second overall finish, with Brandon Gdovic finishing third overall in the No. 46 DAC Motorsports.
The third Prestige Performance entry representing Lamborghini Paramus, driven by teammates Stefan Wilson and David Seabrooke, finished third in class in the No. 23 Lamborghini. It was the duo’s first podium of the season.
On the previous day, Shinya Michimi earned his fifth victory in seven races this season by taking the checkered flag Saturday in Round 7 of the LBST North America at VIR. Michimi took the 9.091-second victory in the No. 1 Prestige Performance entry representing Lamborghini Paramus over Josh Norman, in a race that had its tone set by extreme temperatures and a lengthy yellow flag six minutes after the start.
“I can’t really compare the car with the conditions because it’s (my) first time here at the track,” Michimi said. “The track is really nice, really smooth. It makes the lines interesting because you can run three different lines in different sections and end up with the same lap times.”
Michimi started the race in second position after the first start was waved off, behind Richard Antinucci in the No. 17 US RaceTronics entry representing Lamborghini Beverly Hills. On the start, the running order stayed true, with Antinucci leading followed by Michimi and Trent Hindman in the No. 10 Prestige Performance entry representing Lamborghini Paramus. That trio and Damon Ockey, who had a great start by picking up two spots, looked to be pulling a gap on the field before an incident at the six-minute mark brought out a full course yellow. The No. 26 car driven by series rookie Steve Johnson dropped a wheel coming out of Turn 17 and veered across the track, making a hard impact with the wall on the driver’s right. There was extensive cleanup for the next 10 minutes.
Four minutes after the field went back to green, the mandatory pit window opened, and teams began making their stops. Antinucci in the No. 17 US RaceTronics entry, stayed out as long as possible to turn quick laps and give his teammate, Yufeng Luo, a gap. After the pit stops cycled through, Luo retained the lead for the No. 17, with Michimi closing quickly. With 20 minutes remaining, Michimi made the pass and took the lead from Luo in Turn 1.
Michimi then turned on the afterburners setting the fastest lap of the race and extending his lead, lap after lap, to as much as 18 seconds. No one could catch him, but the rest of the field got their chance with seven minutes remaining when a caution was triggered by Jackie Heinricher going off course in Turn 5 in the No. 57 DAC entry representing Lamborghini Palm Beach.
The field bunched together, but Michimi was no match on the restart, pulling away immediately and growing his gap to 9.091 seconds over the next five minutes to take his fifth victory of the season.
Josh Norman, in only his second solo race in the series, made a late push to overtake Luo to finish second overall in the No. 71 Change Racing entry representing Lamborghini Carolinas. Luo held on to finish third overall with teammate Antinucci.
Shinya: “VIR was another new track for me, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was really happy to take both wins, and to have such great results for the team with all of the Prestige cars making the podium this weekend. It was a real challenge with all of the cautions. Every time I would work to build a gap, a caution would come out and bunch up the field again. But I was able to get good restarts and was able to bring it home for the win. With military bases being in close proximity, we had a lot of guests from the armed services this weekend. So it was really special for the Prestige Performance Wish For Our Heroes car to be able to take the checkered flag with several of the soldiers standing on the flag stand when the flag was waved. It’s been such a privilege to get to spend time with these men and women and to get to know them. They are real heroes, and having them at the races has made this year truly special.”
“Special thanks to the Prestige Performance / Wayne Taylor racing crew, who worked so hard in the extreme heat and humidity this weekend. They are always working hard, giving us a great car and making our jobs easier. I am so grateful for all that they do.”
The next Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo America event will be Sept. 14th-17th at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.