2016 Jun. 30th-Jul. 3rd Watkins Glen (USA) – Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America (Rounds 3 & 4)
Mark another one down in the win column for Shinya Michimi, as he triumphed in Round 4 of the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America series championship July 2nd at Watkins Glen International. Michimi earned a dominating, 28.124-second victory over the duo of Patrick Kujala and Brian Thienes, to sweep the double-header event in the No. 1 Prestige / WTR entry. The victory was almost a carbon copy of his Round 3 win the previous day.
“Today was more or less the same as yesterday,” Michimi said. “It was managing the tires and the gap and the car and keeping everything under control the entire race. It’s never easy when you take a victory, but the guys have definitely done a good job with setting up the car and making it really fast. It’s made my job a lot easier, that’s for sure.”
For the second race in row, Michimi started second, this time behind Luca Persiani in the No. 07 Dream Racing Motorsports entry representing Lamborghini Las Vegas. Michimi settled into second position laying down consistent laps behind Persiani, and just like on Friday, Michimi let the race run its course and come to him. Another flawless pit stop strategy call and perfect execution from Michimi were too much for Persiani to overcome. Persiani pitted late in the 10-minute mandatory pit window, trying to build a gap in clean air before handing off the No. 07 Huracán to his co-driver. With the Dream Racing No. 07 car still on cold tires coming out of the pits, Michimi was able to close the gap and make the pass for the lead going into the heel of the boot at Turn 8. He then put on a clinic of precision and skill over the remaining 20 minutes, extending his gap each lap and ultimately coasting to his third win in four races this season.
“Consistency comes from staying calm in the car,” Michimi said. “The car doesn’t really seem to like being forced to do things, and when you go easy on it, it really likes it.”
Kujala and Thienes ran a clean race to finish second in the No. 17 US RaceTronics entry
representing Lamborghini Beverly Hills. This was the first event in Super Trofeo North America for Kujala, the 2015 Super Trofeo Europe and World Final champion. Series rookie Luis Rodriguez Jr. finished third overall in the No. 29 Change Racing Huracán representing Lamborghini Carolinas.
The previous day, Prestige had put in a dominant performance with Shinya Michimi, in what would be his first time at Watkins Glen, taking the LBST North America Round 3 victory to lead a 1-2 finish for the team. The 14.720-second victory over teammates Trent Hindman and Craig Duerson marked Michimi’s second win of the season, following a win at Laguna Seca in the No. 1 Prestige Performance Lamborghini Huracán LP 620-2 representing Lamborghini Paramus. Watkins Glen is the home race for the dealership, which is based in Paramus, New Jersey.
“I just really have to thank all the guys who did a good job preparing the car for the weekend,” Michimi said. “It’s been super-fast since we rolled it off the trailer. It was great to get this car onto the podium this weekend. It’s kind of a home race for Prestige. This is the closest thing we’ll get to a home race this year and there are a lot of their guys here, so I want to thank them for coming out and supporting us.”
After leading practice on Thursday and a solid qualifying session, Michimi started the 50-minute race on outside pole. Michimi got a great start but being on the outside, lost the drag race into turn one and settled into second. From there he ran consistent laps and kept pace with the leader. Once the mandatory pit window opened, the team and Michimi executed a perfect pit strategy to put him out in first place, and never looked back. Over the next 20 minutes Michimi slowly extended his lead, leaving no doubt.
“It was pretty straight forward,” Michimi said. “We had the team car in front of us at the start so I knew there would be no silly business there. I was able to keep the pace and jump in at the pit stops. From there it was just holding on.”
Hindman and Duerson finished second overall and Damon Ockey was the third overall finisher in the No. 09 US RaceTronics Lamborghini representing Lamborghini Calgary.
The win was extra special for the team, which is running a special livery this weekend.
Michimi’s car is donned with a livery honoring Wish For Our Heroes, a charity that provides assistance to soldiers coming home. The car is also covered in signatures from active duty soldiers and veterans.
Shinya: “We were really happy to have such great results, especially this weekend, with the special camouflage Wish For Our Heroes livery in honor of the troops for 4th of July weekend. We are so happy to help support this great charity and all that they do to help our heroes, the men and women of the armed forces. With all of the special guests here this weekend, the soldiers and veterans, and the guests of the Lamborghini Paramus dealership, I really wanted to get a win for them. With this being my first time at Watkins Glen, I wasn’t sure what to expect. So to be able to take both wins, and for the team to have such great results all weekend, and to have the military guests in uniform join us in victory circle; it was a very special moment that I’ll never forget.”
“Thanks to Prestige Performance / Wayne Taylor Racing and this incredible crew for all their hard work. Special thanks to Shadow Graphix and 3M for the awesome livery. And thanks always to the men and women of the armed forces, who selflessly sacrifice and work hard to keep us all safe and ensure our freedom. It was such an honor to get to spend time with the soldiers and getting to know many of them, you really find out about the kind of talented, resilient and amazing men and women that we are lucky to have serving our country.”
The next Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America event will be Aug. 5-7 at Road America. It will be the series’ first visit to the famed track located in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.