The series veteran and 2015 Super Trofeo North America Pro Driver Champion, was a comfortable leader for much of the race, despite a brief bobble which allowed Edoardo Piscopo and Taylor Proto in the No. 50 entry of US Racetronics representing Lamborghini Beverly Hills to close within a few seconds in the early stages of the race.
"It was a great start and really good first stint. I pressed the pit lane speed limiter one lap on the straight and lost two seconds," Antinucci admitted after the race. "Then I was cruising. I was told he was catching, but I was really cruising."
Second-place finishers Trent Hindman and Riccardo Agostini worked their way up to the podium from a fifth-place gird position. Agostini worked his way into third place before pitting midway through the race, allowing Hindman to take the wheel of the No. 1 Prestige Performance Laborghini Huracán Super Trofeo entry, representing Lamborghini Paramus. Hindman, who had already been on track for another event earlier in the day, continued his teammate's work getting past the pole-sitting No. 50 of Piscopo and Proto into second position.
Race 1's third-place finisher probably saw the most action of all the podium finishers. Super Trofeo-newcomer, Austin Versteeg piloted his No. 7 DXDT Racing entry representing Lamborghini Dallas to the last step of the overall podium after enduring battles through much of the event's 50 minutes of green-flag racing. The 17-year-old, who started third on the grid, fell as low as fifth in the opening stage of the race, but battled back with several terrific on-track passes to reach third on Lap 17.
The Pro-Am driver's performance in his first sportscar start boosted his confidence, and Versteeg is already looking forward to another strong result in Race 2 tomorrow.
"[The race] was definitely a change with pit stops and full fuel load, and managing tires, and all that stuff," Versteeg said after the race. "I came out with confidence and learned a lot of things that I can hopefully bring to the table tomorrow and continue to push."
Making the most of her series debut, Ashley Freiberg piloted her No. 30 DAC Motorsports machine, representing Lamborghini Palm Beach to a third-place result in the Pro category. The sixth-place qualifier showed great resilience in her first race behind the wheel of the Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo, gaining ground after her pit stop, to finish in the top five overall.
The Amateur class saw a repeat winner, as Patrice Brisebois followed up his inaugural Super Trofeo North America victory from 2016 with another first-place finish on Friday. The former Stanley Cup winner drove the opening stint before handing over the No. 18 DAC Motorsports entry representing Lamborghini Palm Beach to his teammate, Emmanuel Anassis. Anassis inherited the car running second in the class and finally took the lead on Lap 18 after a fierce battle with the US RaceTronics No. 17 of Brian Theines.
The top LB Cup entrants were also running in close proximity at race's end. Class pole-sitter Paul Terry worked his way back to the front of the pack after pit stops and was lucky to avoid an incident when the two cars running immediately behind him spun simultaneously. The driver of the No. 62 DXDT Racing entry, representing Lamborghini Dallas claimed victory a few laps later, earning the first LB Cup win of the 2017 Super Trofeo North America season.
Overall winner Antinucci hopes to maintain a similar level of performance for tomorrow's race and may have an easier road to the top step of the podium with a first-place grid position. He was quick to praise the team that gave him a car capable of taking the first win of the season on a warm day in the Texas sun.
"Thanks a lot to Change Racing. I'm so stoked to be back with them," he said. "[This is the] perfect start, right?"
As part of a continuing partnership with Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. (Torque.TV), Lamborghini Super Trofeo races will be live-streamed on the following platforms: squadracorse.lamborghini.com, motortrendondemand.com and Internationally on imsa.tv and radiolemans.com. Tape-delayed coverage of each event will air on CBS Sports Network in primetime. The coverage will feature live commentary on both the broadcast and live streams.
The North American series continues to attract increasing numbers of competitors and interest.
The Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo adopts the V10 direct injection engine mounted on the road car, managed by a MoTeC control unit that delivers a maximum output of 620 horsepower. The frame is a hybrid carbon/aluminum construction with modified geometries to house an improved radiator up front and better accommodate the racing gearbox at the rear, which also provides better aerodynamics.
RICHARD ANTINUCCI (No. 16 Change Racing, winner, first Pro):
"Really fun battle with my old teammate, and good friend. Great start, really good first stint. I actually pulled a little gap on [Edoardo] Piscopo-without testing, I was a little surprised. I pressed the pit lane speed limiter one lap on the straight and lost two seconds and he caught up again. I had some silly moments with some lapped traffic, but I think they were doing the best they could-it's hot out there and some of their first races ever. Then I was cruising. I was told he was catching, but I was really cruising. Just perfect like that. I love it. First of all, thanks to Lamborghini Carolinas. It's really good. I didn't get a lot of practice this year, but it worked out really well. Thanks a lot to Change racing-I'm so stoked to be back with them. We all want to win races. I'm sure other teams do too, but it is a really good atmosphere and we're really pumped. Perfect start, right?"
AUSTIN VERSTEEG (No. 7 DXDT Racing, winner, first ProAm):
"The race was interesting. This was my first sportscar race ever-I've always been in a prototype car, so this was definitely a change with pit stops and full fuel load, and managing tires and all that stuff. But it was good. I came out with confidence and learned a lot of things that I can hopefully bring to the table tomorrow and continue to push. I can't thank everyone on DXDT enough and my driver coach, Jonatan Jorge at JJRD, helping me to adapt to these cars so fast. I hadn't been in the car much before this race, so I'm happy that I am where I am, and I'm grateful that I can continue to learn in a different car and learn around such great drivers-pro guys that know what they're doing-Trent Hindman-I've looked up to him for a while and worked with him a little in the past, my first year in cars. So very cool to be around those guys, racing with them. Hopefully I can make some adjustments tomorrow and come out with confidence. But overall, pretty confident. First in Pro-Am, third overall, I feel pretty good about it."
EMMANUEL ANASSIS (No. 18 DAC Motorsports, winner, first Am):
It's great to come to COTA-it's a fantastic track-and we always have a lot of fun here, we've always done extremely well. It's the first time I was sharing a car with Pat [Brisebois]-I can't think of a better guy to share a car with. He was a real professional. He gave me an amazing car, kept it clean, smooth. The car was phenomenal. We've got some tricks up our sleeve for tomorrow. We're starting P4 overall tomorrow. We've started the season exactly how we wanted to start, so we're looking forward to a great season.
PATRICE BRISEBOIS (No. 18 DAC Motorsports, winner, first Am):
It's great to start that way-with a win. I had a great start and after that, I was just pacing myself. It felt good in the car. It's the first time I've shared a car, so I think it's very important to give the car to your partner in good shape, and after that Emmanuel drove really, really well. It's the best way to start the season, with a win. We're going to build our confidence on that win. I don't think the car was the best, but we found a way to win.
PAUL TERRY (No. 62 DXDT Racing, winner, first LB Cup):
Man, that race was awesome. It was a little bit warm. COTA, what's not to love about driving at this racetrack, especially a Lamborghini that's fast as hell? I've got to give it up to my crew. They gave me an awesome car. My coach, Brandon Davis, my crew chief, Giti Gowland, and the number one mechanic, Trent Smith. They called an awesome race. I was able to execute under pressure, but I've got to give the credit where the credit is due-to the team behind me. I'd also like to thank David Askew for putting together such a great group of guys and David Hikes for managing it all.
2017 LAMBORGHINI SUPER TROFEO NORTH AMERICA SCHEDULE
|May 4-6||Circuit of The Americas||Austin, Texas|
|June 29-July 1||Watkins Glen International||Watkins Glen, N.Y.|
|Aug. 4-6||Road America||Elkhart Lake, Wis.|
|Aug. 25-27||VIRginia International Raceway||Danville, Va.|
|Sept. 22-24||Laguna Seca||Monterey, Calif.|
|Nov. 16-17||Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari||Imola, Italy|