Sant’Agata Bolognese, 24 June 2019 – In the world of two-wheel motorsports, Supercross and motocross champion Chad Reed needs no introduction. Next weekend at Watkins Glen International, the world-renowned Australian rider will bring his talents to a four-wheel discipline as he competes in Rounds 3 and 4 of Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America on June 28 and 29.
The obvious first question that comes to mind is how much four-wheel racing has Reed done in the past? The answer is he is no stranger to competing in a car as he has experience in racing Supercars in his native Australia and participated in last year’s Monza Rally.
“I’ve jumped in a couple of different things, whether it be Supercars in Australia and I’ve done a couple of things in rally cars and late models, but mainly just more testing than racing,” he said. “I also ran the Monza Rally last year, and that was an outstanding experience, for what it was. It was consecutive days of night and day racing, and I experienced different things that I really hadn’t before and had a good time.
“So I think doing something like this again will be totally new,” Reed added. “Obviously doing all my research on The Glen and I need to go in there and be smart and enjoy it. But, you know, like as a racer you always want to be there and try to be as competitive as possible. But for me, it’s more about the experience and, keeping the car in between the white lines.”
So how does one of the most famous motorcycle racers in the history of the sport end up at The Glen next weekend? Actually, it was a quick process from the initial discussions to putting an entry in for the two 50-minute races on the 11-turn, 3.4-mile circuit.
The multi-time Supercross champion enlisted the assistance of current Paul Miller Racing GT Daytona driver Ryan Hardwick who won the Super Trofeo World Championship and North American Am Class championships last year. A mutual friend connected the two of them, and they began a dialogue to see what could be worked out.
“Chad asked me if what I thought of Super Trofeo and he wanted my opinion if it was a perfect car, in a perfect series to prepare for something like GT Daytona (GTD) racing,” Hardwick said. “And he knew that Lamborghini has had a history of putting some kind of big-name motorcycle guys in a Super Trofeo.”
It didn’t take long for Hardwick to discover that Reed’s name was well-known among Lamborghini’s top executives. “I called Giorgio Sanna, head of motorsport for Lamborghini, who is also a massive motocross fan, and he said that Chad is literally like his hero,” Hardwick said. “He’s like, ‘you’re kidding me,’ so I also I called up Enrico Bertaggia the owner of Dream Racing.
“I said, ‘Hey Enrico, I got this guy Chad Reed and he’s a big dirt bike guy,’ and he was like, I know who Chad Reed is. From there Giorgio said Chad should test a car, and let’s see what he’s got and depending on the test go from there.”
Sanna also told Hardwick that if everything worked out, he wanted to pair them together in the Pro-Am class for the upcoming race at Watkins Glen.
“Chad is a hero of mine as well,” Hardwick added. “And I told Giorgio that I am really focused on GTD right now and that I would have to speak to Paul Miller. It didn’t take us long to realize that Chad has an immensely high talent level in driving the car.”
From there the crew at Dream Racing agreed to put a car together for them to run. The Lamborghini Super Trofeo EVO will feature Hardwick’s Mountain Motorsports company and Reed’s famous No. 22.
“That’s a nice little touch that,” Reed said. “For one obviously being fortunate that nobody else uses the number and then that I’m the one requesting it and being able to use it. Something familiar is always nice as I am jumping into four-wheel racing and will be able to see a No. 22 will make it a little more fun.”
Reed is making a comeback of sorts as on March 23 he crashed on the start of a supercross event in Seattle. He sustained multiple injuries including eight broken ribs, a broken scapula and a collapsed lung. Those injuries ended his 2019 supercross season.
“I actually rode my dirt bike for the first time last week,” Reed said. “It was 12, almost 13 weeks off the bike. I wouldn’t say I’m in full race mode, back to full training and getting my health back. Jumping in a race car is actually a good, healthy thing. Whether if it’s the motorcycle or car, the mind all works the same. So I’m excited to get out there.”
Reed has never been to the iconic western New York track but is looking forward to getting there and seeing what the weekend will bring. “I am a racer at heart, and it’s what I love to do,” he said. “People always say that with age, get a cage. So at some point, the motorcycle racing has to come to an end. Racing is something that I’ve known since I was three years old and would like to continue. As I get older and my mind works differently, going car racing and looking over the data and learning the breaking points in all the different things is something I find interesting, fun and challenging.
“I’m not naive in the fact that at some point the motorcycle racing has to end,” he added. “If the right opportunity came up and I was getting the same feeling that I get from racing my dirt bike in another form of racing, then I definitely would be open and willing to make a career change.
“Here I am climbing into my first Super Trofeo race,” he added. “Kind of just right place, right time, with me having some time off in the summer and coming back from injury it’s all perfect. My wife is joining me for the weekend, and I am really excited to get up there and see what happens.”
Round 3 begins at 4:25 p.m. Friday with Round 4 starting at 10:25 a.m. Both of these races, as well as the balance of the 2019 Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America series, can be streamed live on IMSA.TV and squadracorse.lamborghini.com/live-streaming with IMSA Radio commentary. For those who would like to watch the races, they will be broadcast NBCSN on Wednesday, July 10 at 6 p.m. EDT.