ALTON, VA (Aug. 26, 2017) - Trent Hindman and Riccardo Agostini pulled out a win by the narrowest of margins Saturday at VIRginia International Raceway, getting the best of the Super Trofeo field in an event that saw intense battles throughout all of the race's 50 minutes. The fourth race win in a row for the No. 1 Prestige Performance entry, representing Lamborghini Paramus, brings the pair closer their first Super Trofeo championship, as the season enters its final three races tomorrow.
Agostini started the race from the front of the field after setting the pace in this morning's qualifying session, but victory was hardly straightforward for the championship leaders. After holding a comfortable gap until the mandatory midrace pit stops, Agostini clipped the pit entry commitment line during his stop, earning a drive through penalty for the No. 1 entry. Hindman served the penalty almost immediately after trading positions with Agostini, dropping back as far as fifth overall, before setting off in hunt of the race leaders.
Knowing he had his work cut out for him, Hindman began turning quick laps, setting a new race lap record on his way back to the front of the field. With just minutes to go, he had his Lamborghini Huracán within sight of race leader Austin Versteeg. Hindman was tight on the tail of the young, ProAm driver at the checkered flag, and although he didn't finish first on track, he was granted the overall victory after Versteeg received a one-second time penalty for a too short pit stop.
"We were very fast, very competitive today," explained Agostini after the race. "Trent did an amazing job because obviously it wasn't easy to close the gap and win the race in the end. Congrats to him and everyone that did a great job today."
Versteeg looked to have achieved his first overall victory in spectacular fashion but fell just short of that accomplishment thanks to the post-race time penalty. Still, the driver of the No. 7 DXDT Racing entry, representing Lamborghini Dallas, was happy with his performance and the close battles he enjoyed with some of sportscar racing's greatest drivers.
After working his way up from a backward shuffle in the first stint, Versteeg ran second behind sports car veteran Andy Lally in the No. 16 Change Racing entry, representing Lamborghini Carolinas, for much of the second stint. With just four laps to go, Versteeg, knowing that Hindman was closing in, pressured Lally into a mistake, taking the lead and a chance to earn his first overall Super Trofeo win.
"We didn't have a great first qualifying and I knew it was going to be hard, starting from sixth," said Versteeg. "It was full out all the time. Flat out throughout the entire race. Andy [Lally] is amazing. It's awesome to be out there with someone from the WeatherTech series and learning from him as I'm driving."
Yuki Harata continued his run of good results in the Am category, earning a more comfortable third consecutive win to extend his championship lead. The class polesitter had a blistering start in his No. 55 Dream Racing Motorsport entry, representing Lamborghini Las Vegas, jumping from ninth on the grid to fifth in one lap. The Japanese driver battled with ProAm drivers throughout the first stint, before settling into a more relaxed pace in the race's second half, conserving his tires until he reached the checkered flag.
"Somehow, I started from ninth and after the first corner, I was fifth. That was a pretty good start," said a smiling Harata after the podium. "The first stint, I had a big enough gap, but the second stint was getting closer and closer to the second guy. It was a tough race for me. So hot. It was amazing."
Dream Racing Motorsport earned a second win on the day, with Ryan Hardwick taking victory in the LB Cup class. The No. 2 Dream Racing Motorsport entry, representing Lamborghini Atlanta, returned to the top step of the podium for the third time this season, marking a return to form for Hardwick, after a pair of difficult outings at Road America earlier this month.
"It feels good after the last round for sure," said Hardwick. "The race was good. It was a little bit easier than what I thought it was going to be. Too bad for J.C.[Perez] that he had the penalty. We battled for half the race and I was looking forward to another battle toward the end, but we'll take it. A win's a win."
Hindman and Agostini will start on pole in tomorrow's race yet again, hoping to repeat their success and continue to grow their championship lead. Versteeg will be hot on their heels, however, and eager to prove himself after narrowly missing his first overall win. The 19-year-old will start second in Sunday morning's race.
Lamborghini Super Trofeo will be back for its second race of the weekend at VIRginia International Raceway tomorrow. Race 2 will roll off at 8:50 a.m. ET Sunday, Aug. 27.
Tape-delayed coverage of VIRginia International Raceway will air on the CBS Sports Network Sept. 24, 2017 at 3 p.m. ET. The coverage will feature live commentary on both the broadcast and live streams.
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.
TRENT HINDMAN (No. 1 Prestige Performance, winner, first Pro):
"That was a crazy one. I don't even know where to start, but a big thank you to the Prestige Performance Wayne Taylor Racing guys and TRIM-TEX Drywall Products. Obviously, Riccardo for his efforts. He did a great job of putting it on pole and leading his entire stint. Unfortunately, we just got caught out on pit road, but it is what it is. I knew when we had the drive through that we had our work cut out, but that's OK. We have a great car and took advantage of it. Congrats to Austin [Versteeg]. He drove a really great race. Unfortunate to see that he got a penalty and we couldn't settle it on track, but it is what it is an we're going to try to do the same thing tomorrow."
RICCARDO AGOSTINI (No. 1 Prestige Performance, winner, first Pro):
"Obviously I'm happy with the result. We just got a penalty. I missed the line for pit in, so that's why, but anyway we were very fast, very competitive today. The car was amazing. We've been lucky having bad luck, but I'm happy with the way everything ended. Trent did an amazing job because obviously it wasn't easy to close the gap and to win the race in the end, so congrats to him and to everybody that did a great job today."
AUSTIN VERSTEEG (No. 7 DXDT Racing, winner, first ProAm):
"It was crazy. We didn't have a great first qualifying and I knew it was going to be hard, starting from sixth. I knew it was going to be hard to pass Andy Lally and those guys in front. We had the pace when we were in clean air, but unfortunately got pushed back a bit at the start and had to fight back. I knew I had to push Andy [Lally] to gap Trent [Hindman]. Andy is amazing. It's awesome to be out there with someone from the WeatherTech series and learning from him as I'm driving. But it was full out all the time. Flat out throughout the entire race. I've got to thank everyone at DXDT. My driver coach, Jonathon Jorge with JJRD, Size Slim, MuscleEgg, and dEp PATCH and everyone for helping me improve every day at the track and away from the track. We start P2 tomorrow and we'll see what happens.
Once I passed Andy, I knew I had to push. Trent's been unbelievable all weekend in that Prestige car. I knew I had to push and he was there, but I trusted in myself and everything I've learned from my driver coach and everyone I've worked with from karting to now and tried to put that to work and was able to pull out my fastest lap of the race on the last lap with tires that were worn-out. Trent's an amazing driver and the whole time I was out there, it was hectic and I was learning as well. I can't thank Squadra Corse enough, as well for everything that they do in this amazing program."
YUKI HARATA (No. 55 Dream Racing Motorsport, winner, first Am):
"Yeah, it's getting better and better. I don't know-somehow, I started from ninth and after the first corner, I was fifth. That was a pretty good start. Before the start I was trying to manage the tires in the first stint to save for the second stint, but in that case I was between a Pro and tried to catch him to make a gap. The first stint, I had a big enough gap, but the second stint was getting closer and closer to the second guy. It was a tough race for me. So hot. It was amazing."
RYAN HARDWICK (No. 2 Dream Racing Motorsport, winner, first LB Cup):
"Back on top. It feels good. It feels good after the last round for sure. The race was good. It was a little bit easier than what I thought it was going to be. Too bad for J.C.[Perez] that he had the penalty. We had a good battle going in the first half of the race. I really enjoy racing with him. We've been together and back and forth all year. We battled for half the race and I was looking forward to another battle toward the end, but he had an unfortunate penalty, so that made it a bit easier on us today. But we'll take it. A win's a win."
2017 LAMBORGHINI SUPER TROFEO NORTH AMERICA SCHEDULE
Circuit of The Americas
June 29-July 1
Watkins Glen International
Watkins Glen, N.Y.
Elkhart Lake, Wis.
VIRginia International Raceway
Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari