US Racetronics Drivers Battle Rain and Heat at NOLA Motorsports Park for Lamborghini Super Trofeo Second Weekend

US RaceTronics/Change Racing Earn LB Cup Win and Two Podiums Despite Challenges

Monrovia, California (Wednesday, May 25, 2022) – New Orlean’s traditional heat, rain, and humidity were on full display during the second weekend of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America series at NOLA Motorsports Park in New Orleans. Tire issues and some bad luck in the pits kept the team from duplicating their impressive Laguna Seca debut, although the team did have two podium finishes and one class win by the end of the weekend.

“It was 91 but felt like at least 100,” said No. 33 car driver John Hennessy about the practice rounds. By race day morning the mercury had dropped a few degrees, but heavy rain showers, strong winds and potential lightning strikes forced a two-hour delay for Race 1. Once the rain subsided the race began with all cars running rain tires. Drivers were allotted two observation laps to scope out the driest path.

In the pro class, Patrick Kujala in No. 50 car began in No. 3 position on the grid and was leading the pack by the eighth lap. During a pit stop to change back to slicks, a gun malfunction robbed co-driver Edoardo Piscopo of a full minute. Nevertheless, he came up from behind and by lap 19 was back holding firm in third place.

“On the No. 50 car we struggled getting the right setup for the weekend,” says US Racetronics Team Owner Shane Seneviratne. “Without the perfect car, we didn’t have the pace to garner a win, but they did a good job getting on the podium.”

A drive through penalty cost No. 8 car driver Patrick Liddy what might have been another podium. As it was, he and co-driver Damon Ockey made fourth place. John Hennessy in Car No. 33 lost five positions on a lap 7 spinout, and struggled to regain them, having put in limited time driving his Lamborghini in the rain.

Some drivers switched from rain tires to slicks, risking the setback of a second pit stop in order to boost their lap times. This was not always a wise choice. “In hindsight, if we’d left on rain tires for entire race, we’d have gotten a better result,” says Seneviratne. “Normally teams are not set up for pit stops, and the ones that chose not to take the gamble benefited at the end. It turns out that the rain tires were capable of finishing the race.”

That was not an option for the No. 50 car, however, as severely worn rain tires were costing the car about 15 seconds in lap time. Despite treacherous conditions, the yellow flag stayed away until a spinout forced one in the last three laps of the race.

Sunday gave the teams an unexpected break from rain, but wind, heat and humidity were still piling on challenges. Two laps in, after a clean start, Patrick Liddy’s Car No. 8 was hit from behind, forcing a yellow flag and taking him out of the race.

Ofir Levy in Car No. 13 managed to pull ahead of the rest of the LB Cup drivers by lap 17 and hold his place, gaining his first class race win ever. Patrick Kujala pulled a surprise finish, edging past Giano Taurino and Bryan Ortiz on the last lap to gain his second podium of the weekend.

The Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America series resumes June 23-26 at Watkins Glen International.

Quotes

Shane Seneviratne, US Racetronics Team Owner: “It was a pretty tough weekend, and overall the team didn’t perform as we’d hoped. However, we walked away with two podium finishes, and we’re very happy for the win in the No. 13 car driven by Ofir Levy and Jon Hirschberg. I want to thank the drivers and crew for their hard work. We’re going to regroup and come back much stronger at Watkins Glen.”

Edoardo Piscopo – Co-driver of No. 50 Arrow Electronics / O’Gara Motorsport / Change Racing / US RaceTronics Lamborghini of Beverly Hills: “We struggled with pace all weekend, and our limited testing this season may have been a factor too. Despite our issues, we brought home two 3rd place trophies. Moreover, during Race 2 we started in 11th position and worked our way through an extremely competitive field, passing two cars on the final lap to secure our podium finish.”

Ofir Levy – Co-driver of No. 13 MexiWood / Dakine / O’Gara Motorsport / Change Racing / USRT Lamborghini of Rancho Mirage: “I got a good start and tucked it inside at turn 1 and kept pushing the car to maximize the grip level. At turn 3 I was able to dive in and pass the leader, and then gain another three positions overall. From there I just focused on managing the gap, hitting my marks and controlling the grip level through my traction control settings. This was my first-ever full stint race, and the hot and humid conditions definitely tested my mettle. Getting this first place finish is a culmination of all the hard work the USRT team, my teammate Jon Hirshberg and I have put in to making me one happy guy!”

                                                                                                  *Photos Courtesy of Jamey Price

About US RaceTronics

US RaceTronics (USRT) was founded by Shane Seneviratne in 2005 to compete in the Atlantic Championship, a formula race car series. The team finished 5th in points its first year and continued its success during the succeeding years, ultimately amassing a total of 21 podiums, 7 poles, 5 race wins and finishing 3rd in the 2009 Atlantic Championship. USRT was put on hold after series officials announced the Atlantic Series was put on hiatus.

Seneviratne fully returned to racing in 2015 after receiving an invitation to manage the O’Gara Motorsport entries in the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North American (LBSTNA) Series. The team won the Team Championship, Dealership Championship, Pro Championship and Amateur Championship that season.

The success of 2015 reignited Seneviratne’s passion for racing and he relaunched US RaceTronics to compete in the 2016 LBSTNA Series. The team has won multiple North American and World Championships and expects to add to their success as they enter their seventh season in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North American Series.

For more information on how to become a driver with US RaceTronics, learn more about the Series, or attend a race, visit www.usracetronics.com.

About O’Gara Motorsport

O’Gara Motorsport was founded in 2014 by owner Tom O’Gara and celebrated winning the 2015 North American Lamborghini Super Trofeo driver and team Championships. The team goal is to achieve victories in the Series as well as showcasing the brands of their sponsors both on and off the track. With a vertically integrated platform that starts at the dealership and accelerates to the top levels of professional sports car racing, everyone at O’Gara is dedicated to providing a comprehensive program for anyone, from the casually curious to the dedicated racer.

About Change Racing

Founded by Lamborghini Charlotte CEO and long time real estate developer, John E. Littlefield, Change Racing is the premier championship winning team. Claiming 18 titles in various classes; Change Racing has competed in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Series since its inception in 2013.

Most recently claiming the 2021 Amateur World Championship in Misano, Italy. Change Racing also claimed all SIX 2020 North American Championships, including the Pro, Pro-Am, Am and LB Cup class championships as well as the Team and Owner championships.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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