Ashton Harrison adds one more podium to 2021 Lamborghini ST campaign
Three class podium finishes and a win out of the first four rounds: Ashton Harrison continued to score good points for the championship in the 2021 Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America at VIR.
The 2021 Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America season made a visit to VIRginia International Raceway last weekend, after the event was added to the calendar due to a series of schedule changes.
At the season opener at COTA, Texas, the Lamborghini one make series marked a remarkable start of the season for Ashton Harrison: the driver of the #25 Harrison Contracting Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo EVO finished third in the Am category in the first race, and claimed a stunning victory in class in Race 2.
“Finally, a well anticipated win. I’m so thankful and so speechless." - she had commented after the first race. "I got out of the car and had so many emotions running through me. We worked so hard for this, and this is just the start of the season. It’s a great start. Wayne Taylor Racing has done such a good job setting up the car and I’m so thankful to my engineers, my coaches, and Harrison Contracting for supporting me. There are just no words to describe this. I’m really looking forward to VIR.”
Certainly a challenging and "old-style" racetrack, VIR is a driver-favourite and features a series of fast and flowing corners, elevation changes and not much room for error.
"I’m thrilled to be back at the track so soon after our first two rounds of the season." - added Harrison. "Having two podiums at COTA, one being a class win, I’m excited to have finished within the top 10 overall."
"My goal going into every race is to be the best I can be. We showcased that at COTA. I hope to do the same and even better going into VIR. Leading the points going into VIR is great, but I’m not getting comfortable. We still have eight rounds to go, and I want to be smart about my moves. My goal is to win the championship and I know I’ll have to work for it.”
In 2020, Harrison shared driving duties with Italian factory driver Andrea Amici and the duo finished third in the Pro-Am standings. Harrison wrote history when she became the first ever female driver to win a race in the Lamborghini World Finals in the LB Cup and added one more win and seven podium finishes to her name in 2020.
At VIR, Loris Spinelli and Claude Senhoreti claimed pole position for the first race of the weekend. Harrison qualified 14th overall, fourth in the Am category.
At the race start, though, it was Richard Antinucci in the #27 Dream Racing Motorsport's entry to leapfrog the pole-sitting car and led the race in commanding fashion throughout the 50 minutes of racing. The race was interrupted by two Full Course Yellows, but the 40-year old former IndyCar driver managed the restarts perfectly and took his second win of the season 6.5 seconds clear of Aghakhani/Eidson, who were second after a series of drive through penalties hindered the race of Spinelli/Senhoreti.
In Pro-Am, Brandon Gdovic and Bryan Ortiz took class honours after Gdovic charged through the field in a spectacular first stint, handing over to Ortiz in the lead after starting from 20th overall. The duo also came out on top two weeks ago at COTA, as they secured Race 1 Pro-Am victory.
Just as remarkable, was Giano Taurino's win in the Am class: the driver of the #88 Taurino Racing Lamborghini Huracan carved his way up the order after starting from the back of the grid due to a missing transponder. He led Alan Metni (Change Racing) and Martin Fuentes/Caesar Bacarella (TR3 Racing).
Ashton Harrison had a very difficult race and finished P26 overall - seventh in the Am class - due to a technical issue that forced her to pit twice with no chance for the Wayne Taylor Racing crew to fix the problem in pit road.
“The temperature was actually manageable for us and the car this morning for Race 1, we had a great start, the track was cool, and the cars were super-fast." - she explained.
"I felt we had really great pace after the pitstop and it was time to charge forward, but unfortunately on that first lap we had a mechanical. We had to come back to pit lane several times to figure out what the issue was and at the end of it we decided to just stay out and grab some valuable points."
Luckily, the second race would provide Harrison with a chance to end the weekend on a higher note.
Richard Antinucci got away from pole in Race 2, Jacob Eidson and Stevan McAleer.
Antinucci brought home the full amount of points after another perfect race on Sunday, as he built an early gap to the closest pursuers.
Mid-race, the #16 Change Racing Lamborghini of Stevan McAleer looked potentially able to close in on the leader and challenge the weekend dominator for Race 2 victory, but a mechanical issue eliminated McAleer from the competition - paving the way to Brazilian Sergio Jimenez in second place.
Antinucci, though, controlled the race from afar, as he built a safe margin before managing the equipment in the closing stages.
Steven Aghakhani and Jacob Eidson were third, finishing just one tenth of a second behind second placed Jimenez.
Bryan Ortiz and Brandon Gdovic were also unbeatable at VIR and took their third win of the season - second of the weekend - in ProAm. They preceded Capitanio across the finish line, having to hold on to their leadership in the final laps due to an unexpected issue.
17-year old Luke Berkeley claimed his first win in the series after enduring a tough first race on Saturday. The Dream Racing Motorsport's driver was able to pull away from Alan Metni (Change Racing) and took the chequered flag almost 18 seconds clear of the Am field.
Third in class was Ashton Harrison, who started from 15th overall and was able to make up some positions to finish eleventh - always maintaining the third spot in class.
After a gearbox change, the WTR driver was back to competitive pace and scored her third podium finish of the season out of the four opening rounds.
"From the time we came back from Race 1, the crew came back and worked exceptionally hard. From 9 a.m. ET – 2:30 p.m. ET they put in a new gearbox, and it became a rocket." - Ashton explained. "I’m so thankful for them. I’m looking forward to Watkins Glen later this month and excited to leave the heat in VIR."
"All I want to do is win and I want to win this championship. That can be done, so my plan is to win every single race moving forward.” - she added.
With 39 points, Ashton now sits third in the Am standings of the 2021 Lamborghini Super Trofeo North American championship, only 2 points behind leader Alan Metni.
The series will be back on track for the third race meeting of the season at Watkins Glen on June 24th.