Ashton Harrison rounds out Lamborghini ST career with Portimao Finals
"I’m looking forward to what the future holds. I’ll always be thankful to Lamborghini for getting me to this point in my career in GT racing" - Ashton Harrison celebrated her final weekend in Lamborghini Super Trofeo with consistent runs to P4 and P5 at the Portimao Grand Finals.
Ashton Harrison's fourth year in Lamborghini Super Trofeo came to a conclusion in Portimao, at the 2022 Grand Finals of the Italian single-make series, after another remarkable racing season.
A history-maker in 2019, when she won the World Finals at Jerez in the LB Cup, Harrison continued to race in the ProAm (2020) and Am (2021) classes of the Super Trofeo, alongside her quick rise in GT3 machinery that led the young woman to be crowned 2022 ProAm champion in GT World Challenge America.
Ashton Harrison and Tom Long had a great first half of the 2022 season in Super Trofeo North America, conquering one class victory and a streak of consecutive podiums that was interrupted at VIRginia International Raceway. The drivers of the Harrison Contracting bt WTR Huracan entered the final double-header of the regional championship third in the standings.
With two solid races, Harrison clinched two more class podiums, completing the season with a second and a third place in class. With 129 points scored across the 6 race weekends, Harrison/Long were third in the championship standings.
"We finished second in class in Race 1 and third in Race 2 in our Harrison Contracting Company with Wayne Taylor Racing Lamborghini, another double podium result to end a fantastic year" - Harrison said. "We had such a good championship fight, leading most of the way until a bit of bad luck and the end."
"It was our strongest year yet for the Harrison with WTR team and I’ve enjoyed every moment with Wayne Taylor Racing in my Super Trofeo years."
"I’m sad that the North America season is over, but I’m so excited for the world stage and to be sharing this with my coach, Tom", she added. "Hopefully we’ll bring home a world title, which has been a goal for my entire LST career. There was hard racing all season and I’m so proud of everyone who makes this possible!"
But there was one more challenge for Harrison, who announced that this weekend would have been her last in the series: the Grand Finals for the world title.
In Q1, Tom Long qualified fourth in class and 12th overall, while Ashton got behind the wheel for Q2 that would set the grid for Sunday's final race. She was P6 in ProAm.
GRAND FINALS - Race 1
With Pro-Am and Pro classes sharing the track, Nelson Piquet Jr took pole position for both races, ahead of European champion Loris Spinelli and Patrick Kujala in Q1. Kujala, though, saw his lap time deleted for track limits and had to start from the back of the pack, just like Iron Dames' Doriane Pin.
Nelson Piquet held first place ahead of Karol Basz at the start, following a brilliant double pass at Turn 1 by the Polish driver, who would be overtaken by Spinelli soon later. Spinelli then hunted down Piquet for the lead, in a brilliant battle for the top spot. On the first lap, the recovering Pin was involved in a contact with the #101 of Danny Formal, who then picked up a puncture.
When the #87 of Jean Francois Brunot stopped on track, the SC was deployed.
From P12, Tom Long moved into the overall top 10, slotting into eighth and third in ProAm, behind Basz and Williamson - and leading the North American entries.
The race resumed with 30 minutes to go, just as the pit window approached. Many drivers received track limit penalties - including third-placed and ProAm leader Karol Basz. Tom Long pitted as soon as the window opened, handing the wheel of the Harrison Contracting WTR Lamborghini Huracan to Ashton Harrison.
After the pit stops, Nelson Piquet found himself in traffic, allowing Loris Spinelli and Max Weering to retain the lead, ahead of Milan Teekens. Teekens tried to close the gap on his compatriot Weering, but also had to watch his mirrors from the fast charging Nelson Piquet.
Ashton Harrison dropped to P15, P5 in ProAm - but a shower of penalties for track limits to the drivers just ahead of the American kept her in contention for a podium in class. Harrison overtook Massimo Ciglia on track for P4 with 2 minutes to go, and tried to keep catching up with Antonin Borga.
Unfortunately, Ashton Harrison was 0.076 of a second short of the ProAm podium after Brendon Leitch's penalty was applied.
Weering kept his cool and won the first race of the Grand Finals, as Nelson Piquet took second when Teekens/Moretti were handed a 5 second penalty. Bryan Ortiz and Sebastian Carazo secured ProAm win, ahead of Daniel Pedrosa and Antonin Borga.
“The Grand Finals didn’t go our way this time, unfortunately" - Tom Long commented. "Our Harrison Contracting Company Lamborghini certainly had the pace to contend for the win thanks to the Wayne Taylor Racing team."
GRAND FINALS - RACE 2
On a sunny Sunday afternoon in Portugal, the best teams and drivers of the Lamborghini worldwide championships were ready to round out their season and battle for the most coveted title. Former F1 driver Nelson Piquet Jr shared the front row with Patrick Kujala, with Marcelli and Bonduel - the first of the European entries, just behind.
At lights out, Piquet had a great start and cleared the field, while Kujala and Marcelli fought for second in a side-by-side battle at the tricky downhill Turn 1. Ashton Harrison took the start for her final stint in the series from P20, sixth in ProAm - and slipped down to 7th in class during the first lap after being hit by several cars.
Piquet built a gap on Kujala, as the latter still had to keep Kyle Marcelli behind.
Ashton Harrison was also making ground on Emanuel Colombini, having moved up a few places in the overall classification. She then took the way of the pitlane midway through the race for her driver change - completing the last stint of her Lamborghini Super Trofeo career.
After the round of pit stops, Nelson Piquet held a comfortable lead over Danny Formal and Maurizio Moretti, while Patrick Kujala was down to fourth place.
In ProAm, class leaders Brendon Leitch and Gerhard Watzinger were passed by John Dubets after receiving a 5 second time penalty for track limits.
At the wheel of the #125 Harrison Contracting WTR Lamborghini, Tom Long recovered to fifth in ProAm after overtaking Watzinger, who was losing ground after a great first stint by Leitch.
Ahead, Danny Formal closed the gap to Piquet and, with 5 minutes left on the clock and prepared a move for the win - but was never close enough to actually attempting a pass.
After 50 minute of intense racing, Nelson Piquet Jr took victory from Formal/Marcelli and Moretti/Teekens. The result gave the Brazilian the world title in the Pro class.
In ProAm, Dubets/Lew took class honors and preceded the Vincenzo Sospiri Racing's duo of Colombini/Zonzini and the Oregon Huracan of Ciglia/Williamson. The title went down to the wire, as Bryan Ortiz and Sebastian Carazo would ultimately be crowned thanks to their fastest lap.
Ashton Harrison's four years in Lamborghini Super Trofeo came to a conclusion with a fifth place in class. While it was not the podium that she would have liked to finish with, Harrison proved once again great consistency throughout the two Finals.
"This was a heck of a way to end my Super Trofeo career. I’m so proud to have been a part of Harrison Contracting Company with Wayne Taylor Racing for these four seasons." - Ashton summed up.
New challenges now await in Harrison's future - and no doubt she will be ready to impress once again.
"It’s been amazing and I’m super thankful for all the opportunities they’ve provided", she continued. "I’m looking forward to what the future holds. I’ll always be thankful to Lamborghini for getting me to this point in my career in GT racing and I can’t wait to see everyone again soon!”