Charlie Martin clinches first Lamborghini Super Trofeo class win at Road America
British racer Charlie Martin clinched her first win in Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America after a brilliant race 1 in Road America - before adding a second place on Sunday, where the drivers of the #54 Dream Racing Lamborghini survived a chaotic race in mixed weather conditions.
British racing driver Charlie Martin is contesting her first North American campaign in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo LB Cup class - and the first half of the season was nothing short of impressive, with a class podium at debut at Laguna Seca, a pole position and fastest lap at NOLA Motorsports Park, as well as another pole position and a second podium at Watkins Glen.
Martin shares driving duties with Canadian driver Jason Gagne-Keats, at the wheel of the #54 Dream Racing Motorsport's Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo2.
“Can’t wait to tackle this legendary US track with Jason and the Dream Racing team this week!" - Martin said prior to the fourth round of the season at Road America, one of the drivers' favourites across the US. "We've had really good pace all season and some strong results to go along with it which is really promising as we head into the final few rounds."
Martin and Keats entered the race weekend in fourth place in the points' standings.
"Now we just need to maximise our points scoring potential and keep pushing our way up the standings!"
After a red-flag disrupted qualifying, Charlie Martin lined up in sixth place in LB Cup for Race 1, while Keats would grab fifth for the second race of the weekend.
In extremely hot weather conditions on Saturday, the first 50-minute race went underway relatively clean for most of the 36-car field and Charlie Martin was soon on the move.
Unfortunately, only a handful of laps had gone by when the first Full Course Yellow was deployed - the #13 Huracan of Levy parked trackside with technical issues, having left oil on track.
Track marshals tried to clean several sections of the track and the race remained under yellow for most of the first half of the race. Action resumed with 20 minutes to go, with the pit window opening. Most of the cars pitted for their mandatory pit stop, while Charlie Martin extended her stint and, with impressive lap times, she climbed the order.
Having gained the class lead and P6 overall, Martin set the fastest lap of the race and then took the way of the pitlane to hand over to Jason Keats - who could rejoin the race in first place in LB Cup.
Meanwhile, Giano Taurino (Taurino Racing by D Motorsports) had seized the overall leader of the race after the driver change, passing the #1 WTR entry of Marcelli, after Danny Formal had led the opening stages behind the Safety Car.
Multiple incidents saw several cars spinning, making contact and ending in the gravel. Jason Keats had a very strong run, avoided the chaos unfolding and held on to first place in class.
When Stewart and Tari made contact and spun in the grass at high speed, the caution was out once again with 7 minutes left on the clock - and the race would end behind the pace car.
Taurino/Spinelli took the overall win from Marcelli/Formal and Piscopo/Kujala; Lew/Dubets claimed ProAm win ahead of Carazo/Ortiz and Harrison/Long - the latter continuing a streak of seven consecutive class podiums.
Charlie Martin and Jason Keats survived a difficult race to secure their first LB Cup win of the season, ahead of Scott Schmidt (#38 TPC Racing) and Keawn Tandon (NTE Sport).
“Winners at Road America! It feels really special to get our first win of the season and especially after such a tough race - P6 to P1 in class with safety cars, oil everywhere, and over 90 degrees heat to deal with." - Charlie Martin summed up.
On Sunday afternoon, conditions had changed dramatically from Saturday: while the rain showers that had marked the IMSA race had stopped and the track had mostly dried, conditions remained tricky.
From fifth on the LB Cup grid, Jason Gagne-Keats had a great getaway and, by the third lap of the race, he had moved into fourth place. An off-track excursion from the #77 Lamborghini of Walker brought out the first caution; at the restart with 30 minutes to go, several teams opted to pit for their driver change. Keats handed over to Charlie Martin from fourth in class - just as chaos unfolded on track: a sudden rain shower in specific areas of the track resulted in cars drifting off track and ending in the barriers. While most were able to rejoin, Forty7 Motorsports' teammates Walker and Muss crashed heavily in the tyre barriers.
After a few laps behind the Safety Car, the race was red flagged with 17 minutes to go. Charlie Martin, meanwhile, had managed to keep the #54 Lambo on track and had moved into third place in class before the interruption.
There was drama for the overall leader Nelson Piquet Jr, as he missed the pit window and thus could not serve his pit stop before the restart. The incident resulted in a penalty for the former F1 racer that dropped him to P22 at the end of the race.
The final minutes were just as tricky, with cars sliding all over the place. Spinelli battled with Miller for second place overall - which would become the virtual lead of the race - and the Italian could get ahead after his rival had a slow exit from the final corner on lap 14.
With a perfect pit stop, Ashton Harrison was up to second place in ProAm, behind Bryson Lew.
Despite a spin in the latter stages, Charlie Martin was able to seize second place in LB Cup and had charged through the field up to P17 overall.
After 19 laps of a very hectic second race, Charlie Martin crossed the finish line in second place in class, collecting the second podium of the weekend - and a good amount of points for the championship.
Martin/Keats were in fact able to advance from fourth to second in the LB Cup points' standings - only 3 points behind the championship leader - with two rounds left on the 2022 schedule.
"Another strong result on Sunday saw us collect a P2 which makes it a really great points haul for us" - Charlie Martin said. "Mega job from Jason all weekend and the whole team at Dream Racing - roll on VIR in a few weeks' time!"
The fifth round of the North American Lamborghini one-make series will in fact take place from 26/28 August at another fast and undulating track: VIRginia International Raceway, before the Lamborghini World Finals at Portimao in October.