Lamborghini ST: Ashton Harrison continues perfect record of podiums
Having scored her seventh and eighth consecutive podium in the ProAm class of Lamborghini SuperTrofeo, Ashton Harrison comes home from the Road America round with the class championship lead.
After winning the opening round of the 2022 Lamborghini Super Trofeo North American season, Ashton Harrison has scored a perfect streak of podiums ever since, as she leads the ProAm class in her fourth year in the series - alongside her rookie campaign in SRO GT World Challenge America.
Third in both the 2020 ProAm championship and the 2021 Am championship - in a solo campaign - the driver of the #25 Harrison Contracting Company with Wayne Taylor Racing Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo EVO2 is sharing driving duties with Tom Long in 2022, as they entered the fourth race meeting of the season in the points lead.
“I’m super pumped to be heading back to my favorite track in the U.S. where we had good success last year as a team", Harrison said ahead of the round at Road America, one of the most iconic North American racing venues. "I’m hoping to continue our run and extend Tom and my championship lead as we are halfway through the season."
"We’ve had a consistent string of podiums, and we want to climb back onto the top step! I feel that our team is quite capable of producing top results at Road America, so it’s now a matter of focusing and getting the job done.”
After a red-flag disrupted qualifying session, Harrison qualified in P6 overall and fourth in class. At the start of the first race on Saturday, Ashton held fourth place in ProAm, while Danny Formal led the overall field into Turn 1, followed by Liddy - also leader of the ProAm class - Piquet Jr and Kujala.
As soon as on the second lap, though, the Full Course Yellow was deployed when Levy (#13 O'Gara Motorsport / Change Racing) parked his Huracan Super Trofeo after leaving oil across the track. This resulted in a lengthy caution and the race only went underway with 20 minutes left on the clock, just as the pit window opened.
Harrison defended from Johnson and then pitted after one more lap from P4 in class to hand over to Tom Long. Positions settled and the race remained green when AM class leader O'Brien spun and rejoined. The second caution did eventually come out with 7 minutes to go, when Stewart and Tari made contact and spun in the grass at high speed. Muss also finished his race in the gravel at Turn 14.
Just before the neutralization, though, Tom Long had managed to snatch third place in class from Damon Ockey. Ahead, Giano Taurino (Taurino Racing by D Motorsports) had moved into the lead after Loris Spinelli's extended first stint and preceded Edoardo Piscopo and Kyle Marcelli in the Pro class.
The incident-filled race ended under caution, with John Dubets/Bryson Lew securing ProAm win, ahead of Carazo/Ortiz and Harrison/Long - who continued their perfect podium streak.
At her racing return after a few years' hiatus, Ashley Freiberg was fifth in ProAm, with a great recovery drive from the back of the field after a first lap incident to P16 overall.
In LB Cup, Charlie Martin and Jason Gagne-Keats took their first win in class after an outstanding first stint by the British racer.
Tom Long took the start of the second race - contested on Sunday afternoon in very different weather conditions: while the track had dried after the earlier rain showers, the track remained tricky as everyone lined up on the grid on slick tyres.
Johnson preceded Piquet and Marcelli in the overall classification until the first caution of the day saw Walker ending his race in the gravel as the first pit window approached.
The race went back to green with 30 minutes left and, with many drivers stopping for their pit stop, Long stayed out a couple more laps.
But there was major drama when sudden rain hit some of the corners of the 4.048-mile track: many cars were caught off and slid across the run off, some making contact with the barriers and some rejoining the track. With a perfectly-timed pit stop, WTR called in the #25 Harrison Contracting Huracan, sending Ashton Harrison back out in second place in ProAm and P3 overall.
"I knew we were going to hand Ashton a strong car when we made the switch", Long recalled. "It got wild on the in lap for me as it started raining and cars went off everywhere. I kept pushing and got into pit road all good, and had a phenomenal pit stop and Ashton took it home."
With more and more cars taking to the grass for the very difficult grip conditions, the race was red flagged and then resumed with 17 minutes left on the clock.
With the pit window now closed, the race leader Nelson Piquet Jr held a virtual first place but, not having served his pit stop, he would receive a penalty at the end of the race.
Behind him, Loris Spinelli and Joel Miller battled for the second place - and virtual lead of the race, while Ashton Harrison mixed up with the Pro cars, always retaining second in ProAm. While dropping to sixth overall, Harrison was in control of the class position and brought it home safely in second place in ProAm.
Spinelli and Miller battled on the final lap for the win but the Italian held on and crossed the finish line to take the win after Piquet was demoted to P22. Lew/Dubets, third overall, took ProAm honours. With a fantastic second stint in tricky conditions, Ashley Freiberg navigated through the field and moved from P21 to P8, completing a great pass on Liddy for third in ProAm in the closing stages.
In LB Cup, Charlie Martin and Jason Gagne-Keats were second despite an early spin. Keawn Tandon took class victory and P13 overall.
Having now scored their seventh and eighth consecutive podium in the series, Ashton Harrison and Tom Long continue to lead the ProAm points' standings,
"We're so thankful to finish P2 in our class and P5 overall with how much the weather changed throughout the race." - Harrison commented. "Even with rain tires on at the end, it was very slick out there. We were able to manage the tread of the tires with the various wet spots on the track, which was a challenge."
"I'm really happy for our Wayne Taylor Racing team and the Harrison Contracting Company Lamborghini to extend our points lead heading into VIR."
The final domestic double-header round before the Lamborghini World Finals is scheduled for 26/28 August, at VIRginia International Raceway. Harrison currently leads the ProAm standings by 2 points.