Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo World Final
The Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo World Final would also be held at Sebring, where Shinya Michimi and Kei Cozzolino would take on the best of the world’s Pro drivers from all three series – Super Trofeo Europe, North America, and Asia.
A hectic schedule started with a half hour warm-up on Saturday morning followed almost immediately by two qualifying sessions. Cozzolino took to the track for Q1, but was hit in the back and sustained damage to the rear diffuser, thus unable to set representative times and had to settle for 10th in class, 15th overall. With just five minutes separating Q1 and Q2, there was no time to work on the cars, so teammate Michimi suffered the same difficulties, and had to settle for 7th in class, 8th overall.
For Race 1 of the World Final, Cozzolino would start the race from the eighth row and worked to gain positions during his stint. Midway through the race, Cozzolino was running in 10th place in the Pro class when he came in for his pit-stop. Michimi took over and was able to run quick laps right out of the gate and had worked his way up to 5th in Pro class when he encountered a problem with the brakes. He attempted to hang onto position while nursing the car, but eventually the brakes failed completely. The crew radioed to bring the car in if it became too dangerous to drive, but Michimi wanted to stay out and try to earn points as much as possible. He bravely coaxed the car to the checkered flag and despite running 9 laps with no brakes at 12-15 seconds off the pace, managed to finish 9th in Pro class and to earn a championship point.
For Race 2, Michimi had set the 7th fastest Pro time in Qfy 2, so the #116 car would start from row four with Cozzolino at the wheel. For the first time all weekend, the fifty minute race was run without safety car interruptions. Cozzolino passed the #126 car for 6th during his stint and was chasing down the rest of the field when he was called in to hand over to Michimi. Michimi then proceeded to catch Enrique Bernoldi, the former F1 driver in the #1 car, whose experience showed as he proved to be very difficult to pass. After an exciting battle, Michimi managed to slide down the inside of Bernoldi at Sunset Bend to take the position. He then set his sights on Antinucci, and began running the fastest laps on the track during this late stage of the race. Michimi had managed to significantly close the gap to within 4 tenths of a second behind Antinucci, but unfortunately ran out of laps just before getting into striking distance. He brought the car home in 5th overall at the checkered flag.
Shinya: “Another promising but disappointing weekend similar to Nurburgring. These last two race weekends, we’ve really had a good car under us, but we didn’t seem to have luck on our side when we needed it. That being said, I want to thank the entire Vincenzo Sospiri Racing crew for all of their continued hard work throughout the season. They always give 100% to make sure that Kei and I have the best car possible to race with. I want to thank the team for giving me the opportunity this season to race in such a cool new racecar, and at some of the world’s most iconic race circuits. It’s difficult to choose a favorite out of the 6 tracks that we raced at. I also want to thank Lamborghini Squadra Corse for selecting me for their Junior Drivers Program, and I hope to continue to serve the brand into the future. And finally, thanks to my sponsors, family, fans and friends for their continued support in my racing career.”