2016 Dec. 1st-2nd Circuit Ricardo Tormo Valencia (Spain) – Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America (Rounds 11 & 12)
It was Richard Antinucci who scored the win in Friday’s round 11 of the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America series in Valencia. Antinucci took the No. 116 Change Racing Lamborghini Huracán to a 39.765-second victory over the No. 146 DAC Motorsports entry of Brandon Gdovic in a distant second. It came after a late-race incident for series champion, Shinya Michimi, who fell from second to fifth but charged back up to third at the checkered flag to take the final step on the overall podium.
That afternoon, it was Richard Antinucci who would again take the win in Round 12, the season finale for Lamborghini Blancpain ST North America. The former open-wheel ace and nephew of Indy 500 winner, Eddie Cheever, crossed the line 21.744 seconds ahead of Shinya Michimi in the No. 101 Prestige Performance Lamborghini Huracán LP 620-2.
The No. 107 Dream Racing entry of Cedric Sbirrazzuoli, who started second, was able to challenge Pole sitter Antinucci early on. Series champion Shinya Michimi dropped all the way back to 15th following contact between him and Sbirrazzuoli at the start. But Michimi would later rebound and charge through the field to take second, with the No. 212 Aran Racing Lamborghini of Toshiyuki Ochiai and Afiq Yazid taking the final spot on the podium, finishing third overall.
Prestige Performance teammates Craig Duerson and Trent Hindman, having finished 4th overall in race one and 7th overall in race two, did what they set out to do and earned the points needed to win the Pro-Am Class Championship in Lamborghini Blancpain ST North America.
2016 Dec. 3rd-4th Circuit Ricardo Tormo Valencia (Spain) – Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo World Final
Shinya Michimi and Prestige Performance did not get the kind of qualifying results they had hoped for and would have to start race one 18th overall and race two 16th overall. With so many cars on the circuit, it was often difficult to get clean laps. Michimi knew he had his work cut out for him as it would be difficult in such a competitive field to overcome such a deficit in the race.
In the end, it was Europe’s Vito Postiglione who took the win in a penalty-inflicted and attrition-filled race. Europe’s Dennis Lind took over second following engine failure for the pole sitter, Loris Spinelli, who led the opening stint ahead of Postiglione, but stopped on track with 9 minutes remaining. North American competitor Richard Antinucci would inherit the last spot on the podium, finishing third overall. Michimi would end up finishing 6th in Pro class; and would be the second highest finishing driver from the North American contingent behind Antinucci.
Race two saw Europe’s Dennis Lind take the win and the overall World Final title in a dramatic, rain-soaked race that ended under the safety car. After a race long battle, Lind was able to take the lead from pole sitter Loris Spinelli with six minutes remaining, just one minute before the safety car came out due to two cars being off-course. This essentially froze the field, allowing Lind to take the title. Spinelli finished second, with race one winner Vito Postiglione finishing in third, making it an all Europe podium.
North America’s top qualifier, Richard Antinucci, who started in sixth, lost control in the extremely wet conditions and drove into the gravel 14 minutes into the race. Shinya Michimi, who had started back in 16th, managed to keep it on the track and would end up getting the best finish of the North American drivers in race two, working his way up to a 7th place finish in Pro Class. Michimi would end up tied for 6th with Europe’s Nicola de Marco in the overall World Final Pro Class standings. Prestige Performance teammates Trent Hindman and Craig Duerson finished 9th in the overall World Final Pro-Am Class Standings.
Shinya: “This weekend didn’t quite turn out like we had hoped. We struggled a bit and just couldn’t quite get everything to fall into place. For the final two rounds of the North America series, all focus was on trying to secure the Pro-Am championship and to try to learn as much as possible for the World Finals. Very happy for teammates Trent and Craig, who were able to take the Pro-Am Championship, so the team was successful in doing that.
We knew the competition would be tough for the World Final, and that the North America and Asia teams would be at a disadvantage coming in, with the European teams having been able to test prior at Valencia. But we had hoped to do better. The heavy rain and extreme conditions probably helped us, since rain usually helps level the playing field. But we had started so far back due to our qualifying results, that it was probably not going to be possible to challenge for the World Final win.
All and all, it was a great experience. We had an amazing season, with Prestige taking the Overall Pro Championship, the Pro-Am Championship, the Team Championship and the Dealership Championship. It was a dominant year for Prestige in what was only their second year running the series. Those are incredible results, and it really just speaks to how great this team really is. I have to thank everyone at Prestige Performance Wayne Taylor Racing for such a great year. It has truly been a privilege to work with this team.”