Saturday’s race began with the team’s Pro driver Patrick Kujala leading the 31-car field to the start in the Arrow-sponsored No. 50 Lamborghini of Beverly Hills entry. Kujala was passed by Danny Formal in car No. 1 going into the famous corkscrew, dropping the pole sitter back to second place. Despite not regaining the lead, Kujala and co-driver Edoardo Piscopo drove an exceptional 50-minute race, earning a second-place overall finish in the first race of the season. Kujala also turned the fastest lap of the race with a time of 1:23:745. Piscopo, just back from a 3-year hiatus from racing, had never driven this particular car, but much work was done to ensure that it suited his style and preferences. “[Senior Race Engineer] Peter Jacobs is very talented at bringing the best out of a car and driver,” says Piscopo. One of Jacobs’s focuses is minimizing the tire degradation that tends to plague this particular track.
Also notable was John Hennessy who, thanks to his standout results in practice, was bumped up from LB Cup to Am class. Hennessy, driving his Arrow-sponsored No. 33 Lamborghini of Charlotte car, finished second in his first foray in the more competitive class.
LB Cup drivers Ofir Levy and Jon Hirschberg took third place in their Mexiwood/Dakine-sponsored No. 13 Lamborghini of Rancho Mirage car. ProAm driver Damon Ockey, after a spectacular start, got hit and spun out at the top of the corkscrew, putting him 14 spots back. Unfazed, he charged back up the pack. Together with co-driver Patrick Liddy, the pair made up 18 spots, despite being tagged by another car at one point, ending up in fourth position in the No. 8 VF Engineering Lamborghini of Westlake entry.
Sunday was another successful day for USRT, with the team earning the overall win along with a podium finish in LB Cup. The second race began with ProAm driver Patrick Liddy on pole in the No. 8 VF Engineering-sponsored Lamborghini of Westlake car. Liddy drove a phenomenal first stint before handing the car off to co-driver Damon Ockey who drove a strong second-half of the race against some of the best drivers in the series.
Edoardo Piscopo, who started in seventh position driving the Arrow-sponsored No. 50 Lamborghini of Beverly Hills entry, moved up two places on the first lap. A yellow flag on Lap 7 kept him from advancing until mid-race. After a well-executed pit stop strategy and some fast in-and-out laps by both drivers, the car moved to second place overall once the mandatory pitstops were cycled through. Patrick Kujala made the big move on lap 24, slipping into the lead and holding it to the checkered flag, edging out Wayne Taylor Racing’s Danny Formal by a margin of 0.441 seconds for the win.
On Sunday tire degradation was worse, with dust and warm temperatures causing problems for drivers. Despite track issues, US RaceTronics / O’Gara Motorsport / Change Racing gained not just the Pro title but a second-place finish in LB Cup with drivers Jon Hirschberg and Ofir Levy. “It was a calm, no-stress race,” says Hirschberg. “Sometimes things can get a little frantic, but thankfully our team’s communication was seamless from start to finish.”
With the successful opening weekend under their belt, the US RaceTronics / O’Gara Motorsport / Change Racing team is now in first place in the Super Trofeo Pro Championship. The series will resume May 20-22 at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana.
Patrick Kujala – Co-driver of No. 50 Arrow Electronics / O'Gara Motorsport / Change Racing / US RaceTronics Lamborghini of Beverly Hills: “What a great start for the USRT team! All our drivers were in the hunt all race long. It’s a long season, and we plan on capitalizing on the momentum we’ve achieved here. That includes everyone on this world-class team. We want to thank our title sponsor, Arrow Electronics. I am proud to be part of the team.”
Edoardo Piscopo – Co-driver of No. 50 Arrow Electronics / O'Gara Motorsport / Change Racing / US RaceTronics Lamborghini of Beverly Hills: “After being out of racing for three years, it’s exhilarating to be back racing at this level. Having the support of a team like Arrow O’Gara/Change Racing/US RaceTronics makes it easy to concentrate on getting the job done. My thanks go out to Lamborghini Beverly Hills as well.”
John Hennessy - Driver of No. 33 Arrow Electronics / O'Gara Motorsport / Change Racing / US RaceTronics Lamborghini of Charlotte: “We had a couple of good, clean races. Fortunately, I narrowly avoided two accidents and had a great pit stop in the first race. There was good competition but limited drama for such a large field of cars, with no serious incidents. It was a fun weekend!”
Shane Seneviratne – US RaceTronics Team Owner: “This is a great start to our 2022 season. Apart from our drivers, much of the credit goes to our crew, who keep the cars running no matter what the circumstances. If they hadn’t been so well prepared, we could never have achieved these results. Our guys worked long days and got all the details dialed in with the new cars, which made our drivers more efficient on the track.”
“We wouldn’t have had had such a spectacular start to the season without the brilliant collaboration with Tom O’Gara of O’Gara Motorsport and Eddie Littlefield of Change Racing. I’m excited about growing our partnership in the coming seasons. I also want to thank Arrow Electronics for sponsoring the cars of John Hennessy, Patrick Kujala, and Eduardo Piscopo. VF Engineering and MexiWood are also vital parts of our team, and we’re grateful to them for their part in our success.”
Patrick Liddy – Co-driver of No. 8 VF Engineering US RaceTronics / O’Gara Motorsport / Change Racing Lamborghini of Westlake: “Despite some unwanted drama in race 1, we kept our heads down and stayed calm. Even if incidents kept us from getting where we want, it was a good race. If we can keep this level of preparation and execution for the rest of the season, our team will do very well this year. A shout-out to Lamborghini Westlake for the indispensable part they play on the team.”
Damon Ockey – Co-driver of No. 8 VF Engineering US RaceTronics / O’Gara Motorsport / Change Racing Lamborghini of Westlake: “You can’t control every factor during a race, and we were struggling to get where we felt we should have been. But the whole team is in a great position to make for that next time. It was a great weekend for the team!”
Ofir Levy - Co-driver of No. 13 MexiWood/Dakine US RaceTronics / O'Gara Motorsport / Change Racing Lamborghini of Rancho Mirage: “This is a weekend I’m not going to forget soon. It was great teaming up with John Hirschberg for my first professional podium finish. I’m also elated that we could make the podium despite such a very competitive field of cars. I want to thank the team and the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Series for the incredible racing we saw. Our generous sponsors Mexiwood and Dakine also deserve credit for the vital part they played in getting us the trophy. We’re definitely stoked for the rest of the season.”
Jon Hirschberg – Co-driver of No. 13 MexiWood/Dakine US RaceTronics / O'Gara Motorsport / Change Racing Lamborghini of Rancho Mirage: “We’ve been working hard for a long time, so it’s a thrill seeing it all pay off this weekend. It was a last-minute decision to co-drive with Ofir Levy, and I’m delighted that he gave me the opportunity to share in the victory. Even though I didn’t get a chance to do the pre-season test at Laguna, the team did an amazing job supporting us and bringing me up to speed. I want to thank the pit crew for executing a super-fast pit stop, which gave us a crucial advantage.”
Photos Courtesy of Jamey Price