ELKHART LAKE, Wis. — Regarded as one of the best Lamborghini Super Trofeo drivers in the world, Loris Spinelli showed why during the first race of the North American series’ weekend at Road America on Saturday.
Spinelli rocketed from mid-pack at the start of the 50-minute race, interrupted by a pair of full-course cautions. He turned the No. 88 Taurino Racing by D Motorsports, Lamborghini Palm Beach Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo2 over to co-driver Giano Taurino on the mandatory pit stop.
Taurino exited the pits in the lead and held the spot from that point onward as the race finished under the second yellow. It marked the first pro class win for Taurino who totaled four Am class wins in his rookie season last year.
It’s the 10th North American Super Trofeo victory for Spinelli, with the first nine coming in the ProAm class where he captured the 2018 championship. Spinelli is also a three-time champion in the European version of the series.
Spinelli started 14th overall but moved up to seventh by the time the first caution came out on lap two — caused by a stalled car and fluids around the 4.048-mile road course. Following a lengthy period to clean the track, only 20 minutes remained when racing restarted.
Spinelli stayed on track as long as possible, turning lightning-fast laps on a clear track as the other pro competitors made their pit stops.
“I’m so happy the car was so strong,” Spinelli said. “I pushed the two laps when I saw all the other guys come in. I tried to push and do what I need to do to close the gap with the leader. And we did it. I’m so happy for the strategy and thanks to the team.”
Spinelli made his stop with 13 minutes remaining and Taurino came out in front, holding off the No. 50 of Edoardo Piscopo and the No. 1 of Kyle Marcelli until the second caution flag flew with seven minutes to go for a car stuck in the turn 14 gravel.
The No. 50 was penalized post-race for a short pit stop, moving the No. 1 to second place in the final standings.
“It was a lot of fun,” an elated Taurino said in victory lane. “You have to hate the yellow flags, but in the end, they helped us big time. I didn’t think this was going to happen so I don’t know how to really feel about winning for the first time this year. But I’m sure there’s more to come.”
In the ProAm class, Bryson Lew and John Dubets collected their third win of the season in the No. 46 Lamborghini Palm Beach Huracán. Unlike the pro winners, Lew was among the first to pit, with Dubets taking over and charging to the class win.
“Bryson put us exactly where we needed to be today,” Dubets said. “There was a lot of yellow out there, so once I got in, we needed to move forward. Our eyes were on P1 and once we got that done, we just kind of set cruise control, so to speak, and waited to see if the race would come back to us. Unfortunately, it ended under yellow.”
David Staab and Nikko Reger, co-drivers of the No. 48, also secured their third win of the season in the Am class.
It helped them extend their points lead.
“We still got quite dicey in the five, six laps we had,” Reger said, who drove the closing stint. “David put in a monster start and got us up to third. I hopped in the car and knew I probably didn’t have a ton of time left, so just got to work. The two guys in front of us got to a little rubbin’, we’ll say, [I] caught up to them and eventually snagged it. Having some fun in the sun.”
The LB Cup saw Charlie Martin and Jason Gagne-Keats celebrate their first series win in the No. 54 Lamborghini San Francisco Huracán. Martin avoided issues that some of the other LB Cup drivers had in the busy 31-car field and grabbed the class lead before pitting to hand the car to Gagne-Keats.
Both drivers were all smiles after collecting the milestone maiden win.
“Starting in sixth [in class], I knew we had a battle ahead of us,” Martin said, “but you never know what’s going to happen in the race. It all worked out for us. I pushed hard when the green flag came back on and Jason did a good job holding our position. It’s really, really cool.”
Gagne-Keats was even more emphatic about the victory.
“It feels fantastic!” he said. “We had a technicality at Watkins Glen that kept us off the top of the podium, so we’ll take it today.”
The second race starts at 2:55 p.m. (EST) on Sunday.