Barber Motorsports Park – Friday Practice Notebook
The Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America 2019 championship officially got underway Friday at Barber Motorsports Park with a pair of 40-minute practice sessions.
The morning practice was run under cool conditions but that didn’t slow down the No. 9 USRaceTronics, Lamborghini Vancouver entry of Damon Ockey and Jake Eidson in the Pro-Am class. Ockey laid down the fastest lap of the session, and the day, at 1:23.840 (98.759 mph/158.937 kph).
Leading the Pro class was Super Trofeo North America newcomer Sandy Mitchell in the No. 1 Prestige Performance/Wayne Taylor Racing, Lamborghini Paramus entry. He was second overall with a lap of 1:24.258. The Pro class defending champion, Corey Lewis, had the third fastest time at 1:25.066 and his teammate, Richy Antinucci then took the honors in the afternoon session with a best in field lap of 1:24.455.
“This afternoon we decided to roll the dice and I got to start with the new tires,” said Antinucci. “Then I handed it over to Corey and he was also fast. It was a good day for us.”
Eidson continued the No. 9’s quickness in the afternoon with a class best time of 1:25.711. Others having the fastest lap in their class in the afternoon include McKay Snow (Am) at 1:25.992 and Ashton Harrison in LB Cup at 1:28.830.
“The car is doing great,” said Eidson. “We were P1 in practice and for starting off the season, you can’t really ask for much more. The USRaceTronics team is doing a great job.”
The first two rounds of the 2019 Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America series can be streamed live on IMSA.TV in the United States and squadracorse.lamborghini.com/live-streaming around the world, starting with Race 1 on Saturday at 2:50 pm EDT and Race 2 on Sunday at 1:55 pm EDT.
The races can be seen on NBCSN on Friday, April 19 at 1 p.m. EDT.
Dickinson Gets First Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama Season Off to Fast Start
Sixteen-year-old Texan Riley Dickinson got off to a quick start to his maiden Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama season.
How quick? He was P1 in the opening practice session of the season Friday morning in challenging damp-to-dry conditions at Barber Motorsports Park, site of this weekend’s season-opening doubleheader of races. It was Dickinson’s first official session aboard the No. 53 Moorespeed Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entry.
“We’ve done a lot of preparation coming into this weekend, so on that front, we feel pretty good,” Dickinson said this morning. “The first session is not really that good of an indication on how fast everyone else is, just ‘cause of the rain that was thrown into it, but it still feels good to come out of it P1. We’ll see how the rest of the weekend goes. So far, so good.”
He wound up second quickest on the day behind Max Root, who topped the afternoon time charts at 1:27.648 in the No. 7 Wright Motorsports Porsche.
The weekend calls for two, 45-minute GT3 Cup Challenge USA races. The first is Saturday at 5:30 p.m. ET, the second is Sunday at 12:55 p.m. ET. Both will be streamed live on IMSA.tv with an NBCSN tape-delayed telecast on Friday, April 19 at 12 p.m. ET.
Root Ready for Breakthrough in Second GT3 Cup Challenge USA Season
Root, a 20-year-old Californian, embarks on his second GT3 Cup Challenge USA season aboard the No. 7 Wright Motorsports entry in the Platinum Cup class. Last year, he was the IMSA Hurley Haywood GT3 Cup Scholarship recipient and finished fourth in the season championship standings.
He had five podium results during his rookie season but has yet to visit victory lane in the series. Judging by how he performed on Friday, that breakthrough win could be coming very soon, but it’s not going to be easy.
“There’s some great drivers here in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge,” Root said. “I think it’s one of the best places for drivers to develop and to learn the nuances of these Cup cars, which have no traction control, no ABS and just really it’s all driver. So, it’s a great place for drivers to develop. This weekend and the whole series, we have some amazing drivers, from open-wheel guys to guys in Cup cars for five or six years, so it’s pretty impressive.
“I think for me to take it to the next level, obviously, it’s spending more time in the car, working with the engineer and really getting the peak performance out of the Porsche every single lap for the race.”
Ferriol Poised to Move Up in Gold Cup
Last year in the GT3 Cup Challenge USA Gold Cup class for Porsche 911 GT3 Cup machines built between 2014 and 2016, it was mostly the Victor Gomez IV show. The Puerto Rican driver for NGT Motorsport won 11 races and cruised to the class championship.
But Gomez was a previous Hurley Haywood Scholarship winner and had a great deal of experience in the series, whereas Rob Ferriol – who finished second in the standings – was a GT3 Cup Challenge USA rookie in 2018 and had 11 class podiums of his own. This year, Gomez has moved up to the Platinum Cup class.
Ferriol led both Gold Cup sessions Friday at Barber, posting a best lap of 1:29.477 in the afternoon session aboard the No. 5 TPC Racing entry.
“I’m looking forward to – we’ve got a big field, so we’ve got some new guys out and also fighting with some old guys,” Ferriol said. “We’ll just see what I’ve got on my second year.
“Last year was my first year in a Cup car, so I was learning the Cup car platform and I was learning, probably, 60 percent of the tracks we went to. So, now I’ve got the car in the bag, I’ve got a lot of the tracks in the bag, so this year’s it’s really just refinement, working with my coach and doing testing.”