Podium Finishes for All Four US RaceTronics’ Cars in Season Debut at Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course
- May 8, 2018
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- Posted by Bojana Nikolic
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Lexington, Ohio (Sunday, May 6, 2018) – US RaceTronics got off to a great start to the 2018 Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America season with podium finishes for all four cars. The day that started with solid qualifying sessions ended with all four cars coming home in the top-ten and all six of the team’s drivers standing on the podium. Edoardo Piscopo led the team by starting the race fourth overall and third in the Pro class in the No. 50 Lamborghini of Beverly Hills, while AM drivers Damon Ockey and Brian Thienes qualified second and third respectively in the AM class. Parris Mullins put the No. 88 Lamborghini of La Jolla on the pole in the LB Cup class and 11th on the starting grid.
Piscopo had a good start and strong first stint, moving the No. 50 up into third overall and second in class just before handing the car over to Taylor Proto on lap 16. Proto was pushing forward when a competitor spun, bringing out the yellow flag shortly after his stint began. There was some aggressive driving by several of the race leaders on the restart and while Proto remained in third overall, he came out of the restart third in class as well. It looked like he had a shot at getting the spot back, but a second yellow flag with just over two minutes to go in the race brought an end to a possible challenge for an even better finish. At the end of the day, both Piscopo and Proto were happy with their results and looking forward to the weekend’s second race on Sunday.
“Not bad for our first start,” Piscopo said. “We didn’t have a chance to test here before coming this weekend, so as a debut I’m quite happy with the pace. Taylor showed a great improvement from last year. We’re now a really strong duo to compete in Pro. Tomorrow we start from P1 in class and I’m looking forward to our second race here in Ohio.”
“Today was a really good race,” Proto added. “I’m really pleased with it. It was a good start to the season, putting it on podium. Great job to Edoardo and the rest of the crew. The car was a rocket and I’m looking forward to starting the next race P2 overall. I’m also looking forward to being the starting driver for Race 2. Brandon (Gdovic) made a really good move on me after the restart, but I think if we’d have had a bit more time we could have gained a couple more positions and maybe brought it home P1. We’ll just have to make up for it tomorrow.”
Good qualifying and a great strategy played into the AM class win for Canadian Damon Ockey in the No. 09 Lamborghini of Calgary. Ockey started the race P2 in class and eighth overall and drove a flawless first stint. With a pace barely off that of the Pro drivers in front of him and his competition ducking into the pits early, Ockey and his engineer, Peter Jacobs, decided to keep the No. 09 Evo on track as deep into the pit window as possible. The gamble paid off when Ockey, who dove into the pits mere seconds before the yellow flag closed the pits earlier than scheduled, came out of his pit stop first-place in class.
“What a great way to return to the series,” Ockey said. “I started eighth overall, P2 in class and ended up fifth overall and winning the class. It was a great race, really fun! I had a great car with really good pace and so we decided to stay out as long as we could in order to put down some fast lap times and hopefully build enough of a gap to come out of the pit stop ahead of our competition. The strategy worked and I was in a spot to stay with the leaders on the restart. At the end the five race leaders were all together and it could have been anyone’s race. It was a really fun race.”
In one of the more competitive classes, the team’s other AM driver, Brian Thienes, brought the No. 17 Lamborghini of Beverly Hills home on the podium as well. Thienes qualified third in class, but had moved up to second in class with only a few laps to go. Unfortunately for the Southern California driver, he was passed just before the second yellow of the race came out effectively ending his chances of regaining the second spot on the podium.
“I’m pretty happy with the results today,” Thienes said after the race. “Third-place isn’t exactly what I was looking for, but I feel the car has a good pace and I expect to have better results tomorrow. US RaceTronics gave me a great car and I’m confident that tomorrow will be even better than today was. I’m looking forward to another good race.”
The No. 88 Lamborghini of La Jolla had an excellent day from start to finish. Parris Mullins qualified the car first in the LB Cup class and ran a strong first stint to start the race before turning the car over to his co-driver, Mark Proto. Proto’s caution-filled stint wasn’t as much fun as it could have been, but with some solid driving on his part, Proto brought the car home for the class win.
“US RaceTronics delivered a great car to us,” Mullins said. “Mark did a great job during his stint. I feel bad and wish he could have gotten to drive a bit more, because it was under caution most of his stint, but nonetheless we walked away with a podium finish, which is a great way to start the season.”
“I have to agree with Parris,” Mark Proto added, “standing on top of the podium is great way to get the season going. Parris drove really hard, but still handed me a car with decent tires and good pace. I would have enjoyed a bit more green-flag racing, but I can’t complain about the result. I think we’ve got a great shot at winning again in the second race and I’m looking forward to starting that one. It should be fun.”
Team owner Shane Seneviratne was proud of his team’s results in the season-opener and happy for all six of his drivers as well as the crew.
“It was a good start for the season,” Seneviratne said. “Everyone had a good starting position and we were able to make the best of the situation and bring all the cars home on the podium. I’m glad everyone got the chance to get on the podium. We made a good call and got lucky with Damon to get him into the lead with the strategy on his pit stop. I’m happy that worked out. I’m looking forward to the next race.”