By Jan Wagner
When we think of exotic supercars, including Lamborghinis, many of us may associate them with the lifestyles of celebrities and the very rich. We may think that these cars are rarely driven hard (as they were meant to be driven) and, instead, are mostly seen parked in high visibility, preferred valet parking spaces directly in front of exclusive hotels and expensive restaurants.
Automobili Lamborghini is changing that perception, both in the minds of the general public and also among those who already drive or who may be considering Lamborghini automobiles. To learn more, AutoMatters sat down and talked with Pete Macfarlane of Vivacity (“Serious Brand Entertainment”) at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.
Through structured and well run Lamborghini driving events, drivers are progressively taught how to responsibly enjoy their thoroughbred supercars. Think of it like a pyramid. At the base you have “Esperienza,” which is where potential customers come in, try out the cars and get introductory instruction on a racetrack from Lamborghini drivers in the Aventador and Gallardo road cars.
The next level up is what they call “The Academy.” That is for those who are thinking about racing Lamborghinis, and getting more involved with the brand and the cars. Typically drivers participate in a two-day event where they are taught car control and push the cars to their limits. That might be on a racetrack, or on ice in Colorado where they can learn about taking advantage of the cars’ four-wheel-drive capabilities.
At the top of the pyramid is the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Series, sanctioned by IMSA. Billed as “the world’s fastest one-make series,” “gentlemen racers” and experienced professional race drivers compete on some of the most famous, iconic racetracks in the world. Their Lamborghini is a lightweight, four-wheel-drive version of the Gallardo LP 570-4 with 570 horsepower.
Each race weekend consists of two fifty-minute races. There is no refueling but, depending on the nature of the particular tracks, there may be tire changes.
There are two classes: an amateur class for the gentlemen racers and a professional class. They race on the track at the same time.
Drivers may enter individually or in teams of two, so if you and your buddy wanted to go racing, you could share the cost of the car and the expenses of the race weekends. To facilitate this, during each race there is a mandatory 45-second pit stop. That provides sufficient time for the two-driver teams to complete a driver change. It is likely that in 2014 one of the team’s drivers might be a gentleman racer and the other a professional.
This increasingly popular, worldwide racing series was launched in Europe in 2009. Drivers there race wheel-to-wheel on such legendary tracks as Spa-Francorchamps, Monza, Silverstone, Paul Ricard, Hockenheim and the Nürburgring.
In 2012 the series expanded into Asia. Venues have included Shanghai, Macau and Fuji International Speedway, with race teams from Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Japan.
2013 marked the series’ debut in North America, with events at Lime Rock, Kansas City, Calaboogie (Canada), Virginia International Raceway and the season finale at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. This double-header was held in conjunction with the IndyCar season finale.
Kevin Conway of Lamborghini Carolinas and Change Racing won the series championship. His background is NASCAR stock car racing. In 2010 he was the Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year.
Tom O’Gara, representing Lamborghini Beverly Hills and GMG Racing, took first place in the amateur class.
This year there were typically 12 to 14 cars on the North American grids, which is about where things stood when the series began in Europe. Now they are up to about 20-plus cars in Europe. In 2014 look for North American fields to increase to 18 to 20 cars.
For more information about the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Series, go to:
and then click on the Super Trofeo link. If you are considering racing in this series, contact a Lamborghini dealer. That dealer will then put you in touch with a race team who will help you manage your car throughout the race weekends. You can either buy your car or lease it. A ballpark price for a race weekend is around $35,000. Depending on the arrangements you make with your dealer, you may not necessarily have to commit to racing the entire season.
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Copyright © 2013 by Jan Wagner – #309