03/11/2011 Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo 2011: Season finale
Last weekend saw the famous Circuit de Catalunya race track play host to the season finale of the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo, the fastest one-make race series in the world. And the winner was…
…Cédric Leimer, gentleman racer for the Swiss-based Garage R.Affolter team. This year’s Pro-Am title went right down to the wire (with the Pro title secured by Fabio Babini in the previous race), which illustrates the competitiveness shown by the top amateur drivers across the six race weekends and 18 races. Over the three heats, Leimer achieved one race win and two second-place finishes, allowing him to pull clear of Matteo Zucchi and Gerhard Tweraser in the championship. Leimer’s achievements even surpassed his own expectations: “I’m really surprised to have won the title; at the beginning of the weekend I was hoping to finish second or third.”
Even before the weekend’s racing was underway, the future of the Super Trofeo had already been secured: the one-make series – in which professional and amateur drivers compete side by side – has enjoyed its third successful year, and was confirmed to continue for at least another two seasons. The announcement was made by Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann and Mark Hayek, CEO of event sponsor Blancpain and himself a successful Trofeo racer. The two companies have not only agreed to extend the series for another two years, but also announced that an Asian series will run alongside the European championship. For Lamborghini, the event is not just a service to motorsport clientele, but also an ideal stage to showcase the performance of the mid-engined, road-going version of the Gallardo LP 570-4 sports car, on which all competition vehicles are based.
The 2012 European championship will again be held across six weekends, with events at Silverstone, Paul Ricard, Spa-Francorchamps, Hockenheim and Barcelona, plus a sixth round at a yet-to-be-decided Italian track. The Asian series makes its debut in April, beginning with a trial race in Sepang, Malaysia, with the first race scheduled in May. By November, races will have taken place at Motegi in Japan, the Chinese race tracks of Ordos, Zhuhai and Shanghai, and in Taiwan. Lamborghini considers Asia to be an important market, and CEO Stephan Winkelmann reports interest and tremendous growth potential in Asia, especially China. How the Asian market responds to the Italian racing series remains to be seen, but when the motoring journalists from China, Taiwan and Japan were given the news, one of the races had to be delayed for several minutes, as they needed to be assured that it wasn’t a prank.
The technical specifications of the 570HP Super Trofeo race car are the same in Europe and Asia – however, with the expected high temperatures in some of the Asian races, the cars will be given air-conditioning. Additionally, the cars will also be given a single locking wheel nut for faster pit stops in endurance races, although tyre changes in the Super Trofeo will remain prohibited. The final details of the series are currently being discussed between sponsors, teams and drivers, and in future the drivers will be given more time on the track to familiarise themselves with the circuit. There will also be a revision to the driver categories.
The Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo is not only the fastest one-make race series, it is also a travelling Lamborghini experience: in the paddock, new road cars such as the Aventador and road-going Gallardo Super Trofeo Stradale – derived directly from the race car – were on display, while inside the hospitality tent, entertainment was provided by an extremely realistic racing simulator. Add to that the finest Italian catering, and it was one race weekend where you occasionally forgot you were in Spain and not Italy – probably the best indication of successful brand management.
If you would like to take part in next season's Super Trofeo, you can visit www.supertrofeo.com for more information. You can also find a suitable car in the Classic Driver Marketplace: the successful Garage R. Affolter currently has its bright green Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 SuperTrofeo from the current season up for sale.