Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia goes Big in Japan

Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia heads to Japan this week for round three of the 2023 season at the 4.563km Fuji International Speedway in the foothills of the majestic, 3,776 metre Mount Fuji, the country’s tallest mountain. There, a talent-packed international entry of 38 drivers will campaign 21 Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo EVO2 race cars entered by 18 different teams across two, intense 50-minute encounters.

After two double-headers at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit and Australia’s The Bend Motorsport Park, Absolute Racing Kiwi duo Chris van der Drift and Marco Giltrap top the PRO leaderboard having taken three class wins in the Lamborghini Auckland car. Second in the PRO points is Xu Shenghui, who this time teams up with Max Wiser. Given the Italian’s decade of Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia success, having won the PRO-AM titles on two consecutive occasions, Xu could not wish for a stronger partner with whom to tackle the Fuji International Speedway.  

The PRO-AM pairing of Dan Wells and Oscar Lee have been a revelation this season with an unbroken run of four consecutive class wins. In the newly-badged DW Evans GT entry, the duo will be determined to retain their perfect scorecard in Fuji on the Lamborghini Osaka car’s home turf. However, just 16 points behind on the PRO-AM leaderboard are Jackson and Tony Walls. With four consecutive podium finishes, the Objective Racing father-and-son team will be on the hunt for their first win of the season in Japan, while Mikko Nässi and Ni Weiliang, who switch to Safehouse Racing and trail the Australians by just five points in third, will be equally determined to claim a victory. 

Having missed the Australian round, Vortex Orion Endurance PRO-AM drivers Benjamin Rouget and Luo Haowen will also be a threat as they aim to make up ground on the class leaderboard. Having proved he is a force to be reckoned with after a superb solo overall victory from pole in Australia, PRO driver Jonathan Cecotto reunites in Fuji with AM partner Li Qiang at Chinese squad TRT Racing.

The hardest-fought category thus far this season is the line-up of impassioned Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia AM drivers. The class has seen three different winners in four races so far, with Absolute Racing Thai pair Aniwat Lommahadthai and Pasarit Promsombat taking two pole positions, two podium finishes and a win in the Lamborghini Bangkok car to lead the points heading to Fuji.  Eight points behind is the impressive duo of Brian Lee and John Kwon. The SQDA – GRID Motorsport Korean rookies have taken two wins, one each in Malaysia and Australia, plus a podium finish in the Lamborghini Seoul car in only their first full season of motorsport competition.

Just four points separate the third to sixth placed drivers on the AM leaderboard. Another revelation this season has been the Triple Ace Racing Hong Kong pair of Henry and Eric K, with two podium finishes in Adelaide on an unfamiliar circuit putting them third on the leaderboard. Popular Thai driver Suttiluck ‘Bobby’ Buncharoen, driving solo for True Visions Motorsport Thailand, is just a single point behind the Hong Kong contingent, while Iron Lynx AM entry of Jason Loh and Mark Darwin are fifth, two points behind the Thai. In sixth place, a single point behind, are BC Racing’s Johnson Huang and Vincent Tai from Chinese Taipei. China’s Kang Zhilong and Ray Lu, in the second TRT Racing Lamborghini, can be expected to bounce back strongly from a DNF setback in Australia.

Twenty-five points cover the four teams competing for the hotly-contested Lamborghini Cup title, with seasoned Super Trofeo Malaysian Kumar Prabakaran leading the way in the second Iron Lynx entry. Two wins and two runner-up finishes in four races give Prabakaran a 12-point advantage over Siamgas Corse’s Supachai Weeraborwornpong. Third lie Kam Lung Racing’s Dr. Ma and Keith Wong of Hong Kong, ahead of Malaysian brothers Hairie and Haziq Oh of Malaysia with HZO Fortis Racing Team.

Joining the series in Japan are newcomers 16-year-old Gavin Huang and David Ryo of Chinese Taipei entered by Korean squad Racegraph. Gavin has an impeccable racing pedigree as the son of BC Racing’s Johnson Huang, and is in his first season of competition having graduated from gokarts. He and Ryo are contesting their domestic TCR series this season, with Huang Junior recently taking his debut class win. Ryo, meanwhile, has successfully competed in circuit racing, gymkhanas and drift competition since 2014, taking multiple titles along the way.

Also joining the series, this time as a guest entry, for round three is Japan’s Jun Tashiro, who makes a welcome return having competed for three consecutive seasons from 2017, finishing sixth in the Am class in 2019.  Joining him at Promotion Racing is 27-year-old Japan Super GT driver Shunsuke Kohno, who brings a wealth of experience having successfully contested junior single seaters before turning his formidable talents to GT racing.

While the entire field will be going all out for silverware and championship points, three drivers will be under increased scrutiny. Marco Giltrap, Jackson Walls and Xu Shenghui have recently been confirmed as 2023 Super Trofeo Junior Drivers. The trio are amongst 26 Super Trofeo Juniors selected for the season-long assessment program for drivers aged 25 or under who compete in one of the three regional Lamborghini Super Trofeo championships. The drivers are assessed across a broad range of areas throughout the season with the most impressive selected by Program Supervisor Raffaele Giammaria to take part in an end-of-year shootout at Vallelunge in Italy, with the chance to earn factory support from Squadra Corse during the 2024 season.

Round three of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo gets underway on Friday, July 14, with two hour-long official free practice sessions. Two 15-minute qualifying sessions follow on Saturday, with race one starting at 15:30 local time (all times UTC+9). Race two follows at 11:35 on Sunday. Both races will be live-streamed via the Lamborghini Squadra Corse YouTube channel.

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