Monrovia, California (Thursday, November 1, 2018) – US RaceTronics finished 14th overall and first in their class in the team’s first foray into endurance racing this past weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Fielding the youngest driver in the field of 33 cars, the Southern California based team came and conquered the challenges they faced by stepping away from sprint racing for their first Pirelli World Challenge race.
Team owner Shane Seneviratne was extremely pleased with the successful transition by both the crew and the drivers. Seneviratne put together a strong team of drivers and it paid off nicely for him.
“It was a very successful race weekend for Steven Aghakhani making his debut in a high-level GT race,” Seneviratne said. “It was a pretty well executed race by the team as well. The crew put in a lot of hard work and I want to thank everyone for their efforts. Steven started the race and drove a very strong first stint. Then Richard Antinucci took over the driving duties. He did an excellent job throughout his stint, so did Taylor Proto. I want to thank both drivers for supporting Steven and the team’s efforts to have a successful race. We’re looking forward to regrouping and learning from what we experienced as a team. This was our first endurance race, but we’re looking forward to having more opportunities to do endurance racing as a team. I want to thank Armik Aghakhani for giving us the opportunity and trusting us to provide Steven with the best opportunity possible. I’m glad that we had a very good outcome for him and successful race weekend overall. Coming in 14th overall out of 33 cars and winning our class… I couldn’t be happier.”
15-year-old rookie sensation Steven Aghakhani had an amazing time in his first endurance race and reveled in the experiences he gained throughout the weekend.
“Summing up the weekend, I would say that it was really fun and probably one of the most intense race weekends that I’ve ever got to experience, because we were going against actual GT cars rather than other spec cars,” Aghakhani said. “It was a lot more fun and definitely a bigger challenge that the entire team had to face together, but by all working together and cooperating we were able to get through it successfully. Working with Taylor and Richie was probably one of the best experiences I’ve ever had with other drivers and teammates because we had such great chemistry both on and off the track. They made it fun. It was definitely a little hard to adapt to the endurance racing because our team, including myself, are so used to doing sprint races that having to prepare for this definitely took a lot of time and effort.”
“The race itself was a really fun experience, especially since I had the chance to start it and finish it, along with driving in the middle,” Aghakhani added. “It was really good to experience going up against a different set of cars and not always being the fastest car on track or having the exact same car, because of the challenge you have to face because you go against different cars while having to worry about staying out of the way of others because of the speed differences and BOP (balance of performance). Our biggest thing was making sure to keep the car safe and stay out of trouble. I’m definitely happy with our class win and 14th-place overall finish this weekend. It was definitely a fun experience and something that I really loved being able to do. I can’t thank my sponsors enough for making this opportunity possible.”
Veteran driver Richard Antinucci was proud of Aghakhani’s performance and enjoyed being part of his team for the weekend.
“It was an excellent result and debut GT race for Steven, who like everyone in the team gave their all from green flag to the finish line,” Antinucci said. “I really enjoyed driving Laguna in the Huracan Super Trofeo – in spite of our excessive BOP we could hold our own with some of the GT3 regulars and managed to beat a few. It was an honor to partner up with Aghakhani and US RaceTronics. A big thank you to the sponsors who contributed to this success!”
Taylor Proto was pleased with the weekend’s outcome as well.
“I’m extremely pleased with the endurance debut not only for USRT but Steven himself,” Proto said. “He managed the challenges on track extremely well and the crew did an amazing job adapting to the unique aspects they had to face also. All in all, I think the experience was great for the growth of everyone involved, and at the end of the day that was the best part of our result.”
The team heads to Vallelunga, Italy in less than two weeks for the final two rounds of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America Series as well as the World Finals. Proto will join co-driver Edoardo Piscopo in the No. 50 Lamborghini of Beverly Hills as they try to overcome a seven-point deficit to win the LSTNA Pro championship, while drivers Damon Ockey and Brian Thienes will battle for the AM championship. Rounds 11 and 12 of the LSTNA will be held on Friday, November 16, 2018, with the World Championships on Saturday, November 17, 2018 and Sunday, November 18, 2018.The races will be streamed live at http://squadracorse.lamborghini.com/en-en/live-streaming.
*Photo credit to Michael Stahlschmidt