The WTRAndretti Duo Has Sights on Running the Table in All 12 Races
It’s been a rare sight in 2023, the dominant car in Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America being overtaken for the race lead.
Yet it happened on the opening lap of Sunday’s race at VIRginia International Raceway, when Giano Taurino muscled the No. 88 TR3 Racing, Lamborghini Palm Beach Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo2 around Kyle Marcelli and the No. 1 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport, Lamborghini Palm Beach Huracán through Turns 3 and 4 – also known as NASCAR Bend and Left Hook.
The current world order was restored nine laps later, however, when Marcelli returned the favor by passing Taurino in the same area of the 17-turn, 3.27-mile circuit. Marcelli and co-driver Danny Formal then went on to win by 5.288 seconds over Taurino to keep their record unblemished through eight races as they chase a second consecutive Pro class championship.
“There’s a new added pressure now that I think we’ve put on ourselves trying to keep this streak going,” Marcelli said. “We’ve got everything to lose in a sense.
“I was really impressed with Taurino; he’s come a long way,” Marcelli added. “I knew he was going to be really aggressive. … I left a little margin going into (Turn) 3 and sure enough he shoved it in there. From then I just settled in, kept pressure on, kept pressure on. Eventually, he made a mistake in Turn 3 and I was able to retake the lead and just sort of take care of the car and get it to Danny.”
Formal took over the No. 1 at the mandatory pit stop and, while pressured at times by Taurino in the No. 88 and Ryan Norman in the No. 84 WTRAndretti, Lamborghini Palm Beach Huracán, never wavered to bring home their eighth win in eight tries this season.
“Eight out of eight, I can’t believe I’m saying that right now!” Formal said. “Only four to go. Super excited, so thankful for Kyle who gave me a great car. … It’s just been phenomenal this year.”
Two other Super Trofeo classes saw two-driver teams complete weekend sweeps: Keawn Tandon and Luke Berkeley (No. 42 NTE Sport, Lamborghini Broward Huracán) in ProAm and Glenn McGee and Anthony McIntosh (No. 69 Precision Performance Motorsports, Lamborghini Palm Beach Huracán) in Am. Sunday’s LB Cup winner was Jon Hirshberg (No. 86 Forte Racing Powered by US RaceTronics, Lamborghini Rancho Mirage Huracán), who collected his first victory since VIR last year.
Tandon and Berkeley had a taut ProAm battle with the class pole-sitting No. 41 Flying Lizard Motorsports, Lamborghini Newport Beach Huracán shared by Paul Nemschoff and Marc Miller. Berkeley made the class-winning pass on Nemschoff with just more than 20 minutes to go in the 50-minute race.
“I got a nice, deep braking into (Turn) 1, we wound up side by side and I had the inside for (Turn) 3,” said Berkeley. “Stuck it down the inside and got by. Clean racing, shoutout to them, it was fun.”
Likewise in Am, McGee and McIntosh had to get past the class pole sitter to win. McIntosh turned the No. 69 Huracán over in second place to McGee during the pit stop and McGee made quick work of passing Precision Performance Motorsports teammate Wesley Slimp in the No. 9 Lamborghini Palm Beach Huracán.
“I was amazed at Tony,” McGee said. “He doesn’t have that much experience so I think that shows how far he’s come. He put me in a great position, we did a perfect pit stop and I came out right behind first place in Am. Instantly got the position and I managed to keep the spot.”
Hirshberg played the waiting game in LB Cup, maintaining a steady pace as others ahead made mistakes that sent them off course. He claimed his third career series win by 29.832 seconds over Graham Doyle in the No. 10 WTRAndretti, Lamborghini Nashville Huracán.
“It was, ‘Be patient,’” Hirshberg said. “Everybody was getting pretty aggressive out there. I just kind of waited, waited, then sure enough I saw first and second part the ways and I went through. Had a couple little fights after that but I held them off and kept the win.”
Unofficial point standings find Marcelli and Formal 44 points ahead of Norman atop the Pro class, Tandon 22 points ahead of Berkeley in ProAm, McGee and McIntosh 16 points up on David Staab (No. 48 Precision Performance Motorsports, Lamborghini Palm Beach Huracán) in Am, and Mark Wilgus (No. 50 Forte/US RaceTronics, Lamborghini Beverly Hills Huracán) 39 points ahead of Doyle in LB Cup.
A recap of the VIR weekend airs at 10:30 a.m. ET Sunday, Sept. 10 on CNBC. The next Super Trofeo North America round takes place Sept. 15-17 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.