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Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe begins 2023 season with 48 cars at Paul Ricard
Following a longer-than-planned off-season, the 2023 Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe season will finally kick off this weekend at the Paul Ricard circuit in the south of France, with an impressive field of 48 cars ready to do battle.
One month after the originally scheduled season opener, the 15th edition of the one-make championship reserved for Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo EVO2s opens with a high-speed but technical 15-turn, 5.842k circuit that offers challenges for both the experienced professional driver and amateur alike.
Six rounds feature on a revised calendar with visits to Spa-Francorchamps, Nürburgring and Valencia followed by two double headers at Vallelunga, which also hosts the annual Lamborghini Grand Finals in November.
This weekend’s action begins on Friday, with two free practice sessions lasting one hour. Then a pair of 20-minute qualifying sessions will be held on Saturday before the opening race at 13:25 CET. Race two will take place on Sunday at 10:05 CET. Both races will be live streamed on the Lamborghini Squadra Corse YouTube channel and Facebook page.
New and familiar faces lead Pro entry
Perennial front-runner Oregon Team is among the favourites for the Pro title, with Marzio Moretti and Sebastian Balthasar leading the charge. They’ll face a stiff challenge from BDR Competition’s Amaury Bonduel who finished runner-up in the standings last year, while experienced hand Brendon Leitch (Leipert Motorsport), competes as a solo entry in the Pro field for the first time in Europe. The 2021 Lamborghini Grand Finals winner Mattia Michelotto will also be a threat as part of a youthful VS Racing line-up, alongside Italian GT Cup race winner Gilles Stadsbader. Another race winner, Daan Arrow – who recently changed his racing name from Pijl – teams up with former W Series driver Abbie Eaton in the newly-founded Rebelleo Motorsport team which will benefit from the engineering of Bonaldi Motorsport in its maiden season. Also making their debut this season will be teenager Pedro Ebrahim, racing alongside series returnee Guillem Pujeu Beya at Oregon Team, with 16-year-old Ibrahim Badawy becoming the youngest driver and first Egyptian driver in the history of Super Trofeo, with Lamborghini Roma by DL Racing. Target Racing will field two Scandinavian rookies this year with Danish teenager Largim Ali joining Swedish touring car race winner Oliver Söderström, while former LMP3 racer Ugo de Wilde will partner Portuguese youngster Rodrigo Testa at Iron Lynx. Moving up from the Am category – which he won in 2020), Yury Wagner will contest the Pro season alongside British GT4 graduate Patrik Matthiesen. Other debutants include Nigel Schoonderwoerd and former DTM and single seater racer Yelmer Buurman (Iron Lynx), Hugo Condé and Lucas Valkre (Arkadia Racing), while Alessandro Mainetti joins series returnee Filippo Berto at Oregon Team. Having made the off-season switch from VSR, Stéphane Tribaudini teams up with Loris Cabirou at CMR.
Quality oozes throughout large Pro-Am field
The quality of this year’s Pro-Am field cannot be understated, with a number of overall Super Trofeo race winners – including last year’s co-champion in the Pro category, Loris Spinelli – forming what is already proving to be a highly competitive class. Spinelli teams up with Andrej Lewandowski – with whom he won the Pro-Am Grand Finals title in 2019 – at VS Racing, while fellow Super Trofeo specialist and Grand Finals winner Karol Basz remains at Mičánek Motorsport alongside Bronislav Formánek. The Pro-Am field is bolstered by the addition of 2019 Lamborghini Grand Finals winner Frederik Schandorff, who returns to the one-make championship with Target Racing alongside Alex Au. After making its debut at Barcelona last year, Brutal Fish Racing is back for its first full season in Super Trofeo with team owner Martin Ryba partnered by the experienced Edoardo Liberati. ArtLine Team Georgia is back in Super Trofeo for the first time since 2019, with Shota Abkhazava partnered by ex-single seater and LMP1 driver Egor Orudzhev. GT3 Poland is also back with a 100% Polish line-up. Experienced hand Grzegorz Moczukski partners with the up-and-coming Adrian Lewandowski – son of Andrzej – with newcomers Mariusz Miękoś and Bartosz Groszek will race the second car. Much like with its Pro entry, Arkadia Racing’s Pro-Am line-up is all French too, with former ice racing and rallycross driver Edgar Maloigne partnering Stéphan Guerin. Returning for another year is Emanuele Zonzini and Emanuel Colombini (Iron Lynx), Kerong Li and Jean-François Brunot (Leipert Motorsport) and Lorenzo Pegoraro and Enrico Bettera (Oregon Team) while Jim Pla and Michael Blanchemain debut for Scuderia Villorba Corse.
All to play for in Am class
With last year’s class champion Andrzej Lewandowski moving up to Pro-Am, there will be a new champion in 2023. And there are plenty of worthy winners among the field, including Boutsen Racing’s Pierre Feligioni who is joined by experienced GT3 and Super Trofeo racer Renaud Kuppens. Former Boutsen drivers Claude-Yves Gosselin and Marc Rostan will also be contenders, now at the wheel of an Iron Lynx Huracán, while solo entry Gabriel Rindone (Leipert Motorsport) will be desperate to record his first Am title after finishing runner-up for the last two seasons. At CMR, Wilfried Cazalbon will race alongside paraplegic driver Nigel Bailly, the pair driving the first-ever hand-controlled Huracán in competition. Bailly has been a prominent figure in motorsport since a life-changing injury and has contested various GT3 events, including the Spa 24 Hours over the years. Elsewhere in the Am class, Bonaldi Motorsport will field an entry for Petar Matić and Paolo Biglieri, while Diego Locanto will drive solo in the Lamborghini Roma by DL Racing car. Cedric Leimer (Autovitesse), Antonios Vossos (Target Racing) and Jürgen Krebs (Leipert Motorsport) also return, as does German racer Holger Harmsen for GT3 Poland. Finally, Scuderia Villorba Corse will run one car in the class for Patrick Zamparini, as will VS Racing for Piergiacomo Randazzo and Giovanni Anapoli.
Van der Horst aiming for five in Lamborghini Cup
The Lamborghini Cup class – primarily reserved for newcomers – will be heartily disputed this season. As expected, experience levels vary but that isn’t to say that those with less track time won’t be at the front in Paul Ricard. Father and son combination Luciano and Donovan Privitelio have moved from the now defunct FFF Racing Team to join Iron Lynx and will be targeting the title after guest appearances in GT2 European Series and Italian GT so far this year. Mičánek Motorsport’s Kurt Wagner and Libor Dvoraček will surely challenge, as will Brutal Fish Racing’s partnership of Jason Keats and Charlie Martin, the latter becoming the first transgender driver to compete in Lamborghini Super Trofeo in the North American championship last year. Serge Doms and Alfredo Hernandez Ortega will lead BDR Competition’s efforts in a pair of Huracáns, while the four-time LB Cup champion Gerard van der Horst will again be the man to beat in 2023.