Newcomer Porto, Jamin Take Ansa to Victory in Super Trofeo Opener

By Mark Robinson

IMSA Wire Service

Kiko Porto did what any smart but inexperienced driver would do in their first race in a new series in an unfamiliar car: Listen to and follow the advice of your co-driver.

It worked to perfection Thursday as Porto and Nico Jamin rode to victory in the first Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America race of the 2024 season. Porto, in his series debut, was the closing driver in the No. 4 Ansa Motorsports, Lamborghini Broward Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo2, taking the checkered flag by a comfortable 7.979 seconds at Sebring International Raceway after Jamin opened the 50-minute race in the car.

“I’m super happy!” said Porto, the 20-year-old Brazilian whose primary racing experience has come in U.S. open-wheel junior series and Brazilian stock cars. “I signed the contract less than two weeks ago. And then I got lucky and got this team behind me and this co-driver who helped me in everything. It was my first time in Super Trofeo last weekend (for testing) and this guy (Jamin) gave me the direction I needed to go.”

Jamin admitted he was impressed with his teammate’s effort.

“I didn’t know Kiko before. Some drivers make the transition from open wheel to GT difficult and for some drivers talented like him, it’s like it’s nothing. … This guy is a rocket; we have a really strong package and it’s going to be an exciting season.”

Second place overall and in the Pro class went to Ernie Francis (also in a series debut) and Giano Taurino in the No. 88 TR3 Racing, Lamborghini Miami Huracán. Porto and Jamin’s Ansa teammates, Bryson Morris and Loris Cabirou in the No. 30 Lamborghini Broward Huracán, crossed the finish line second but were assessed a 10-second penalty for an improper race start and later moved to the rear of the class when the car failed to meet minimum height in post-race technical inspection.

The ProAm class victory went to Nate Stacy and Nick Persing, co-drivers of the No. 8 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Lamborghini Palm Beach Huracán. Starting third in class, they swept into the class lead during the round of mandatory pit stops and finished 10.799 seconds ahead of the No. 72 Forte Racing Lamborghini Beverly Hills Huracán shared by Blake McDonald and Patrick Liddy.

“It was just amazing, exactly the way you want to start the season,” Persing said. “This race wasn’t me. Nate handed me a perfect car when we came in for the pit stop. He was in a good position and just tire saved until my stint. That’s the reason we had so much pace in the end because Nate just gave me such good tires.”

Ken Dobson, a two-time Prototype Challenge (PC) class winner in IMSA’s top-level series, made his return to racing one to remember on Thursday, winning in the Am class in the No. 27 Forte Racing Lamborghini Beverly Hills Huracán. Dobson, who hadn’t raced competitively in more than seven years, said the victory helped make up for a PC win at the 2011 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Cadillac that slipped away due to a tire puncture on the last lap.

“It’s been a while since I’ve been behind the wheel in anger,” Dobson said. “I just wanted to settle into a groove but unfortunately with the full-course yellow (on Lap 1) … I had to wait until after the pit stop and then went out and just put my head down and wanted to bang off consistent laps.

“For an old guy in Am,” the 54-year-old added, “I think I delivered.”

Mark Brummond overcame damage sustained in a first-lap incident involving several cars to come back and win in LB Cup. With both driver and team making their series debut, Brummond pushed the No. 02 Auto Technic Racing Lamborghini Palm Beach Huracán to the finish 3.656 seconds ahead of series veteran Jon Hirshberg in the No. 86 Forte Racing Lamborghini Rancho Mirage Huracán.

“We got into the melee between Turns 3 and 4,” Brummond said. “I got hit and went into somebody; it was chaos. Charlie Scott from Auto Technic made a good call to come in (to pit) under yellow for a safety repair. Started last and battled back. We had a good pit stop and then I just put down consecutive (consistent) times. It was fun!

“I was a little surprised when he said (on the radio) I was P3. I saw some guys in front of me and I said, ‘I’m gonna get ‘em,’ so I picked them off. It’s a great day.”

Porto put the No. 4 Huracán on the overall and Pro pole for Race 2, which starts Friday at 6:05 p.m. ET and streams live on Peacock.