Francis, Taurino Win Super Trofeo Race 2 to Tighten Pro Class Race

By Mark Robinson

IMSA Wire Service

Halfway through the 2024 Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America season, a sensational battle is shaping up in the Pro class for the single-make series.

Ernie Francis Jr. and Giano Taurino drove to the overall and Pro class victory Saturday in the second race of the Watkins Glen International weekend, behind the wheel of the No. 88 TR3 Racing, Lamborghini Miami Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo EVO2. Their second win of the season unofficially closed the duo to within two points of the class lead with six races remaining.

For the second straight day, the Super Trofeo race on the 11-turn, 3.4-mile iconic road course was disjointed with multiple full-course cautions. And for the second straight day, the race ended under a yellow. But after finishing second on Friday, Francis and Taurino came home first.

“It was very big for us and the team; it gave us amazing points,” Taurino said. “I’m just thankful. I’m super grateful for the opportunity we’ve had to come out and race here.”

Francis and Taurino are now just two points behind Nico Jamin and Kiko Porto, co-drivers of the No. 4 Ansa Motorsports, Lamborghini Broward Huracán that finished third on Saturday. Ryan Norman and Danny Formal, winner of Friday’s race in the No. 1 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti, Lamborghini Palm Beach Huracán, placed second in Race 2 and moved within 10 points of the Pro leaders.

“I’ve got a great teammate right here; this guy is awesome,” Francis said of Taurino. “We push each other every single race weekend. … If we can keep having weekends like this, we’ll be golden.”

In the ProAm class, it was AJ Muss and Joel Miller’s turn to take a victory in the No. 66 Forty7 Motorsports, Lamborghini Philadelphia Huracán. Miller was the last driver to make the mandatory midrace pit stop and it was the break the duo needed as a caution came out while the car was in the pits. Muss brought the No. 66 home for the class win, his first in ProAm and second of his Super Trofeo career. The win was the first for Miller in the series.

“It’s an honor to be here and an honor to race,” Muss said. “I have a great teammate. We worked a little bit together last year as more of a driver/coach (relationship) because he was with another guy, but we work really well together and I look up to Joel a lot. To get my first win with him is a cool experience.”

Miller has a lengthy racing resume that includes five 2013 wins in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series’ GX class, but he was just as pleased to get his maiden triumph in Super Trofeo.

“To be on top of the podium feels great,” he said. “We made some moves early and got a couple spots, and that just set us up for the right time. This was a timing thing today with all the yellows.”

The unofficial ProAm standings find a pair of Flying Lizard Motorsports duos at the top. Andy Lee and Slade Stewart (No. 14 Lamborghini Newport Beach Huracán) lead by three points over Jeroen Bleekemolen and Tim Pappas (No. 54 Lamborghini Newport Beach Huracán).

Anthony Bullock drove solo in the Am class to win in the No. 12 One Motorsports, Lamborghini Newport Beach Huracán. Bullock started from the class pole and never wavered in earning his first Super Trofeo victory.

“This is my first season in the series,” Bullock said. “To break through two events in, it’s exciting. I wasn’t expecting to have success this early on. I’ve got an amazing team behind me that’s been incredibly supportive, given me a great car. This is a real nice surprise because this is a really competitive Am group with some phenomenal drivers.”

Dominic Starkweather (No. 47 Precision Performance Motorsports, Lamborghini Palm Beach Huracán) is the unofficial Am points leader, four ahead of Anthony McIntosh and Glenn McGee (No. 69 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti, Lamborghini Palm Beach Huracán).

The only double winner of the Super Trofeo weekend came in LB Cup, where Nick Groat repeated from Friday in the No. 57 One Motorsports, Lamborghini Newport Beach Huracán. They are the first Super Trofeo wins for Groat and launched him into the class standings lead, unofficially 11 points ahead of Jon Hirshberg (No. 86 Forte Racing, Lamborghini Rancho Mirage Huracán).

 “I just kept the tires warm, making sure that when that green flag came out, we were ready,” Groat said. “On every restart, we had a fantastic go at it. For the first season, first time being in any sort of racing like this, it can’t get any better than that.”

The North American Super Trofeo series returns to action Aug. 30-Sept. 1 at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas.