Off To The Super Trofeo Races With Blancpain And Automobili Lamborghini
There I was, sitting in a 2014 Lamborghini Aventador screaming around Road Atlanta doing somewhere in the vicinity of 220 kmh/160 mph, and the only thing I could think of was, “Wow, this thing has incredible grip!”
Ok, that’s not entirely true, I was also thinking about the braking, the cornering, the acceleration, and the casual conversation the driver was trying to have with me while pushing the car to what I can only assume was beyond the limits of physics.
There were two downsides to the Hot Lap experience with Lamborghini: for one, it only lasted approximately two minutes; for another, I stupidly tried to record it with my phone so I was actually concentrating more on trying to keep the video stable instead of enjoying the ride. Oh, the regrets we’ll have.
But that is how my Blancpain Lamborghini Super Trofeo weekend came to a heart-pounding close: wishing I had but another lap, or two, or a hundred.
When I arrived on Friday morning, it was wet with a slow but heavy rain seemly destined to ruin the day for good enjoyment of the races. But within an hour of arrival the rain let up, the sun came out and the day looked set for great times and fast racing.
The Super Trofeo series was but a part of the four days of racing capped by the Petit LeMans on Saturday afternoon. The other races included the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, the Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda, the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA, and the Mazda MX-5 Cup.
A stable of Lamborghinis and Blancpains
But for us, the focus was on the stable of Lamborghini Gallardos all set to tear up the track for the final stop on the Super Trofeo series. That and the stable of incredible Blancpain timepieces that were on display and – lucky me – on my wrist for the day. The timepieces present included the L-Evolution and Super Trofeo pieces, select Villeret watches, the Bathyscaphe and Fifty Fathoms, and the ever-stunning female collection including the Chronographe Flyback Grande Date, which is very impressive in the metal.
Blancpain’s female line is entirely mechanical and now makes up approximately 30 percent of the entire sales, up from just 5 percent a few years ago. Sounds like they are doing something right.
The Villeret pieces usually make up my highlights at this brand, as they are the epitome of what I look for in a Blancpain timepiece and are incredibly well-designed. This goes double for the Quantième Complet with patented under-lug correctors, simply a fantastic watch.
The other highlight was what graced my wrist for the day: the L-Evolution-R Chronograph Flyback Rattrapante Grande Date in carbon fiber and red gold.
The details are very well considered in this piece, with the carbon fiber bezel not simply being screwed on like on many watches, but instead carefully cut and assembled with the lugs and the case back also crafted in carbon as well. The rotor is fully open-worked to allow for automatic winding while still having an interesting view into the awesome Caliber 69F9.
The additional details are where it really shines, the Lamborghini-inspired shield for the hour counter, the 9 and 12 numerals in the typeface that all the Super Trofeo cars use for the numbers, even down to the split-seconds pusher and Blancpain name machined into the side of the case. It really is a sporty yet cleanly designed watch.
Up close and personal
I enjoyed having it on my wrist for the day, and my many wristshots should prove as much. After the horological discussion, we had some lunch and then got down to the race-fueled fun. We were given a tour of the Super Trofeo Village and Lamborghini race paddock, where we got up close and personal with a handful of the sixteen cars competing that weekend.
Our guide let us in on some interesting facts about the races and the cars. All of the Gallardo models are essentially the same, and are built on the same line that the standard Gallardo models were built, with a few components left off, like the twelve-disc CD changer or the rear-seat video entertainment system. Oh, wait, they didn’t have those anyway.
The paddock area also contained a full Lamborghini dealership that sells only parts. In reality, it was an entire race trailer semi on two levels exclusively containing parts for sale. It had any and every part found on a Gallardo Super Trofeo car. All drivers and teams have accounts with Lamborghini and if, at any time, they need a replacement part (which happens a lot during a race weekend) they just stroll over to the truck, sign for the part, and are billed later.
Everyone hates when a car crashes, but the folks running that dealership have a slightly devilish smile when speaking about it, because they know they will be doing a lot of business for a driver hoping to stay racing.
Pirelli tire garage
We were also given a tour of the Pirelli Tires garage, where there was a small team mounting tires for all of the race teams. If you are a member of the Super Trofeo series, you are “given” three sets of tires for each weekend (as part of your membership in the series).
You may purchase more, but there is a very tight system of control over the tires and Pirelli manages it with style. They usually bring 400 tires for each weekend and are doing changes almost constantly. With the sixteen teams all needing a couple of sets, and with there being rain the weekend we were there, the Pirelli crew was busy.
After this I wandered the open paddocks and looked at all the cars racing that weekend; both the horsepower and skill were apparent. This wasn’t a weekend race for a few speed junkies; this was a serious stop on a world tour of racing for entire teams of people and entire “cities” of equipment.
The level of technology and engineering was apparent everywhere, and I got my fill of automotive epicness in every direction.
I spent some time watching the other races and the Le Mans prototypes qualifying for the following day’s race when it was time for our main event: the season finale of the Blancpain Lamborghini Super Trofeo Series.
Time to watch
It was at this point that we guests of Blancpain and Lamborghini retired to the roof deck of the Super Trofeo Village and watched the race from this fantastic vantage point. The thrilling race lasted for an hour, and ended with an exciting finish and a last-minute accident that made for a surprising podium. The winner of the race, sadly, was not the winner of the entire Super Trofeo series, which was the #29 Change Colas car, which came in third on this particular day.
After the exciting races it was time for a spectacular dinner and the season finale awards ceremony. Four categories were awarded with prizes given out from Lamborghini, Blancpain, and other sponsors. Blancpain, of course, presented three winners with an L-Evolution Super Trofeo Chronograph Flyback in titanium, which they were very excited to receive. And I will admit that I was more than a little jealous.
It was a fantastic experience to get so close to the action and Blancpain was a wonderful host in the Super Trofeo Village. The only thing left was to come back in the morning for the ride of a lifetime: the hot lap experience in the 2014 Aventador driven by one of the race drivers.
A big thank you must go out to Blancpain, Lamborghini, and Squadra Corse for the opportunity to experience that scene, and an extra thanks to Blancpain for the time with the L-Evolution-R and the great hospitality extended to this nerd writer and Quill & Pad. This one is definitely going in my diary.
For more information please visit squadracorse.lamborghini.com/en/super-trofeo-north-america/news/details/1/1/1/machavern-wins-at-road-atlanta-to-zero-in-on-amateur-title and www.blancpain.com.
Quick Facts L-Evolution-R Chronograph Flyback Rattrapante Grande Date
Case: 43 x 16 mm red gold and carbon fiber
Movement: automatic Caliber 69F9
Functions: hours, minutes; split-seconds flyback chronograph with minute counter, hour counter, oversized date