Steven Aghakhani Victorious in North American Pro Racing Debut Weekend Saturday in IMSA Lamborghini Super Trofeo at Road America

Steven Aghakhani Victorious in North American Pro Racing Debut Weekend Saturday in IMSA Lamborghini Super Trofeo at Road America

09.08.2020: - Aghakhani and Co-Driver Jacob Eidson Win in First Weekend of Competition Together as Teammates in No. 6 SADA Systems US RaceTronics Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo


- Aghakhani and Co-Driver Jacob Eidson Win in First Weekend of Competition Together as Teammates in No. 6 SADA Systems US RaceTronics Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo




- Breakout Saturday Victory Follows Reclassification to Pro Class and Second Place Overall and Pro Division Finish Friday in First IMSA Lamborghini Super Trofeo Race Run in 327 Days


 
Steven Aghakhani came home a winner in his debut weekend of North American professional racing competition Saturday at Road America where he and co-driver Jacob Eidson persevered to a breakout overall and Pro class victory in the No. 6 SADA Systems US RaceTronics Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo.



In their first weekend of competition together as co-drivers, Aghakhani, 17, and Eidson, 25, scored Saturday's win after a solid second place overall and Pro division finish in Friday's first race of the Road America doubleheader.



The twin 50-minute sprints were the first IMSA Super Trofeo races run in North America in 327 days and marked a competitive and entertaining return for the Lamborghini series, which joined the global motorsports community in an industry-wide pause for the majority of 2020 in the fight against the novel coronavirus outbreak.



Aghakhani, 17, and his teammates used the unexpected break to prepare and safely test for this season’s delayed schedule of races over the last few months. The hard work paid off this weekend.



“After all of the work we have done this year practicing, putting in test day after test day, getting more familiar with the car and training as drivers, we came here looking for race wins and podiums, and that’s exactly what we did,” Aghakhani said. “This was our first race in the Pro category, and I think we proved we are up to the challenge from the beginning."



The successful weekend didn't come without a little drama each day. Before qualifying on Friday, Aghakhani and Eidson were reclassified by series officials to the all-Pro division after being entered in the Road America opener in the Pro-Am class.
 


“Just being able to race in general this weekend was a real sigh of relief after the biggest off-season I and most of us have ever had,” Eidson said. “We were entered in this race in the Pro-Am class but prior to qualifying on Friday were upgraded to an all-Pro entry. It was a big surprise, we weren’t prepared for that, but in Friday's race we handled it really well. We fought for the win and were P2 overall, and that’s a testament to Steven’s driving ability and the team’s ability. It’s a sign of a really good season to come.”



Aghakhani qualified second fastest overall for Friday's race while Eidson won the pole for Saturday's race with the top time in second-round qualifying.



"Jacob drove the absolute best he ever has in his opening stint, led every lap and built a huge gap," Aghakhani said. "As soon as the car came in the pits, we had a little bit of a problem with the seat belts and harnesses, trying to get them buckled and connected, but we didn’t want to leave with only one or two tied down. Safety has to be the priority in these situations, so I just returned to the race, kind of closed my eyes and started ripping off lap after lap, slowly bringing down that gap."



After building a seven-second lead in the race's first half, the pit stop issue but Aghakhani back in the race in second place and more than 10 seconds behind the leader.



What Aghakhani and his teammates knew, however, was that the leader was facing a five-second post-race penalty for not maintaining proper position in line at the race start.



With his mission clear, Aghakhani steadily reeled in the leader and raced to the cushion he and the team needed in the closing minutes. He crossed the finish line just 3.313 seconds back, but after the penalty was assessed, Aghakhani was awarded the win he and the team deserved with a 1.687 second margin of victory.
 

 
"This is an amazing feeling,” Aghakhani said. “We were a little off pace on Friday, but we came back on the second day after dealing with those issues, and the car and team were amazing. We knew the leader was facing the five second penalty, so we just wanted to get within that window. Honestly, it looked like it was pretty hard because we had a more than 10 second gap to the front. With only 20 minutes to go, it seemed pretty difficult, but lap after lap I just kept clicking the laps off. We got to within three-and-a-half seconds toward the very end and came back and won.”



The No. 16 SADA Systems US RaceTronics team came close to winning Friday's race as well.



After Aghakhani stepped up to lead three laps at the mid-race mark, Eidson took the wheel of the No. 16 for Friday's final run to the checkered flag.



Never more than two seconds behind, Eidson more than once looked at making a pass for the lead. The final shot came with less than two laps to go when the leader went wide in Turn 7 but shut the door before Eidson could make a pass. Keeping the pressure on until the checkered flag flew, Eidson crossed the finish line just 0.678 of a second behind the winner.



Next up for Aghakhani and his teammates in the IMSA Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America season is the doubleheader weekend at VIRginia International Raceway in two weeks. The twin 50-minute races stream live on IMSA.tv at 11:45 a.m. EDT Saturday, August 22, and 12:50 p.m. EDT on Sunday, August 23.



Aghakhani's Lamborghini racing programs run with the support of several key sponsor partners in 2020. SADA Systems, Inc. is a privately-held global leader in providing business and technology consulting services that transform organizations through cloud-based solutions at www.sada.com. Insignia Mortgage focuses on providing flexible portfolio lending options for clients with non-traditional lending needs. Learn more at www.insigniamortgage.com.



Magic Laundry Services (MLS) is one of the largest independently owned hospitality linen and dry cleaning operations in the country, catering primarily to the hospitality industry. Learn more at www.magiclaundryservices.com. TKX Associates specializes in consulting and staff augmentation at www.tkxassociates.com and Shegerian & Associates is a Los Angeles based firm at www.shegerianlaw.com.
 





Adam Saal, Jamey Price/@jameypricephoto

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09.08.2020 / MaP

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