MONTEREY, Calif. (May 5, 2015)- Taking part in his first-ever race in the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America, Brian Wong would close his weekend on a high with a third-place finish in class during this weekend’s season-opening event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
“It’s great to be able to walk away with some hardware,” stated Wong. “It’s been an interesting experience getting to learn these cars and this series, but it was a lot of fun and I really appreciate the effort that everyone put in. The Huracán has been a phenomenal car to drive, and everyone at O’Gara Motorsports has shown a lot of potential with how the program has been put together, so all in all we’re happy with what we were able to see.”
As the first weekend of the 2015 championship, the most notable element to this year’s campaign is the debut of the all-new Huracán LP 620-2 Super Trofeo, brought into the series to phase out the previous Gallardo LP 570-4. As a one-make series, all competitors were matched in the Italian marques, with team setup and preparation combined with driver talent playing the critical differentiating roles. For this weekend, Wong was aligned with O’Gara Motorsports, a Beverly Hills-based team undertaking their first year of running a race effort in-house.
As a double-header weekend, Saturday’s Race One did not quite go to plan for the 26-year old. Competing in the series’ “ProAm” category, Wong, the first Chinese-American to take a podium in American LeMans Series competition, was off to a steady start when the green flag dropped. With the opening laps of the sprint race proving ultra competitive, the Newport Beach native stayed patient, waiting until the pace settled in before making his march to the front of the field. In a great fight for the top-three in class, a yellow flag near the 20-minute mark would play a critical role in the day’s race. Even though the event is considered a sprint race, one unique trait to the series is the mandatory pit stop, where drivers must come in between the 20-30 minute mark for a mandatory 60-second pit stop, where teams can change drivers, adjust tire pressures, etc.
Unfortunately for Brian, the yellow flag would provide an opportunity for many of the teams to come in for this pit stop, however, a misunderstanding with Wong’s No. 14 crew would end up leaving the car out as everyone else came in, only to then bring him in a lap later as the field went green. Pitting while the rest of the field would sprint away, Brian was effectively a lap down by the time he re-entered and with no choice but to just turn laps and eventually finish fifth.
During Sunday’s Race Two, however, Brian’s fortunes would take a much more positive step. While he had driven the entirety of Race One on his own, fellow O’Gara teammate Damon Ockey had a more troublesome event, destroying his machine in an accident and without a vehicle for Sunday’s race. As a result of his incident, Ockey and Wong were tasked to share driving duties on Sunday, competing in the ProAm category with Brian recognized as the professionally ranked driver within the duo. Having to split his No. 14, Wong would only drive the opening half of the race, doing so flawlessly, gaining three spots in the process, and putting the car in a prime position to challenge for the podium. Ockey would then take the reigns for the final half, patiently sitting in the top four until one of the race leaders would have an incident in the final moments of the race, elevating the No. 14 to third and giving Brian a podium finish in his first weekend for both series and team.
“It certainly came as a surprise, but it’s great to take a podium finish,” stated the Californian. “I absolutely love this Huracán and hopefully there will be more opportunities in the future. Certainly there’s a lot of potential with this series, we’ll just have to see how it matches some of our goals with everyone at World Stage. I will say it was pretty flattering to be able to see so many fans within the Asian American community out there cheering us on, and embracing just what this program is all about.”
Taking place just one hour south of San Jose and the heart of Silicon Valley, the event was properly placed for the message of World Stage Racing, which is dedicated to developing a marketing platform for a digitally engaged “New America,” in addition to bridging the gap between Chinese and American businesses. Entertaining and hosting a number of Asian American fans throughout the weekend, the event proved a successful continuation of World Stage Racing’s continuing theme.
While no formal announcements have been made, both World Stage Racing and Brian Wong are currently exploring a number of opportunities and programs for the 2015 season, including a likely return to the famed ARCA Series event at New Jersey Motorsport Park, where Brian finished second in 2014. Stay tuned for upcoming announcements.