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K-PAX Racing Collects No. 7 at Watkins Glen
Pepper, Caldarelli earn sixth win from pole
Several teams within the Fanatec GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS Championship are looking to catch their stride in the final stretch of the season, but it had been K-PAX Racing getting the most out of the ninth round of action Saturday at Watkins Glen International. The team earned its seventh victory – its sixth from pole position – setting the tone early.
“It was a solid run for those two guys,” K-PAX Racing Program Manager Darren Law said. “From pole to win, fastest lap of the race — Jordan [Pepper] and Andrea [Caldarelli] have been a great pair. Jordan called over in the first stint that the car was mega. I’m really proud of that whole group.”
K-PAX Racing, leading the championship in all three categories (Drivers, Team, Manufacturers) was off to a steady start on a damp, but drying 11-turn, 3.4-mile Watkins Glen circuit during the morning qualifying sessions. Using valuable data and track-time from last week’s test and Thursday’s practice session allowed the team to bring a strong two-car Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO package to The Glen, notably scoring a double pole.
“As we’ve said before, this being the first season with Lamborghini, we’ve had a big learning curve coming from what we had the last three years,” Law said. “Lamborghini has been phenomenal to work with — their engineering group from Italy has been on the phone with us every week. It just speaks to how much work we’re putting in, and the results are showing. We’re continuing to build our points for this Championship.”
The No. 3 of Pepper and Caldarelli went back-to-back as the fastest driver of their sessions – Pepper recording his fast lap early in an abbreviated first session (1:46.618) and Caldarelli climbing the board on the final lap in the second (1:44.628). The No. 6 sister-car of Corey Lewis and Giovanni Venturini helped close out the top-row of the grid – Lewis posted a second-best lap (1:47.251) while Venturini will start third in class / seventh overall (1:45.200) in the finale. The two poles give K-PAX Racing seven poles of the season – the team capturing pole in 70 percent of the races this season. Both K-PAX Racing cars have closed-out the front row for the third race this season (Sonoma Raceway, Round 1; Circuit of The Americas, Round 3).
The two team Huracán GT3 EVO successfully led the way for a clean 15-car start, but while Pepper enjoyed the clean air ahead, Lewis was battling to stay on the podium. While Pepper benefitted from the battling directly behind him, allowing him to open-up an early gap, it hindered Lewis as he dropped back to third before a full-course yellow reset the field and its margins. A surging second-place competitor car quickly went on the offensive during the restart, challenging Pepper for the lead within the first 15 minutes of the race. Pepper not only defended his position, but also recorded the fastest lap of the first-half (1:46.161) and built a comfortable six-plus second lead. Lewis maintained third position but was one of two cars on an alternate pit strategy than the rest of the field, pitting one lap later.
Caldarelli, the closer for the opener in the No. 3, rebuilt the lead to eight seconds within the first few laps of his turn behind the wheel. Venturini, who tapped in for Lewis in the No. 6, continued to battle on the podium bubble, eventually settling into fourth with a comfortable split from the overall field.
The No. 3 used its sizable gap to manage the pace for the remaining half-hour of the race, taking the checkers by a 9.391-second margin of victory. For the fourth time this season, the No. 3 set the CrowdStrike Fastest Lap of the race (sixth among Pro competitors) – this time, a 1:45.781 posted by Caldarelli. The victory also gives K-PAX Racing at least one victory in each event this season. The No. 6 crossed the line fourth in class (eighth overall), experiencing some issues throughout the race.
“Giovanni was calling over the radio saying that he had some handling issues and that he couldn’t push,” Law said. “The goal was just to stay out and hope that another car ahead of us had an issue so we could gain points. At least we came home with fourth-place points. Those guys are so good, and we’ll have it sorted.”
K-PAX Racing will take on Round 10 and the event finale, set to start at 1:15 p.m. ET.
Andrea Caldarelli – No. 3 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race 1 – 1st) – “Jordan [Pepper] did a very good job in the beginning to make a comfortable gap, so we weren’t too stressed when we came out (after the driver change). I really wanted the fastest lap so I really pushed the first two or three laps. The car felt good and we didn’t have too much trouble — just a little at the end with the pick-up. Other than that, I’m very happy with the improvements we made as a team — a nice comeback after Road America, where we didn’t feel great.”
Jordan Pepper – No. 3 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race 1 – 1st) – “The key was to make sure we had a smooth start, and also on the restart, have a smooth one to the bus stop chicane before the BMW. Then I knew our car was very good from that point. Once I achieved that, I just out my head down, kept consistent — not ultimately as fast as I could have gone, but pulled a nice gap for Andrea [Caldarelli].”
Giovanni Venturini – No. 6 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race 1 – 4th) – “We started on the front row and had some issues during the race, but the guys are working hard for tomorrow. It’s a long race and hopefully our pace will be better than today. We’ll see.”
Corey Lewis – No. 6 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race 1 – 4th) – “It was a tough day – started out promising from our front row starting position. But we as a team will figure out the problems we’ve been experiencing. We’ve been working so hard, and I know we will continue to do so, never give up – tomorrow is another day and another chance to rebound and end this weekend on a positive note.”
About K-PAX Racing
Based in Sonoma, Calif., K-PAX Racing has celebrated a total 163 podiums, 66 wins, four Driver Championships and three Manufacturer Championships, solidifying the team as a continuous championship contender. In the GT Class, K-PAX Racing has fielded Porsche 911 GT3s during the 2007 – 2008 seasons, Volvo S60s during the 2009 – 2013 seasons, McLaren 12C GT3s in 2014 and McLaren 650S GT3s from 2015 – 2017. The team made a switch to Bentley for 2018, fielding the first-generation Continental GT3 in its first season and the second-generation model in 2019 and 2020. K-PAX Racing will debut the 2021 season in the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO.
About Lamborghini Squadra Corse
Squadra Corse is the motorsport department of Automobili Lamborghini. Born in 2013 within the Research & Development department, Squadra Corse provides an integrated approach to driving experiences of the brand; from driving course programs with road vehicles to motorsport competitions, through the Lamborghini Super Trofeo or championships of the GT class.
Esperienza is the first step for those who are interested in the world of Lamborghini: Its aim is to share the thrill and emotions of the super sports cars from Sant’Agata Bolognese with fans and potential customers alike, by advanced driving course programs. Esperienza Dinamica is divided into five programs in order to face every type of surface: Corsa, Neve, Sabbia, Strada, Terra. Esperienza Accademia is the program dedicated to advanced drivers, offering driving course programs not only on the racetrack but also on ice in order to improve the driving skills of the pilots.
The Lamborghini Super Trofeo is an international motor racing series with drivers competing in identical Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo EVOs, the racing version of the production model, that features the same 5.2 l naturally aspirated V10 engine. Inaugurated in 2009, Super Trofeo hosts regional championships in Europe, Asia and North America and is divided in four categories: Pro, Pro-Am, Am and Lamborghini Cup bringing together passionate gentleman drivers and young professional pilots. At the end of each season, the teams and drivers of all regions compete against each other in the World Finals, the highlight of the season.
The most challenging tests are those which see Lamborghini’s Customer Racing Teams competing in the principal international GT championships driving the Huracán GT3. The GT3 differs from the Huracán Super Trofeo EVO through its more sophisticated aerodynamics, kinematic suspension control and other technical specifications respecting official FIA regulations. In 2017 the Huracán GT3 won the Blancpain GT Series; in 2018 and 2019 the Huracán GT3 completed a double victory at the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring in GTD Class. Lamborghini is the only company in the world to win both of the prestigious races, that are also known as 36 Hours of Florida, in two consecutive years. Another premiere in 2019: The GT3 won the Triple Crown of the Blancpain GT Series with the titles in the categories Overall, Endurance and Sprint. In 2020 Lamborghini celebrated third victory at the 24 Hours of Daytona with sensational one-two finish.
Both the Huracán Super Trofeo and the Huracán GT3 are constructed and built at the plant in Sant’Agata Bolognese on the same production line as the road vehicles. Specialized technicians of the Lamborghini Squadra Corse are present at every station along the line.
Moreover, Lamborghini Squadra Corse is trying to develop new talents in motor sports, for example through the Young Drivers Program (open for drivers under 26 that will compete in the Super Trofeo championship) and the GT3 Junior Program (for future GT drivers). Both the programs aim to offer young drivers the possibility to improve their driving skills helping them to take a career as professional pilots.
In 2018 Squadra Corse inaugurated its first One-Off, the SC18 Alston, followed by open-top SC20 in 2020. In the same year Squadra Corse unveiled Essenza SCV12 the track-only hypercar in a limited edition of 40 units, fitted with the most powerful V12 naturally aspirated engine ever developed by Lamborghini: over 830 hp.
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