K-PAX Racing Line-Up Changes Ahead of NOLA Series Debut
Team Shifts Gears with Same Championship Goals
K-PAX Racing has been known over its history for quickly adapting, producing positive results which include several Fanatec GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS Championship titles. Following a sweep of the season-opener in its Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVOs and in response to foundational series modifications since, the team’s 2022 program will undergo changes to accommodate the new requirements and continue to defend its crown.
GT World Challenge America announced Friday the reclassification of its premiere GT3-spec racing category, restructuring the Pro class. Starting at the NOLA event all pro-level teams must have at least one FIA categorized “Silver” licensed driver per entry. Additionally, K-PAX Racing and its drivers will retain the points and victories earned from the season-opener at Sonoma Raceway.
“Unfortunately, with the announcement of the revision of the rules for driver ratings in the Pro class, we are going to have to split up the driver pairing of our lead car of Jordan Pepper and Andrea Caldarelli, and they will not get the opportunity to defend their Championship from last season,” K-PAX Racing Program Manager Darren Law said. “Obviously this is not a normal situation, but we are confident in our team and drivers and always willing to take on new challenges. We will not change our approach and will focus on competing at our usual high level in pursuit of results and championships.”
To comply with the new class criteria, K-PAX Racing has made the following changes to its two-car Huracán GT3 EVO operation:
- Current team drivers Pepper and Misha Goikhberg will join forces in the No. 3.
- K-PAX Racing and current team driver Caldarelli will welcome Michele Beretta to the No. 1.
- Giacomo Altoè, who was a co-driver for the No. 3 in a highly successful series opener, will no longer be with the program due to the updated classification requirements.
“First off, we want to thank Giacomo Altoé for the hard work he put in with us at the start of the season,” Law said. “He and Misha worked well together, and the proof is in the double podium finish we had in the first event at Sonoma.”
“Jordan has been with K-PAX Racing for several seasons now. We know how fast he is and considering options for the best chances of success on track, he and Misha will be a good pairing. Although we have not worked with Michele Beretta, we welcome him to the team. It makes sense to pair him with Andrea as they have a relationship from previous racing in Europe and we look forward to what he can bring to our program.”
Italian-born Beretta is set to make his team debut after a series appearance in the opening rounds at Sonoma Raceway. He returns to American racing for a full season since completing the 2017 Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America Championship where he placed third. Beretta’s GT racing career first began in 2016 as a Lamborghini GT3 Junior Driver. He has mostly competed in Europe – most recently winning the 2021 Pro Cup category in International GT Open and placing third in Silver Cup for the 2020 SRO Motorsports Group governed GT World Challenge Europe series. Beretta has built a strong rapport with Caldarelli since 2019, competing on the same team in Europe together, though it will be their first time as a driver pairing.
“With the late change of regulations from the championship, I feel very honored to have this opportunity to take part in the No. 1 car with K-PAX Racing and Andrea,” Beretta said. “I definitely feel the responsibility to defend the title the team achieved last year and keep the car on top. I am sure that we can do well.”
A New Test in NOLA
NOLA Motorsports Park will host its first-ever GT World Challenge America event May 20-22. The circuit, a short driver from downtown New Orleans is a 2.7-mile, 16-turn closed-course highlighted by 5,800-foot strip of straightaway which will make it a high-speed attraction to fans near-and-far.
The event was not on the initial series schedule, as it is a late replacement of Ozarks International Raceway. It will be a new test for K-PAX Racing and its driver line-up – all who have yet to experience the track first-hand. While timing did not afford any private testing prior to race week, the drivers have taken to simulator laps to accelerate the learning curve.
K-PAX Racing has found great success in its track debuts across the country. The team has podiumed at 18 tracks in its debut, with nine of those tracks being victorious.
Visit gt-world-challenge-america.com for more event information. All races are streamed live and archived for on-demand viewing at www.youtube.com/gtworld or www.twitch.tv/sromotorsports. SRO America championships also feature broadcasts on CBS Sports.
Andrea Caldarelli – No. 1 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO – “I have never raced with Michele [Beretta] before but we have raced with the same team. I’m really looking forward to working with him. Of course, he’s a bit younger than me, but I hope I can pass down my experience. He knows the car very well, and he’s won a lot with it. I think it’s going to be a great pairing.
I’m generally excited about this new challenge, though it’s not a very normal situation changing the schedule mid-season. Regardless, I’m very open to new challenges. We’re going to have a few test sessions, but it looks like it will be very hot which will be an even bigger challenge. [NOLA Motorsports Park] looks very technical, and it looks like it’s going to be a good track.”
Michele Beretta – No. 1 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO – “I know Andrea [Caldarelli] since 2019, back when I was racing with FFF Racing and when you have the chance to share the car with a factory driver such as Andrea, it gives you extra confidence and motivation to push and do well. My GT career started in 2016 with Lamborghini, and I am part of the Lamborghini GT3 Junior Driver program since then.
I have raced in many championships in GT3 category around Europe, and in 2017 I came in USA for some racing. I know most of the circuits apart from NOLA [Motorsports Park] and Indy (Indianapolis Motor Speedway.] I like the American styled circuits very much, like Watkins Glen (International) and VIR (VIRginia International Raceway).”
Jordan Pepper – No. 3 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO – “A lot has changed going into NOLA [Motorsports Park] – Andrea [Caldarelli] and I are getting split up into two separate cars. I’ll be teaming up with Misha [Goikhberg], and I got to know him (at Sonoma). He’s a really cool guy – passionate and hard-working. He’s always wanting to develop, and we’re motivated. The team and the Pirelli (DHF) tires are still very new to him, so we’ll have to work on that. I think we’re going to have to fight hard, but as long as we’re making progress, I’m sure we can be up for some great results. Hopefully we can keep developing and improving so we can fight for wins. That’s always my goal.”
Misha Goikhberg – No. 3 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO – “I am excited to join Jordan [Pepper] for the remainder of the season. He knows the team, the championship, the tire and the car very well, so that’s a big help.
This is a bit of a curveball for everyone involved in the series and especially our team, but I think everyone will enjoy a new challenge. Nothing really changes competing at a high-level, so we still have to go out there and deliver results.
I have watched a bunch of video on NOLA [Motorsports Park] now, but unfortunately I’ve never been there before. It doesn’t seem like a terribly complicated place, and I’ve always wanted to visit New Orleans, so it’s the perfect opportunity.
Also, would like to thank Giacomo [Altoè]. We had a great run of two podiums in our only two races together. I wish him luck in the future.”
About K-PAX Racing
Based in Sonoma, Calif., K-PAX Racing has celebrated a total 166 podiums, 67 wins, five Driver Championships, and four Team and 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 debuted 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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