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K-PAX Racing, No. 3 Clinch Series Title
Caldarelli, Pepper help team to fifth Drivers’ Championship Title
Sebring International Raceway has a backstory fueled on adrenaline – a former site for B-17 pilots in the 1940’s to today, when some of the world’s most elite sports car racing drivers in the Fanatec GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS Championship suited up to take flight on the iconic racecourse. In the 11th round of the series’ 2021 tour – returning to Sebring for the first time since 2009 – K-PAX Racing reached new heights, clinching multiple titles in its maiden voyage with Lamborghini Squadra Corse.
“As always, it was an amazing job by the K-PAX Racing crew,” K-PAX Racing Program Manager Darren Law said. “Everything was flawless – a great qualifying effort and race today. Andrea [Caldarelli] pulled a nice gap in the beginning, a good pit-stop, and then Jordan [Pepper] maintained that. I couldn’t be happier for K-PAX Racing, Jim [Haughey] and Lamborghini – the crew and drivers. It’s been a big learning curve jumping into this year – a new car with a new manufacturer – but we’ve had an amazing season and one of those you dream about.”
The No. 3 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO of Caldarelli and Pepper accelerated steadily to its eighth victory of the season – seventh victory from pole position. Its sister car, the No. 6 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO driver by Giovanni Venturini and Corey Lewis, shared the front row for a fourth time this season (Sonoma Raceway, Round 1; Circuit of The Americas, Round 3; Watkins Glen International, Round 9). K-PAX Racing securing the front row did not come without trials through testing and practice at a course the team has not seen in more than a decade and with limited testing only during race week. However, the team managed to find a complementary package, earning a one-two qualifying result with Caldarelli setting a blistering 2:00.977 lap and Venturini recording a 2:01.848.
The team’s two Huracán GT3 EVOs made a clean pass through the opening sequences of the 90-minute opener, and within the first half-hour of action, Caldarelli created more than a 16-second cushion from the field. Venturini saw most of his stint battling the third-place car, successfully maintaining his position and keeping a four-tenths of a second gap. While Venturini managed to hold his ground, a tire puncture nearing the mandatory pit window forced the No. 6 to pit early – also having to fulfill an additional stop during the window. Caldarelli made his in-lap to pit lane with about a 22-second lead, and in his stint, he recorded the fastest lap of the first-half with a 2:02.770.
Pepper climbed into the No. 3, looking to put the exclamation point on the opener. He was quick to start clearing back-marker cars, building on Caldarelli’s lead by about another four seconds in the first 10 minutes of his stint. Lewis, in the No. 6, collected three overall positions from out-of-class competitors in Pro podium position (sixth overall). Pepper managed the gap to safely get the No. 3 across the line for about a 34-second margin of victory, with the No. 6 finishing third in class.
The No. 3 team added another max points day to its campaign – 25 points to make it 245 through 11 rounds. The 76-point gap from its sister-car (169) is enough to mathematically secure K-PAX Racing’s first Drivers’ Championship since 2016 – its fifth all-time. The team also clinches a Team Championship, its first since 2019, and the win helps Lamborghini to its first Manufacturers’ title in SRO’s North American series.
“To capture a Drivers’, Team and Manufacturers’ Championship a week early is beyond our wildest dreams,” Law said. “It’s hard to switch manufacturers and jump right into a season, but we have a great group of guys that took the challenge on. The engineers have been working hard, and we knew from our very first test with these cars that they were going to be competitive. We had some great races early-on – a few struggles throughout the season. But we always finished well.”
“We have two different mindsets here. For the No. 3 car, we locked-up the championship and can relax a bit – but it’s not a reason to back-off and we’re still going for wins. We still have a lot to prove and learn. For the No. 6, we are still battling for second in the championship. That’s the goal and that’s something very important to us.”
The event finale from Sebring, Fla. will be streamed live on the GTWorld YouTube channel, with audio simulcasts on SiriusXM Satellite Radio channel 392 (992 on the web app.) CBS Sports Network live programming begins Sunday, October 3rd at 1:00 PM EDT.
Andrea Caldarelli – No. 3 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race 1 – 1st) – “We didn’t have much time to prepare this season, so we tried to squeeze in as much testing as we could. I’m quite happy because it’s the first year K-PAX Racing is running Lamborghini, so it was a little bit of pressure for me coming in — trying to bring a little bit of experience and knowledge from the factory in Italy. So, I’m really proud of that. We worked as a team, and we had our ups and downs, but at the end of the day it was important to seal this championship. I’m very happy we did it here in Sebring — it’s an iconic track and historical for America.
We always work in a way to find the most comfortable driving situation. We knew with the heat, tire degradation could be serious. We focused on that after qualifying, we followed our routine in setup changes, and it worked quite well.”
Jordan Pepper – No. 3 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race 1 – 1st) – “It’s been an amazing year by everyone, and how we did it with a win is great. It was sad to see our sister-car get a puncture which made the difference in the end, but it’s been an incredible year to get the eighth win now — and to bring all three Championships back to K-PAX Racing and Lamborghini is incredibly awesome. I couldn’t be prouder of everyone, and to share the car with Andrea [Caldarelli] to get this achievement.
That’s been the trick this year, hasn’t it (winning from pole)? Tomorrow we need to change that and get a win from third, so we can go into Indy with the idea that we can win from anywhere. Andrea opened a crazy lead. It was down to him. I did the easy bit and managed to extend it a bit. It was odd because when thinking about the championship, it’s hard to think not to push.”
Giovanni Venturini – No. 6 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race 1 – 3rd) – “Qualifying was important, and we started front row. Andrea [Caldarelli] and I did a great start, keeping first and second position. I tried to defend with Giacomo [Altoè], and in the end, I got a puncture out of Turn 17. I had to pit which destroyed our race, but Corey [Lewis] did a mega job in his stint to third. We’ll see what we can do tomorrow.”
Corey Lewis – No. 6 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race 1 – 3rd) – “First and foremost, congrats to the sister-car clinching the championship. They worked hard all year long and are great teammates. It’s also great for Lamborghini clinching a championship, because I know it was big on their checklist. The car was quite good. I was just in recovery mode, and I tried to conserve the left-rear as best I could since we had a puncture and that was on the car longer. But, I did everything I could to be consistent and if there was a yellow or something like that, we were in position to capitalize. All-in-all, it was a decent day aside from the setback. But it’s motorsports — it happens. We’ll keep grinding. Tomorrow, we’ll see what we can do to improve two spots better.”
About K-PAX Racing
Based in Sonoma, Calif., K-PAX Racing has celebrated a total 167 podiums, 68 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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