K-PAX Racing Set to Defend Championship with Lamborghini in 2022
A highly decorated history precedes the K-PAX Racing brand, which has touched the hearts of fans worldwide, as well as wreaked havoc for competitors at a variety of GT racing’s most marquee international circuits. The team, in its sophomore season with Lamborghini Squadra Corse, will have the opportunity to not only expand even further, but also defend its title stateside.
K-PAX Racing announced Thursday a multi-tiered program, similar to its 2020 operation that saw the team in premiere sports car races across the world hosted by SRO Motorsports Group. The 2022 season will feature a one-car Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO effort in Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli, focusing primarily on the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa event, with pro-level drivers Andrea Caldarelli, Jordan Pepper and Marco Mapelli sharing the seat. Simultaneously, the reigning series titleholders in the Fanatec GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS will have a two-car Huracán GT3 EVO program, highlighted by Caldarelli and Pepper seeking a second-consecutive championship at the all-Pro level. A Pro-Am entry will accompany the team, with newcomers Giacomo Altoè and Misha Goikhberg completing the line-up.
“We are looking forward to coming back to SRO GT World Challenge America this year and bringing back Andrea and Jordan to defend the Championship,” Law said. “They work so well together and make a great driver combination. It has been a few years since we ran a Pro-Am car, but it is a title we would like to compete for.”
The 2022 operation will be the first time the team hold entries in multiple series since having a three-car program in GT World Challenge America and Europe two seasons ago – its second expanded effort in 16 years. K-PAX Racing will also field its first Pro-Am car since 2018, which eventually upgraded to the all-Pro class mid-season. K-PAX Racing will have the chance to win its second-straight series championship, which is a feat the team experienced during its 2007-2008 campaigns in the formerly named SPEED World Challenge series.
The driver pairing of Caldarelli and Pepper saw instant success last season, and it only strengthened into the championship rounds of the 2021 GT World Challenge America tour. Only two weeks of prior testing in the Huracán GT3 EVO proved to be enough to create the camaraderie needed to see results in the 90-minute, multi-driver race format. Caldarelli, a Lamborghini Factory driver since 2017, brought a wealth of car knowledge to the K-PAX Racing line-up, while Pepper had prior experience racing with the team. Pepper enters his third season with the team, his second opportunity in an international series.
Caldarelli and Pepper combined for nine victories, 12 podiums and eight poles in seven rounds of GT World Challenge America action. Their nine trips to victory lane are the most by any driver pairing in team history since 2017, when the series introduced multi-driver competition.
“Last year was a dream season for us,” Law said. “Jordan and Andrea work so well together, and it is hard to find a better driver pairing. Given that 2021 was our first season with Lamborghini and doing what we did was amazing, but now that we have a full season of data on this car, our relationship is growing and much stronger with Lamborghini, so we look forward to defending our title.”
Mapelli, who will join them for Intercontinental GT Challenge, rejoins K-PAX Racing after his one-off team debut during last season’s Indianapolis 8 Hour. The Italian GT racing veteran has been a Lamborghini Factory driver since 2017, and he shared an overall sweep of the 2019 GT World Challenge Championship in both Europe’s Sprint and Endurance Cup series. Mapelli also once set a Nürburgring production lap record in his first year with Lamborghini, piloting a Huracán Performante through the treacherous twisties of the legendary circuit at a time of 6 minutes, 52 seconds.
“As far as Europe, K-PAX Racing wants to compete and race against the best in the world and there isn’t any other GT3 race that compares to the Spa 24,” Law said. “We have a great opportunity this year in our partnership with Lamborghini and to have the chance with our K-PAX Racing drivers Andrea and Jordan and adding in Marco Mapelli will give us an extremely strong line up and we look forward to getting back to this event.”
Altoè will embark on his second season in GT World Challenge America under the K-PAX Racing banner. The young Italian racer joined Lamborghini in 2020 at only 19-years-old, fulfilling a goal he has had since his racing career began only four years before. Altoè has a decorated career in the last five years: a 2018 Campionato Italiano Gran Turismo, Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe and Trofeo World Final Championship, and a 2019 International GT Open title.
Goikhberg brings a wealth of racing experience to K-PAX Racing, as he completes the multi-class pursuit by the team in 2022. The Russian-born Canadian racer has fostered great success in his career, winning the 2014 International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) Lites Championship, the 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona in the PC class and an overall victory in the 2018 Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.
“I have been watching and speaking with Misha Goikhberg for a while, he does a really good job in the car, and we feel that he has the ability to fight for a Championship,” Law said. “We raced against Gioacomo Altoé last season – we see how good he is, he is extremely quick and will be a great addition to our team and will also give Misha the right support and a chance to fight for the title.”
Andrea Caldarelli – No. 1 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO – “I am really happy to do my second year with K-PAX Racing and Jordan [Pepper]. I am also really excited, because we have started a development work last year. I am glad we can keep competing together and improving and growing every race weekend. We all have one more season of experience, so the preparation work will be much easier than last year, but we are all looking forward to keep working with the same passion as last year.
The IGTC series is definitely one of the most competitive championships out there for GT3 category, so obviously it is a big challenge for us, but we already showed a good result in Indy 8 Hour last year. So, I am really looking forward to join it again and give all we can to win it. Coming back to U.S. races is definitely something I am looking forward, I have enjoyed a lot last year knowing all new tracks for me, and this year we will be more focus on performance and work on new things to try on track that can accelerate the knowledge of the team with the Huracán GT3 EVO.
Every year in racing is a kind go blank slate as new teams, new drivers and new regulations come in, so I always consider every season’s a new season. However, we have got one year of more experience in 2021, so we will start the new season with objectives in our minds that we have to achieve. It is difficult to replicate such a good year as 2021, but I am looking forward to do it again.”
Jordan Pepper – No. 1 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO – “I’m very excited to continue my relationship with K-PAX Racing into the 2022 season. It will be the third season together with the team, and it’s the second season with Andrea [Caldarelli]. Something drivers would most wish for is to keep that sort of continuity, which will be great when we go out there to defend our title in GT World Challenge America – same car, same drivers and same group of people.
That leads to a bit of pressure. We have a target on our backs so it’s going to be an interesting season for us and how we manage it. Knowing who we are, I think we’re going to come out fighting like last year – when we enjoyed an incredible stretch of results. We can only go up, trying to win as many races as possible, and that’s the aim.
What excites me as well is that we will be branching into Intercontinental GT Challenge. I know Jim [Haughey] has always wanted to do the championship, and I’m really excited to be going on the venture with the whole K-PAX Racing crew. You have Andrea and I, including Marco Mapelli. [Mapelli] is an extraordinary driver – a Lamborghini Factory Driver like Andrea. I think we’ll have a strong pairing between the three of us, a strong package in our Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO, and a strong team to back us.
It may be easy to talk about how we’re going to approach the 2022 season and using the momentum from last year will be key. But we can’t rely on it. We really have to work harder than before – the target is on our back. We have to put our heads down and work extremely hard to keep improving our package and improving as drivers. I think we have the people to do it.
Returning to a lot of the [U.S.] tracks will make it a bit easier for us. We know what we’re doing, so we can get going straight-away without having to learn the track – though Andrea and I picked up on each of them super quick last season. Ozarks [International Raceway] I’m sure he’ll pick up in the first few laps, but I love the U.S. tracks and am very excited to get back to the places I’ve loved so much.”
Marco Mapelli – No. 1 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO – “I’m really looking forward to race with K-PAX Racing in 2022. IGTC it’s a very demanding championship, but I believe K-PAX with their experience and knowledge can face it in the proper way. I know Andrea (‘The Captain’) very well, as we have shared loads of success and good moments together in the past. I always enjoying driving with him. Jordan [Pepper] is a very fast and reliable driver, so I can’t wait to get it started.
Preparation is definitely the key for every race, especially when you’re far away from ‘brickyards.’ Strategy its something very crucial, especially in this Endurance championship.”
Giacomo Altoè – No. 3 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO – “I’ve never worked with the team before, but I know some of the team members. From the outside, it looks a really professional and a high-level environment, which I really like. I’m so much looking forward to the new season with K-PAX and Misha [Goikhberg]. It will be my second season in the U.S. I really like the American tracks, with no room for mistakes.
I started my racing career at the age of 15, in the Italian F4 Championship. Then, I switched to GT racing, having my debut season in 2018, where I won the Italian GT Championship, Super Trofeo Europe and Super Trofeo World Finals – everything in the same year. This is for sure the biggest achievement so far in my career. One of my goals has always been to become a Factory Driver, and to reach this, at the age of 19, with an Italian manufacturer like Lamborghini makes me feel very proud.
I’ve never worked with Misha before. I know he used to race with Lamborghini before, so that’s already a good starting point. I’m sure we will work together and do our best to achieve our goals.”
Misha Goikhberg – No. 3 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO – “I am very excited to join K-PAX Racing, a team with such rich history, as well as competing in GT World Challenge, a very strong GT championship. K-PAX Racing is a very strong team, with very good relationship with Lamborghini, which I am excited to continue. So far, I’ve seen nothing but extreme professionalism and commitment to winning from Darren [Law] and the team.
Unfortunately, I have not worked with Giacomo [Altoè] at all, but I am looking to build a strong relationship, learn from each other and push each other to new heights. [The Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO] is a great GT3 car, it sounds incredible, is easy to drive and very ergonomic. On top of it, it’s fast over different types of tracks and is a very competitive car.”
About K-PAX Racing
Based in Sonoma, Calif., K-PAX Racing has celebrated a total 170 podiums, 69 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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