K-PAX Racing Tackles Team Championship in Sebring Scorcher
Caldarelli strengthens hold on Drivers’ Crown
If any passerby answered how late K-PAX Racing prepared its No. 1 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO Friday night at Sebring International Raceway, the word might be “unusually” late. It was dark. Most of the day’s track goers had gone home for the day. But if you were to ask the crew itself, it was simply another day-in-the-life fueled by a championship mindset that has driven them for years.
K-PAX Racing returned to Sebring for the penultimate rounds of the Fanatec GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS – where a sweep secured the three major titles up for grabs in 2021. Fast-forward to this season: When the crew put the fabric car cover over the team’s No. 1 on Friday, they knew it had a legitimate chance of recreating history. The No. 1, driven by Michele Beretta and Andrea Caldarelli, was victorious in the event opener and simultaneously clinched the team’s second consecutive team title. It dates to K-PAX Racing Team Owner Jim Haughey’s early philosophy of not only needing a good car and drivers, but also a skilled crew. A synchronized, powerful push from each gave K-PAX Racing its fifth Team Championship since 2016.
“This was an unbelievable start to the second-to-last rounds of this year’s championship,” K-PAX Racing Program Manager Darren Law said. “To come away here with a Team Championship, locking it up the last two years, is a testament to this team and the level of success we’ve had.”
The adjustments the team made had an instant impact in Saturday morning’s qualifying sessions, as Beretta showcased the strength of the No. 1 Huracán GT3 EVO on the legendary Sebring circuit. He earned the No. 1’s fifth pole of the season – fourth for the Beretta-Caldarelli pairing – by recording a lap time of 2:00.298. The No. 3 Huracán GT3 EVO of Misha Goikhberg and Jordan Pepper also qualified toward the top, as Goikhberg clocked the third-best time of 2:00.960.
The K-PAX Racing Huracán GT3 EVOs were unscathed in a chaotic opening sequence of the 90-minute race, which resulted in a full-course yellow less than two minutes into the 11th round of the championship. The restart saw both K-PAX Racing cars file into their initial starting positions. Beretta set the pace within the first 20 minutes of action, continually replacing the race’s fastest lap he set to 2:01.633 – and more than a five-second gap over the field. Beretta extends the lead to nearly 11 seconds into the mandatory pitstop. The No. 3 makes the change for Pepper, successfully defending third.
Caldarelli raised the bar on the race’s fastest lap to 2:00.479 in clear air, enjoying more than a 15-second lead with 30 minutes remaining. Meanwhile, Pepper made a push to second by closing the gap to less than four-tenths of a second. Caldarelli’s time earned him the CrowdStrike’s Fastest Lap award, and he eventually crossed the line with more than a 25-second lead. Pepper was unable to safely execute a pass for runner-up, however, helped give the team a double podium for the day. Both K-PAX Racing cars have finished on the Pro-class podium in nine races this season.
“Overall, today was just phenomenal,” Law said. “The No. 1 car was dominant, and the No. 3 car had such a tough fight. It’s great to have them both on the podium. We have to give credit to our team, which has spent a lot of time between races preparing for these events. We had our struggles this year, but found places where we could sort them out. It was obvious today.”
“Even last night: There were some issues and the guys stayed late. But everyone puts in the hard work. Between the crew and the support from Jim Haughey, it makes this truly a winning program. We’re looking forward to closing out the rest of these titles.”
Visit gt-world-challenge-america.com for more event information. All races are streamed live and archived for on-demand viewing at youtube.com/gtworld or twitch.tv/sromotorsports. SRO America championships also feature broadcasts on CBS Sports.
Andrea Caldarelli – No. 1 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race 1 – 1st) – “A big shoutout to the crew. We know how hard it was behind the scenes to do the job they did in such a short time. It felt good knowing we were able to get a good result for them, because it’s been a frustrating last couple of events. We were able to come back to a very similar feeling that we had earlier in the year. We have a couple of small things to adjust still, but that was the way we wanted to return at Sebring. They deserve this one today. I’m very happy for the team, its second championship in a row. It’s the cherry on top, and they all worked very hard for this.”
Michele Beretta – No. 1 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race 1 – 1st) – “It was a great qualifying session because we were able to get on pole, though the lap was not super perfect. We still had a little more, but it was important that we were able to just get the car on pole. The race was clean, there were no mistakes and our pace was super strong. Misha [Goikhberg] was in a fight with second position, which allowed us to pull away and manage the pace. The car was great, and I have to thank the crew and Lamborghini for the effort. We were able to bring back the speed that we had in the beginning of the year. This victory goes to them.”
Jordan Pepper – No. 3 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race 1 – 3rd) – “Misha [Goikhberg] tried at the start to jump second but got squeezed to the wall. He dropped off a bit but then came back in the end which was good. We were going to take a Joker on the pit-stop, and I think we could have jumped out in second if we didn’t have a clutch issue. Fortunately, I was able to get the car away, but I spent the whole time chasing second. They just had too much power for what we had today. I tried everything for 50 minutes and it’s just frustrating, because we had a lot more pace. We have another race tomorrow, so let’s see what we can do.”
Misha Goikhberg – No. 3 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race 1 – 3rd) – “We thought we could make a run at second, and they struggled more with tire degradation than we did. But they had a lot of straight-line speed and drove a defensive race well. Neither Jordan [Pepper] nor I could pass them, so we had to settle for third. It’s unfortunate, so we need to qualify better. Tomorrow, we’ll turn it around and try to go for the win.”
About K-PAX Racing
Based in Sonoma, Calif., K-PAX Racing has celebrated a total 181 podiums, 72 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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