Aug 28

Rising to the Top Under Pressure

ELKHART LAKE, Wis., 2021
Rising to the Top Under Pressure

K-PAX Racing Victorious in Intense Flag-to-Flag Finish, Sixth of Season

During nearly a two-month break in the Fanatec GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS Championship, K-PAX Racing showed no signs of easing back on the throttle. In fact, after an extensive and strategic testing program between events, the team’s two Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVOs hooked right up Saturday for the seventh round – two podiums in the event opener at Road America, including one victory from pole.

Fans near-and-far were able to witness a hard-fought opening round at “America’s National Park of Speed,” as the No. 3 went flag-to-flag in a race highlighted by a late push by its class competitors. While K-PAX Racing was challenged on pace throughout the race, it has also shown the ability to finish races under a wide variety of conditions and succeed from strategy. The victory gives the No. 3 five victories from pole, and the team has six wins overall in seven rounds this season – at least one victory at each event.

“This is a great points day for us — we need to keep that going,” K-PAX Racing Program Manager Darren Law said. “So far, we’ve been a little down on pace, but we had a great strategy and pit-stops with a little bit of luck. It was a great finish for us.”

In Saturday’s early-morning qualifying, Andrea Caldarelli earned his third pole of the season, and the team captured its fifth in the last four series events. Caldarelli posted a time of 2.07.102 in field separated by close margins. Giovanni Venturini, co-driver of its sister-car in the No. 6, recorded a 2:07.918, earning the four-spot on the grid.

In a slightly delayed start – the race set for 90 minutes – the two Huracán GT3 EVOs maintained position in the opening sequence. Caldarelli was able to create a four-second buffer from the field in the first half-hour. The No. 3 stretched its legs to a six-second advantage at the hour-mark, only then to add another two seconds to give the crew a comfortable cushion for the mandatory pit-stop and driver change.

After a speedy stop, teammate Jordan Pepper reentered the field and made his way back to the top. The No. 6 followed suit with a quick stop, entering the pits in fourth and making the switch to Corey Lewis. In the first half of the race, the No. 3 recorded the fastest lap of the race with a 2:10.159.

Lewis picked up podium position shortly after the window due to a competitor infraction but was quickly pressured by the field. The No. 6 engaged in a fierce exchange with an out-of-class competitor, soon forfeiting the position but staying on the all-Pro podium. Pepper stayed consistent on his pace, maintaining an eight-second lead – as high as 11 seconds – but quickly approached back-markers which gradually narrowed the margins.

A late surge by second place threatened Pepper’s lead with about 10 minutes remaining, and with one back-marker in the mix of a potential battle for the lead, a spin by that car drew a caution with six minutes on the clock. The opener finished prematurely under full-course yellow conditions, subsequently giving the No. 3 team the victory.

“We have been struggling a bit from a handling standpoint, so tomorrow is going to be even more of a challenge,” Law said. “We start mid-field, but we’ll be going through the car tonight, trying to make a bunch of positive changes. We’ll see what we have tomorrow morning.”

Intermittent thunderstorms and heavy rain drastically changed Friday’s track conditions from a dry, mid-morning practice session to a slicker, late-afternoon one but K-PAX Racing was still able to lay Pirelli P Zero rubber down on the long-straights of Road America – the team opted to swap slicks for wets – and record consistently quick laps, giving the team and its drivers some guidance and an assortment of data toward setting up the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO.

The No. 3 recorded the fastest lap among the all-Pro entries in the first session with a 2:07.967. The No.3 has been the fastest all-Pro car in six of eight practice sessions and has topped the overall charts three times. Continually showing some signs of immediate success, the team and its drivers have proved their adaptability to new courses with the Huracán GT3 EVO.

K-PAX Racing will start third and fourth in the all-Pro class for Sunday’s event finale. The starters: Pepper will take the honors in the No. 3 after recording a 2:06.972 in qualifying, and Lewis will accelerate the No. 6 into the green after posting a 2:07.947. Race is scheduled to start at 2:15 p.m. CDT.

Fans can follow the action LIVE on the GTWorld YouTube channel, with audio simulcasts on SiriusXM Satellite Radio channel 392 (992 on the SXM web app). CBS Sports Network live programming begins Sunday at 2:00 pm CDT; check your local listings for channel information.

DRIVER QUOTES

Andrea Caldarelli – No. 3 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race 1 – 1st) – “We tried all that we could to give Jordan [Pepper] a good gap. We were struggling a little bit with the pace compared to what we wanted, but in the end a win is a win. We really need to put our heads down and try to figure out ways to get better tomorrow. The pace was not 100 percent there, but we know how to improve.”

Jordan Pepper – No. 3 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race 1 – 1st) – “This was probably the best win that we could have picked up this season, because it was our hardest race against our competitors. We simply did not have the pace but executed well. Andrea [Caldarelli] did a mega qualifying lap to go on pole, and also put his head down and opened up a gap for me in the race. It saved my life, really. I gave it 110 percent from the pits to the flag, but we just weren’t quick enough. We’ll take the 25 points — ones that I think will mean so much later in the championship. The trophy and champagne is for the guys, who have been working extremely hard and never give up. We need to dig deep, because it’s going to get tough from here on out.”

Giovanni Venturini – No. 6 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race 1 – 3rd) – “I tried to overtake the BMW but he overtook me in the straight, and the power difference is just too big. But we brought the car home with points toward the championship. Now, we’re looking forward to tomorrow.”
Corey Lewis – No. 6 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race 1 – 3rd) – “A podium is always good, and it’s nice to get these points and hardware at the end of the day. Ultimately though, if it wasn’t for the issue with Turner [Motorsports], I don’t think we had the pace to match them. This one was a nice little treat, but we definitely need to go back, massage the car a little more to try and make it better for the finale.”

About K-PAX Racing
Based in Sonoma, Calif., K-PAX Racing has celebrated a total 160 podiums, 65 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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Watkins Glen International 2021

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