Pepper and Caldarelli Win in Pro, Luck and Heylen Grab Pro/Am in Race 1 at Sonoma

Pepper and Caldarelli Win in Pro, Luck and Heylen Grab Pro/Am in Race 1 at Sonoma
  • Caldarelli wins Pro for K-PAX Racing in Pro
  • Heylen secures win for Wright Motorsports in Pro/Am
  • A smooth race that was free of any major incidents
  • GTWCA Race1 Results

Sonoma, California - The clouds cleared and tarmac heated up as The Fanatec GT World Challenge America Presented by AWS headed out for Race 1 on Saturday afternoon. There were few incidents throughout the entire race, which led to lots of clean racing and fast lap times. 

Jordan Pepper and Andrea Caldarelli claimed the CrowdStrike Fastest Lap in Pro with a 1:37.310, while George Kurtz and Colin Braun laid down the quickest in Pro/Am with a 1:37.708, and Jean-Claude Saada and Conrad Grunewald claimed the fastest in Am with a 1:38.657.

“Coming into our second year together, we know exactly what we do, and the processes are the same,” Pepper said of his teamwork with Caldarelli. “We just start off a lot better than the others, but I’m sure (our competitors) will get a lot better as the season progresses.”

“We always want to improve.” Caldarelli spoke of the team getting the car’s setup right. “We tried a couple of things with the setup, and they worked quite well to be honest.”

In Pro, Jordan Pepper (#1 Lamborghini) saw a comfortable lead for the entire duration of his stint, which turned into a comfortable stint for his teammate Andrea Caldarelli, at one point as high as 43.90 seconds away from P2. Caldarelli then drove home their #4 Lamborghini to an overall victory. Phillip Ellis (#33 Mercedes-AMG) crossed the finish line next, followed by Loris Spinelli (#6 Mercedes-AMG).

In Pro-Am, the top three drivers never eased up on eachother after the driver change, ensuring some great driving for the entire second half. The father-son-in-law duo of Charlie Luck (#45 Porsche) and Jan Heylen secured the top spot on the podium, followed by George Kurtz and Colin Braun (#04 Mercedes) grabbing the silver, and finally Chandler Hull and Bill Auberlen (#94 BMW) coming in third.

“I don’t know of any father and son-in-law combination that’s ever won.” Luck spoke of his win with Jan Heylen. “Jan’s proven himself, he’s been a winner for years and years. It’s incredible.”

“This driver pairing is pretty special,” Heylen stated about being teamed up with Luck. “We had a tough time leading up to the race, as we didn’t feel the speed in the car so much during practice. So great driving by Charlie. He was a bigger factor today in giving us a win.”

The #93 Acura NSX driven by Harrison and Farnbacher was given a drive-through penalty due to the team putting tires on too late before the out lap, which led to Harrison being a lap down before handing the car over to Farnbacher.

In Am, after a spirited battle with the Charlie Scardina (#23 Ferrari) and Onforio Triarsi, Conrad Grunewald (#61 Ferrari) drove home to an first place finish for AF Corse with Jean-Claude Saada.

Race 2 begins at 1:45 PM Pacific on Sunday.