Mother Nature may have teased its presence, but K-PAX Racing made its known Sunday during the Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS event finale at NOLA Motorsports Park. The team’s two Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVOs charged through sporadic sprinkling and the field, making it four podiums for the weekend – and a sweep of the third and fourth rounds of the 2022 championship.
“We swept the weekend with the No. 1 car, which is great for us and the points championship,” K- PAX Racing Program Manager Darren Law said. “Michele Beretta is a great addition to our program. He stepped right in, was on it from the start, and he’s great to work with. I am also very proud of the No. 3 car, which had a second and a third-place finish. All-in-all, it was a great points weekend, and it is great momentum heading into our next race.”
K-PAX Racing was positioned sixth and seventh on the grid for the final 90 minutes of fierce series GT3 racing at NOLA. In the opening lap and under brief, mixed conditions, the No. 3 of Jordan Pepper powered forward, completing a pass on its sister-car and asserting its way into fourth overall (second in class). Andrea Caldarelli improved as well despite swapping spots with Pepper, the No. 1 pressing on in sixth (third in class).
Caldarelli battled for a spot in the top-five. He strategically bided his time in the early part of his stint, eventually completing the pass on a Pro-Am competitor before the half-hour mark. The team’s two Lamborghini Squadra Corse supported Huracán GT3 EVOs were both in class podium position and on the heels of the overall top-three. They kept their order until late into the mandatory pit window, where Caldarelli passed the wheel off to Beretta, followed by Pepper trading seats with Misha Goikhberg.
A tire issue with the lead car allowed both cars to move up – this time the No. 1 also recovering its position over the No. 3. The team Huracán GT3 EVOs were back into the top spots in the Pro class, and the No. 1 made quick work of an out-of-class competitor for the overall. Rain was anticipated, and it momentarily made its reentrance with about 15 minutes remaining.
Goikhberg found himself in an intense battle for runner-up in class with roughly 10 minutes remaining, unable to defend the position. The No. 3 finished third in class (fourth overall), while the No. 1 had plenty of real estate to cross the line as the victor.
“I think it’s very clear throughout all our years of racing and with different manufacturers...” Law said. “It doesn’t matter what cars or drivers we have. We have an amazing group of guys in this program that can always get it done in the end. This is sort of a testament to that.”
“We were thrown a wrench here with the situation after the first round, but we adapted and just made it work. We did our homework and we put the pieces together to have a great program.”
K-PAX Racing maintains its winning streak through the first four rounds of the 2022 championship season. It’s the second-consecutive season, both with Lamborghini Squadra Corse, that the team has swept the opening two events.
Next stop: VIRginia International Raceway from June 17-19. For event details, visit gt-world- challenge-america.com.
Andrea Caldarelli – No. 1 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race 1 – 1st, Race 2 – 1st) – “Starting sixth, I lost one position at the start. The first three corners were very wet, and I was concerned about keeping the car on the track for points in the championship. I was a bit too conservative, so I lost a position, and then I was stuck behind traffic. I couldn’t find an opportunity to pass, even though I had a bit more pace. Once I cleared that car, I thought we had very good pace and caught up to the rest of the field. The team had a very good strategy that worked. It was a great weekend for the team – a double-victory. My teammate (Michele Beretta) did amazing his first weekend. Thank you to everyone at Squadra Corse and K-PAX Racing for the support.”
Michele Beretta – No. 1 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race 1 – 1st, Race 2 – 1st) – “I have to first thank Andrea [Caldarelli] and everyone for the amazing job. If it wasn’t for his great first stint, we wouldn’t have been in the position we were in. I think we had the perfect strategy – we nailed it and undercut it (the pit-stop). It was a little bit relaxed in the end. There was a little drizzle midway through the stint, but it was not a big issue. I managed the distance, and we did a mega job.”
Jordan Pepper – No. 3 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race 1 – 2nd, Race 2 – 3rd) – “It was a super fun race. Starting seventh, we couldn’t expect much. I lacked a little bit in qualifying, and I wanted to make up for it in the race. I got a great start in tricky conditions which was fun – half the track wet and half dry. It made for an all right start off the line, but the first few corners made the big difference to fourth. But I just couldn’t make progress from there. We were stuck in dirty air, so we just hung in there. We had a great strategy on the pit-stop and came out in third. We just got jumped by the sister car, and Misha [Goikhberg] had to deal with some tricky conditions in the rain. It was better today to settle for third, even though we want more. We’re going to put our heads down and come back stronger at VIR (VIRginia International Raceway).”
Misha Goikhberg – No. 3 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race – 2nd, Race 2 – 3rd) – “To be honest, I did not execute well today. I think there was some issue with the pit-stop, and we came out behind the sister car, and after that I couldn’t switch the tires on. It was just pretty slow throughout the entire stint. We’ll have to learn from it, see what we can do, and move on to the next one. Congratulations to the team for a great result overall. But we’ll be back at it for VIR (VIRginia International Raceway).”
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.