K-PAX Racing has been a powerhouse in World Challenge GT racing for 15 years. The team entered the 2022 season on a win streak and the 2021 championship. The year started out strong, but a driver line-up shuffle after Sonoma, and a mid-season hiccup meant that it was no cakewalk for team. In the end, the team managed to secure the team championship, take positions 1-2-3-4 among drivers and deliver a second straight manufacturers championship for Lamborghini.
SRO caught up with the fearsome foursome to reflect upon the 2022 season.
ANDREA CALDARELLI: “I came back after a first great season, so obviously we already had a good relationship. But we had to keep the bar high, so it was never easy. We didn’t change the attitude, the anger to win, compared to the first year. It was a very enjoyable, but it was also a harder second season.
The decision to split-up me and Jordan [Pepper] shuffled everything up, as we used to do car setup together. We were 'against' one another, which was bit strange… but at the same time it pushed us to do better. We had struggled to find speed in the middle of the season and that was a very tough moment, until we have found the issue in Sebring.
[RE: Driver Pairing with Michele Beretta]: We already knew each other and spoke the same language, so it was very easy to click from the beginning and we could crack on straight away. So, I was very happy to share the car with Mike. We enjoyed a lot even though we had tough moments.
It was, for me, a very positive second year with the team and we have achieved a lot together. I am very proud as I feel part of the successful K-PAX Racing and Lamborghini relationship since Day 1. Two championships in row are definitely something special.
[RE: Memories from the season]: There are many nice memories from this year, but one that stands out a bit more is definitely when we went play top golf in Indianapolis together. It was very good fun!”
MICHELE BERETTA: “My expectations at the beginning of the season were different – I was supporting another team in a Pro-Am car. When Lamborghini and K-PAX Racing gave me the opportunity to join the No. 1 car, everything changed. The goal was to win.
After a good start of the season, we had some issues during a few races – Watkins Glen and Road America mainly – where we struggled to find the speed with the car. In that moment, the hard work at the shop and the synergy between K-PAX Racing and Lamborghini was crucial to understand how to bring the car back to the best shape. We analyzed and worked on every component of the car. That’s how we came back strong in the last two races.
My plans for 2023 are still not clear, but I wish to get back to the U.S. to race."
JORDAN PEPPER: “The 2022 season was an interesting one to be honest. A lot of adversity got thrown our way with the change in driver line-ups, but I think how the team reacted is a great testament of the determination by every team member. No matter what was thrown at us and with all the changes that were made throughout the year, it only added to our success. Instead of having a possibility with two cars, we had four drivers fighting for the championship. We ended up clinching one, two, three and four. Overall, it was a great season. My goal going into the championship was to fight for the title again and defend it with Andrea [Caldarelli], but ultimately, we were against each other from the second event. I didn’t get the best of it, as he beat me in the battle. But it was great to have a ‘go’ at it and finish second. It’s something I’m still really proud of.
K-PAX Racing has been my home now for three years. Every year the relationship gets stronger and the trust has been there from the first day. It’s what you need in a good working relationship. I’m very proud to have delivered some great results for them this year – for Jim [Haughey] and every single team member. A big ‘thank you’ to everyone in the No. 3 crew for all the hard work they put into this. It was difficult at points – a lot of lows when we should have been celebrating highs. But, we never gave up in the end.
The pairing with Misha [Goikhberg] was thrown at us in the beginning, but I understood right away just sharing the drivers’ room with him during the opening event what a hard-working guy he is – and very down to Earth. He took up the sport late, but it doesn’t affect how determined he is. He’s probably one of the hardest working teammates I’ve ever had. I was able to learn from him, even being a professional driver. You learn from his determination. I was also able to share a lot of my knowledge as well, and he has come a long way and has become a lot faster. He improved every step of the way.
It was a long, tough year. But overall, it was a good one. I’m very happy for the whole K-PAX Racing organization, as well as Lamborghini Squadra Corse.
MISHA GOIKHBERG: “I really enjoyed 2022 with K-PAX Racing, and I hope to build on that in the future. We had some difficult moments, but we had definitely grown. For me the challenge was getting used to the Pirelli tire, and the championship was new for me. I really enjoyed the format of the weekends and having two races was a big plus. Working with JP (Jordan Pepper) has been a great pleasure. We found good chemistry and usually wanted the same things from the car. Thank you to everyone at K-PAX Racing, Lamborghini, Jim [Haughey] and Darren [Law] to make all this happen. I’m really happy to help Lamborghini secure the Manufacturers’ Championship.”
SRO: Thanks guys!