In the last three trips to “America’s National Park of Speed,” K-PAX Racing has demonstrated the ability to not only get up to speed quickly, but also use the regular Fanatec GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS stop as an opportunity to gain valuable championship points late in the season. In the seventh and eighth rounds of the 2021 championship, the team collected four podiums with its Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVOs – a victory to keep the streak alive, as well as tighten its hold on the championship.
K-PAX Racing has earned a podium in each race of its last three appearances at Road America since 2018 – all multi-race events – and have collected two wins and 10 podiums in that time. K-PAX Racing has climbed the top step in each of the series’ first four events of 2021 – five of six total wins coming from pole position. To follow-up its victory from pole in the event opener, K-PAX Racing battled to a second and third place finish in Sunday’s finale.
“In the end, it was a great finish for us — second and third which got us great points,” K-PAX Racing Program Manager Darren Law said. “There was a bit of a different strategy going on, and we knew we’d have an advantage in the second half of the race. Most of the cars started on stickers and we started on our qualifiers, which means they were going to be better in the end. Our lap times were good, and the guys really persevered and drove well. We came out with a great finish.”
The opening sequence of the 90-minute finale saw the 15-car field shuffle often, Pepper dropping back five spots to 11th and Lewis improving four positions to sixth. Aggressive exchanges continued throughout the first 10 minutes of action, as Lewis intensely battled out-of-class competitors around him, trying to set a steady pace third in class. Lewis found his groove in seventh overall, but still in podium position running third in class. Four Pro-Am entrants ahead of Lewis led with their Pro driver, lending the possibility of gaining ground in the second half following the driver change. K-PAX Racing notably devised a tire strategy to also benefit its drivers into the late stages of the race.
The No. 6 made its pit-stop early in the window, followed by the No. 3 which served a 15-second penalty from an incident earlier in the race. The team’s Huracán GT3 EVOs settled back into the field in seventh and eighth overall (third and fourth in class) after the in-lap of five Pro-Am competitors and close of the pit window – Giovanni Venturini closing out the event in the No. 6 and Andrea Caldarelli in the No. 3.
Venturini and the No. 6 improved three spots to fourth overall, and Caldarelli’s No. 3 closing on its sister-car in fifth. Venturni was able to make an additional pass, and in the final laps of the race, the second-place car was forced to pit – bumping the two K-PAX Racing cars up one more position. The No. 6 held steady in second, while the No. 3 crossed the line third in class. The charge by K-PAX Racing saw the No. 6 climb eight spots – the most of any car in the field. K-PAX Racing has collected at least two podiums from each of the four series’ events so far this season – 13 total in eight rounds.
“We are doing well in all three title races, and the No. 3 car has a very comfortable lead right now — although it’s still not over,” Law said. “We’re in a tight battle with the No. 6 car because the No. 33 is within a few points, so it’s very tight in the Drivers’ Championship there.”
Next up: K-PAX Racing heads to Watkins Glen International for the ninth and 10th rounds of the championship September 17-19. The team will continue to execute its testing schedule – similar to other tracks earlier this season – next week, which will benefit the drivers who have not seen track time at the course and the engineers when finding the best setup for the Huracán GT3 EVO.
“We’re really looking forward to Watkins Glen,” Law said. “We’re testing and doing some developmental work in another week there, so that will be good. None of the drivers have been there but Corey, so it’ll be a great experience for them. We believe that it should be a good track for us.”
“Testing is critical for a couple reasons. The drivers have not been at the tracks and are learning, but from the other side, this is our first season with Lamborghini. Even though we have a lot of good information, the engineers and team as a whole are still learning. So, we’re doing a lot of work on items such as setup, so it’s critical for us.”
Andrea Caldarelli – No. 3 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race 1 – 1st, Race 2 – 3rd) – “It was solid to finish today, to be honest. We just need to keep working. We were not the quickest car out there, and that’s what we need to work on. It was good points for the championship, but we need to put our heads down to get where we need to be. I’m looking forward to Watkins Glen.”
Jordan Pepper – No. 3 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race 1 – 1st, Race 2 – 3rd) – “It was a tough weekend in general, but a first and third place finish is not bad considering we extended our points lead — which is the most positive takeaway this weekend. We’re making steps forward, but we’re not quite there yet. We need to come back stronger at Watkins Glen, where I believe I think we have the package for our Lamborghini and the team has the ability. We just need to put everything together, and I’m sure we will. I’d much rather get back to a point where you feel you executed everything perfectly. We’re not quite there yet, but we shouldn’t give up. A big positive is that we extended our points lead, but big apologies to the team for the day I had. I made a mistake and we had to take a penalty. But let’s move on.”
Giovanni Venturini – No. 6 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race 1 – 3rd, Race 2 – 2nd) – “We did a great job from starting the race 10th, so finishing second is like a victory to us. The car worked really well for the finale, and now I’m looking forward to Watkins Glen.”
Corey Lewis – No. 6 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race 1 – 3rd, Race 2 – 2nd) – “The opening laps were entertaining. We were trying to make up as much ground as we could, because qualifying was not ideal for our starting position today. But I think early-on, we picked up two or three positions right away, had some fun battles early-on, and just set into a groove. I tried to give the car to Giovanni [Venturini] in the best condition as possible. We had strong pace there at the end which was great. One-by-one, Giovanni was able to pick cars off, which put us back on the podium overall. It was a decent points day and a great recovery from where we began. There’s room for improvement for sure, and we need to start thinking about the championship ahead, finishing both K-PAX Racing cars one-two.”
Source. K-PAX Racing