K-PAX Racing made its highly-anticipated return to Sebring International Raceway for Rounds 11 & 12 of the 2021 Fanatec GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS tour, and while clinching the three championships offered a brief moment of relief, the team was quick on the throttle for the event’s finale. K-PAX Racing added two additional top-threes to its double-podium performance in the opener, making four for the weekend and 20 total in the last six events. The win also counts for the team’s 10th this season, tying a season-high for the team.
“It was an unbelievable weekend for us,” K-PAX Racing Program Manager Darren Law said. “We could not have asked for any better. What a way to close-out our first time here in a long time – with two wins and two third place finishes. Both cars on the podium. Both days.”
While fans across the country have grown accustomed to seeing K-PAX Racing win from pole – as it had for the eighth time in the opener – the finale presented more of an uphill battle. In Saturday morning’s qualifying, Jordan Pepper earned second-in-class with a time of 2:00.639, placing the No. 3 third on the grid overall. Corey Lewis recorded a 2:01.280 which proved to be fourth best in class, and he started ninth on the overall grid for 90-minutes of action.
Even as the K-PAX Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVOs escaped a variety of battles and contact around them, the team was quickly tasked with protecting and improving its positions. The No. 3 found itself in an intense exchange with a class competitor in the opening sequence, while the No. 6 was the beneficiary of the fierce fighting in the field, improving to sixth overall. Lewis was able to execute a successful pass on a non-class car for fifth overall – on the heels of a Pro podium spot.
Both team-driven Huracán GT3 EVOs elect to pit early in the mandatory pit window – Pepper eventually substituting Andrea Caldarelli for the No. 3, and Lewis for Giovanni Venturini in the No. 6. The No. 6 was in a battle of very narrow margins – a three-tenths of a second difference – leading up to the pit window but was able to find clean air and settle into a consistent pace.
Caldarelli was quick to maneuver by the No. 33, which led the Pro category for much of the first-half, with about 40 minutes remaining. At the closing of the pit window, the No. 3 led all Pro class competitors into a safety car; On the restart, Caldarelli settled-in at the front of the field. Venturini bided his time as the two competitors in-front battled wheel-to-wheel, ultimately closing the gap to six-tenths of a second with about 15 minutes remaining. Venturini challenged for the podium in the final 10 minutes, but it was the reoccurring battle between second and third that eventually gave way for the No. 6 to improve its position. Caldarelli won by a nearly a 20-second margin, with Venturini hanging on to third.
K-PAX Racing eclipses the 10-win mark for the second time in its history, the last time in 2018 with a two-car effort. The team also swept the weekend for the fourth time in 2021 (Sonoma Raceway, Circuit of The Americas, Watkins Glen International).
K-PAX Racing and the No. 6 of Lewis and Venturini reclaims the runner-up spot in the championship rankings (184), now holding a 17-point spread from third heading into the final, non-traditional round October 15-17 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which will feature an eight-hour endurance race format. The team has the opportunity to finish one-two in the championship for the first time in its history.
“I can’t say enough about the drivers, the team and about Lamborghini for giving us great cars,” Law said. “Also, to Jim Haughey, who is really the key to making the whole thing work for all of us. We’re really looking forward to keeping this momentum into the Indy 8 Hour. We’ll see what we can do.”
Andrea Caldarelli – No. 3 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race 1 – 1st, Race 2 – 1st) – “It was a great restart after the safety car period. Luckily, it bunched-up everyone so it was an intense restart. We tried something from yesterday, so we could run a more stress-free race. It worked because the car felt good. It was a great race, and I had good fun.”
Jordan Pepper – No. 3 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race 1 – 1st, Race 2 – 1st) – “Our first win…not from pole position. That’s a cool one. It was a tough one, and we took a gamble. We were the only car to start on old tires, and everyone else had new tires saved from yesterday. We were unsure which was the best choice, and I was pretty impressed that I had the speed to stay with the Mercedes. I think if I cleared him, I could have hung on to the Porsche. The car was a dream to drive, and we made it so much better than yesterday – we already had a winning car. The crew just keeps surprising us with the goods, and this result gives us even more motivation going into Indy. Let’s get the 10th win [for the No. 3], and that one is what’s going to count the most. I’m really proud of everyone and a big ‘thank you’ to the whole team from the engineers, mechanics and our car crew. They did an incredible job.”
Giovanni Venturini – No. 6 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race 1 – 3rd, Race 2 – 3rd) – “That was a tough weekend for us, but we never gave up. We captured another podium here this weekend from ninth, and at a course like Sebring, it’s a miracle. In the end, we take some good points from this event and now in second place in the championship. Now, we’re looking forward to Indy.
For me, it was really difficult to stay behind [Russell Ward and Giacomo Altoè], because at this track when you are behind another car, we miss the downforce. It was tricky, but I was waiting for the right moment and that moment arrived. When Giacomo went out in Turn 16, I took the position. We did everything for the Mercedes, but it just wasn’t enough. But from where we started, I’m happy with our performance.”
Corey Lewis – No. 6 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (Race 1 – 3rd, Race 2 – 3rd) – “I think from where we started in ninth, it’s a massive gain for us to be on the podium. The main goal now is securing second in the championship. Our battle continues to Indy, but I think we need to hold our heads high and know we gained a lot of positions in this race. We’re getting better and better developing the car, and we’re going to keep battling.”
Source. K-Pax Racing