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.
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).”