Among the many changes that led to the third and fourth rounds of the Fantatec GT World Challenge America Powered by the AWS Championship, K-PAX Racing did not hold back on its goal – to defend the title. The team had a quick study in a few days and limited time on the track at NOLA Motorsports Park, and in challenging circumstances K-PAX Racing demonstrated its seemingly limitless potential in generating results. In Saturday’s starting round and in the debut on the track, the team scored one or two.
“We couldn’t have finished this race better,” said K-PAX Racing program manager Darren Lowe. “Hat in front of Michele [Beretta] and Misha [Goikhberg] for great qualifying work. They both ran amazing jobs and kept us ahead. And, of course, Andrea [Caldarelli] and Jordan [Pepper] brought home. At the end after the warning on the full track, there were only a few laps to go, it got a little difficult. Congratulations again to all the guys and the effort they put in. It’s nice to come out with the glasses we made. “
K-PAX Racing has restructured its program, following a new change in the rules of the series, which requires that all applications for the Pro level must have one FIA driver (International Automobile Federation) with a silver rating. This led to the dynamic pair of drivers Pepper and Caldarelli split into two Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO teams. Goichberg welcomed Pepper to number 3, and Caldarelli and the team introduced Beretta to number 1. The revised program was ready to take center stage for the team’s 25th new series of track since 2007.
K-PAX Racing was in traditional form, despite the fact that four drivers were learning a brand new course. In the first training session on Thursday, number 1 topped the charts with a score of 1: 34,248. Friday’s qualifying morning shared its own bright spots, highlighted by Beretta’s quick jump to the top of the timetables in the first session. Beretta put number 1 on the pole in the opening tournament with a score of 1: 34,067. Goichberg also took a place on the podium to start the third round, getting the third fastest time – 1: 35.258. In the fourth qualifying round, Caldarelli finished sixth (second in the class) with a time of 1: 33.722, and Pepper took seventh (third in the class) with a time of 1: 33.821.
“The tire pressure was good right away, so I knew I had to make a good first lap,” Beretta said. “I tried to improve a little bit in the rest of the race, but it didn’t work out because the pressure was a little higher. But we provided a pillar. Unfortunately, the second session of Andrea was not easy. It’s always good to jump out and see that he has made a big circle – clean, without mistakes. “
Clouds hung over the track, teasing the possibility of a wet race; however, conditions on the track remained dry for the launch, which launched the first edition of the series at NOLA. Beretta was fast on gas – also Goikhberg, who took second place. K-PAX Racing was one or two almost instantly before the yellow color from the incident in the initial sequence stopped for a moment.
Goichberg quickly defended second in the first turns of the restart, allowing the team’s sister car to move away for more than two seconds. The 3rd number was also able to lag behind the third by about 1.5 seconds after finding its rhythm. One-third of the way through a 90-minute campaign, Beretta continued to control the race, leading by more than 10 seconds. Goichberg also created space off the field, steadily holding just under six seconds of advantage over third. The battle for third place, which led to the incident, contributed to the growth of the team’s margin.
Both K-PAX Racing Huracán GT3 EVOs hit the window early, number 1 conceded by Caldarelli and № 3 Pepper. Caldarelli coped with the 20-second gap left by his navigator, while Pepper struggled through traffic, continuing to keep the attack from third position in fear. The two cars extended their divisions until the yellow color, about 20 minutes left, regrouped the field. Although profitability declined, the two restart vehicles separated the K-PAX Racing vehicles. The safety car walked across the field until there were about four minutes left. There was complete chaos, drivers were fighting in several cars. Both cars were able to completely break out on the white flag, eventually finishing on top. K-PAX Racing started the season with a series of three races.
NOLA Motorsport Park is the 19th track where the team recorded a performance on the podium in its debut, and the 10th where it won. K-PAX Racing continues the trend by taking the podium on all 25 tracks of the series that have visited over its history. NOLA is the 23rd North American series where the team has won.
Andrea Caldarelli – № 1 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (1st – 1st race) – “I think we have reached the maximum today. From qualifying we knew we weren’t the fastest car, but we made a little progress in the race. We always have to keep working to improve because we want to achieve that – mostly at a pace. We used this race as a small test. Michelle [Beretta] did an amazing job to give me a good result and then I used the space bar to learn a little more about the car. But after the safety car [at the end], it was again a “race”. It was a great job guys. It’s a really hot weekend, but the guys are focused on themselves. “
Michele Beretta – № 1 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (1st – 1st race) – “For us it was a pure race. Even the safety machine in the end could not stop us from this result one or two. My work was good. The pace was and we got a break. Andrea [Caldarelli] made a super stop. I think it was a perfect race – a good result for the team and the championship. “
Jordan Pepper – № 3 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (1st – 2nd race) – “Today’s task was completed by Misha [Goikhberg]. He had an incredible start and he endured his own. He raced very well at a good speed, passing me the car in second place. We just controlled the separation from the guys behind. On restart I thought I could try Andrea [Caldarelli] on restart, but in front of me were two back markers, so the ending was a little disappointing. But the second is still good. I’m losing the championship now that Andrea has won, but maybe it’s going back and forth. Congratulations to the guys together. “
Misha Goichberg – № 3 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO (race – 2nd place) – “The goal was to be ahead of everyone, and we were able to do it at the start. At first we had a strong pace. Unfortunately, I feel like I went out a little more than our native car. It was hard for me to drive at the end. We were able to hold back the BMW № 96, and from that moment on we really had no threat from behind. ”
Source. K-Pax Racing