Sonoma, Lambo records double victory
Lamborghini kicked off its maiden Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS campaign in the best possible fashion by completing a clean sweep of victories at Sonoma Raceway, thanks to the K-PAX Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo duo of Factory Driver Andrea Caldarelli and team-mate Jordan Pepper. The pair headed the sister K-PAX Racing Huracán of Giovanni Venturini and Lamborghini GT3 Junior Driver Corey Lewis in Saturday’s first race before doubling up in the second 90-minute race on Sunday afternoon.
Caldarelli and Pepper dominated the weekend from the opening practice session on Friday, topping the times by over six-tenths of a second from the #6 twin car and nearly 2.5 seconds quicker than the third-placed car. Caldarelli then produced a stunning lap-time to top the first qualifying session to grab pole position for Race 1, while Pepper replicated his team-mate’s feat to do the same for Race 2 pole in Q2. The #6 Huracán GT3 Evo of Venturini and Lewis joined the #3 on the front row for Race 1 and occupied third place on the grid for the second race.
Race 1 began with Caldarelli making an early jump to lead Venturini into the first corner with the latter settling into a comfortable second place. Caldarelli quickly opened up a healthy gap from Venturini, who in turn extended his lead over the third-placed BMW of Michael Dinan.
Such was the dominance of the two Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evos at the front, that by the end of the opening half an hour of the 90-minute encounter, Caldarelli had a 13-second margin over Venturini, while Venturini led Dinan by nearly 40 seconds. The order remained the same after the mandatory driver-change pit-stops but the field was closed up due to a full course yellow with around half an hour left. Nevertheless, both Pepper and Lewis managed to lap the rest of the field, with Pepper leading home Lewis by over 15 seconds at the finish.
It was a similar end result in Sunday’s second race, despite some early problems for the #3 and #6 Huracáns at the start. Polesitter Pepper appeared to slow as the field took the green flag, which left Venturini no chance to avoid hitting the rear of his team-mate. Both dropped positions but recovered to run third and fourth before the pit-stops. Caldarelli and Lewis took over from Pepper and Venturini respectively and put in a series of fast laps to ‘undercut’ the leading Pro-Am Mercedes and Porsche cars to assume the advantage in the second stint. Caldarelli duly led Lewis to the finish, this time by a reduced margin of just under eight seconds.
“This weekend was sort of a test for us“, Andrea Caldarelli said. “It was the first race of the season after just receiving the cars. We knew we were going to be competitive despite not having any expectations, We just tried to run smoothly with no mistakes, and the results speak quite well. We had a very good weekend and collected a lot of data, so we can continue to get stronger with every round”.