Ok-PAX driving momentum into second spherical of GT World Problem America
Just a little over a yr in the past, SRO America held its first races of the season; that was additionally the final “regular” race weekend anybody would see for some time. As groups headed house from Circuit of The Americas, the world was shutting down for the pandemic. This time, heading to Austin for 2021’s second spherical of Fanatec GT World Problem America, Pirelli GT4 America and TC America races, the nation is popping out of that funk and opening again up.
GT World Problem America is popping out of a funk as properly. The Professional class is again and whereas Ok-PAX dominated the proceedings at its house observe of Sonoma, entries are up, and the Professional-Am class is sort of wholesome. The grid is rising from one race to the subsequent, an excellent signal that issues are wanting up.
Issues are definitely wanting up for Andrea Caldarelli and Jordan Pepper, who took each races at Sonoma within the No. 3 Ok-PAX Lamborghini Huracan GT3, regardless of not having seen Sonoma Raceway till a little bit of testing earlier than the occasion.
“It was positively an excellent begin,” Caldarelli says. “Whenever you begin a brand new program with a brand new workforce and a brand new automobile, it’s not simple. Though there are usually not many rivals within the discipline, to place collectively a aggressive automobile, in addition to dependable…. Till the week earlier than, we had by no means met one another, by no means run the Huracan GT3. It was an excellent begin.”
Contemplating Caldarelli hasn’t seen any U.S. observe apart from Daytona, it most definitely was an excellent starting. The Italian says he expects to really feel extra at house at COTA, a observe that extra resembles its European counterparts in each observe format and the best way the paddock is fashioned. He admits that one of many greater surprises in his first race wasn’t Sonoma’s curves over rolling hills, however the trek from paddock storage to pit lane — in contrast to the standard truck parked in entrance of a storage that’s proper behind the pit stall. That’s a format he’ll expertise at COTA, the place he admits teammate Corey Lewis, partnered with Giovanni Venturini within the No. 6 Ok-PAX Lamborghini, might have a little bit of a bonus originally of the weekend because of previous expertise there.
“Undoubtedly we are going to attempt to maintain the momentum that we had from Sonoma. It’s not going to be simple as a result of for positive our rivals will probably be extra aggressive at COTA. However the expectation and goal is to hold that ahead,” he says, including that he’s wanting ahead to some Texas barbecue in Austin, though he’ll doubtless save that for Sunday night time after the race.
Caldarelli has been racing for Lamborghini Squadra Corsa as a manufacturing facility driver since 2017, and received the 2019 GT World Problem Europe title, in addition to being a part of the successful workforce on the Rolex 24 At Daytona in 2020. Whereas he will not be aware of the American tracks, he was properly aware of the Huracan GT3, and helped the workforce stand up to hurry shortly.
“I attempted to convey my data and attempt to be useful to the workforce to not lose an excessive amount of time to run round on setup and go straight to the purpose since day one. I hope the workforce appreciated my assist and data and expertise with this automobile,” he says.
After all, he isn’t the one driver with Lamborghini expertise on the squad — Venturini and Lewis each are aware of the Huracan in varied guises, and Lewis was a associate on the successful Rolex 24 workforce with Caldarelli. Pepper is the lone holdover from Ok-PAX’s 2020 effort with Bentley in Europe.
Ok-PAX’s lone challengers within the Professional class are Winward Racing, winners of the 2021 Rolex 24, in a Mercedes AMG GT with Russel Ward and Philip Ellis; and Robby Foley and Michael Dinan within the Turner Motorsports BMW M6, transferring up from successful GT4 America SprintX Professional-Am final season with a Flying Lizard Aston Martin. Each Ward/Ellis and Foley/Dinan had been initially categorised as Silver, however moved to the Professional class as entries in each courses had been low.
• The Professional-Am class is rising, with two extra entries at COTA. Jason Harward, who campaigned a Zelus Motorsports Lamborghini in GT America at Sonoma, is becoming a member of GT World Problem America with Madison Snow sharing the driving duties. A brand new workforce brings McLaren again to GT: Brendan Iribe and Ollie Milroy will probably be driving an Inception Motorsports 720S at COTA.
• GT4 America continues to indicate good well being, with 37 automobiles entered for COTA. Twenty of these entries are within the Professional-Am division.
• The TCX discipline will enhance from two entries to 5 for COTA, all in new BMW M2 CS automobiles. A kind of entries is from ST Racing, for former GT4 participant Samantha Tan.
• Though the weekend will probably be spectator-free because of COVID protocols, qualifying and races will probably be streamed stay without cost on the GT World YouTube channel, along with audio simulcasts on Sirius XM Radio Channel 382 (992 on the internet/app). CBS Sports activities Community’s highlights and stay racing package deal premieres Sunday, Might 2 at 2:00 pm ET, with an encore presentation at 10:00pm ET that night. The weekend schedule, stay timing and scoring, in addition to session experiences and one-stop video viewing, can be found at gt-world-challenge-america.com.