It was a rather short off-season following the final round of 2020 in mid November, which meant making plans for the 2021 race season would be quickly approaching. After many calls and emails, this year’s plans began to take shape.
Where to begin… so much has happened from the January 1st to now!
The year started off with a bang – the 24 Hours of Daytona with Paul Miller Racing, alongside Madison Snow, Bryan Sellers and Andrea Calderelli.
After a hard-fought 24 hours, we found ourselves with a strong third place finish!
After a short week off from Daytona, our testing program began with K-PAX Racing, where Andrea would be my teammate in the team’s sister car.
I was ecstatic to be a part of this program because of their accolades, and their history speaks for itself.
The first test took place at Thunderhill Raceway and there, it was a great opportunity for me to gel with the race team and get to know the ins and outs of the program.
During the test, I had a chance to familiarize myself with the No. 6 car and my new teammate, Jordan Pepper, who would be in the No. 3 sister car with Andrea.
It was a seamless experience which is a testament to not only how Lamborghini builds its cars, but also how K-PAX Racing operates. Over the two-day test, we completed hundreds of laps with virtually zero issues. It was a great initial shakedown with the team.
The following week, we completed a two-day test at Sonoma Raceway. All drivers were present, as Andrea and Giovani made the trip over from Italy.
I have worked closely with Andrea from our days at PMR, but this was the first time Giovani and I worked together. I was unable to participate in the first day of testing, as I was in Sebring, Fla. with PMR to prep for the Twelve Hours of Sebring, where we feel that we will be very strong come race weekend – hopefully able to add another victory to the organization.
No rest for the wicked – night testing concluded at 10:30 p.m. (ET), and I quickly drove back to Orlando that night to catch a 5 a.m. flight to California to catch back up with the guys at K-PAX Racing – just in time for the afternoon test.
Before I knew it, I was behind the wheel turning laps at Sonoma Raceway. The progress that Giovanni and the team made the first day was very impressive, as I felt like it was nearly a Days of Thunder moment when I show up and instantly got in the car and turn quick laps.
With that being said, Giovanni and I have the same driving style and makes setting up the car much easier for both the drivers and engineers. It was a great day, as I was able to spend time with the drivers and team as a whole.
I concluded the day with a solid red-eye flight back to the East Coast, making it a 10-hour day in California.
We knew from pre-season testing that we would be rolling into the first practice with a very strong race car, and that is exactly what the team delivered.
We as a team executed the weekend perfectly and walked away with the maximum points available.
The opening race was rather uneventful, and the team came home with the first one-two finish of the season. The finale was unexpectedly more exciting than we anticipated at the start.
We had started first and third, meaning that we started nose-to-tail. Our sister car had been battling some fuel pressure issues throughout the weekend and as we are rolling to the green flag their car stumbled, and Giovanni had nowhere to go.
Our No. 6 bumped Jordan, shuffling us to the middle of the pack before we even got to the first turn. We battled our way back through the field and with some masterful team strategy, we found ourselves back one-two come the end of the race.
Overall, these last few weeks have been rather busy – planes, trains and automobiles. The start of a new year – team, series and team manufacturer – K-PAX Racing, SRO GT World Challenge America and Lamborghini Squadra Corse could not have done any better.
Thank you to everyone at K-PAX Racing for all their efforts these past few weeks. I am looking forward to Rounds 3 & 4 at Circuit of The Americas at the end of next month! But first, the Twelve Hours of Sebring with Paul Miller Racing!