Normally when I think of racing at Circuit of The Americas, I think… humidity through the roof and it’s just brutally hot. But that was not the case at all this time around.
Constant mixed conditions followed by a complete downpour was on the menu. It made for a rather eventful weekend for Rounds 3 & 4 of the Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS championship.
My week started off early with two days of Lamborghini Super Trofeo coaching with Change Racing as the team was preparing for their first rounds of their championship (May 21-23).
After countless laps in the Trofeo car, I was fairly confident that when transitioning to the K-PAX Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo it would be seamless.
Also, with being the lone American on the team, having the home field advantage and track knowledge, I wanted to make sure I had plenty of notes for my teammates once they arrived stateside so we all could hit the ground running.
As the practice sessions rolled through, all drivers Giovanni (Venturini), Andrea (Caldarelli) and Jordan (Pepper) hit the ground running and were all extremely quick studies – they were up to speed within a few laps.
The competition had proven to be very strong, as nearly all the series teams tested there prior to the race weekend, where we did not.
This just meant we as a team needed to work together to help develop setups and make the most of the track time we had leading up to the races.
We, as a team, felt fairly confident with our cars while preparing for qualifying Saturday morning. We were ready!
The first group of qualifying was under wet conditions but was drying after every lap. But the team found itself starting on the front row!
The second group provided a bit more of a challenge where we were mid-pack and not the most ideal starting position for the finale.
The event opener was a game of who had the best weather app on their phones to help decide when the incoming rain would actually arrive!
Giovanni and Jordan continued their ground in the top two positions. But one lap before our scheduled pitstop, not only did the weather quickly approach but Giovanni also radioed in that we had an ABS failure in the car.
We did a few power cycles of the car when I got in during the pitstop hoping that maybe a full “Control – Alt – Delete” would be the quick fix solution!
Unfortunately, that was not the case and I continued to soldier on without ABS as the rain continued to fall harder and harder.
Anyone that knows me, knows I’ll never back down and I’ll push through, but honestly that was beyond challenging.
The deck was stacked against us, but we were able to bring the car back in one piece and added championship points to our plate knowing that the next race was another chance to rebound!
Our sister car, Andrea and Jordan, scored their third victory of the season!
Sunday brought beautiful, sunny weather where there wasn’t a cloud in site! It was almost a perfect day for redemption!
At the start, I was able to have Lady Luck on my side, and I was able to pick up three positions and set our sights on the lead-pack ahead.
A late race caution after the pitstops allowed the field to bunch back up for Giovanni and Jordan to battle for the victory!
In the end, Giovanni and I were able to score our first victory of the season and man it feels great to get that monkey off our backs!
I cannot thank K-PAX Racing enough for their continued time and dedication to give us a great race car week after week! It’s a total team effort and I cannot wait to get to VIR in a few week’s time!