Eleventh Heaven for K-PAX Racing at VIR
K-PAX Racing continued its dominance of the Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS season by claiming its 11th consecutive Pro class victory in the series.
Andrea Caldarelli and Michele Beretta swept the weekend at Virginia International Raceway in their No. 1 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo, extending the former’s championship lead.
Beretta claimed pole for the opening 90-minute race and led away from Misha Goikhberg in the sister K-PAX car.
The Italian’s ability to build a lead was inhibited by two early safety car periods in quick succession: the first to retrieve Ziad Ghandhour’s stricken TR3 Lamborghini, and the second to clear up a multi-car accident that eliminated cars from ST Racing, Racers Edge Motorsports and AF Corse.
Beretta remained in control after the second restart, while Michael Dinan in the Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT3 and US RaceTronics Mercedes-AMG driver Steven Aghakhani both overtook Goikhberg.
Contact between Aghakhani and Goikhberg caused the latter to lose ground, shortly before the driver changes took place with 45 minutes to go.
Aghakhani’s co-driver Loris Spinelli passed Turner BMW driver Robby Foley for second and the Italian was hunting down Caldarelli’s lead until he ran wide at Oak Tree.
That incident dropped US RaceTronics to eighth and enabled Triarsi Competizione’s Ryan Dalziel and Justin Wetherill to take third in their Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020.
Spinelli then took pole for Race 2 but was bumped off the front row due to a penalty for contact with Goikhberg’s Lamborghini during the opening contest.
Racers Edge Acura driver Mario Farnbacher led from pole in a first stint that included a lengthy safety car phase for an accident involving Michael Cooper and Jason Harward.
Farnbacher then handed the leading Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 over to Ashton Harrison, while George Kurtz and Beretta ran second and third respectively.
Beretta advanced past Kurtz’s Pro-Am Mercedes-AMG before overtaking Harrison with 28 minutes to go, paving the way for a clear 11th straight victory for K-PAX Racing.
K-PAX has won all six races so far this season and has been undefeated in Pro since last August.
Hites, Pulcini Win GT Open’s Double Points Race
Benjamin Hites and Leonardo Pulcini moved to the top of the International GT Open standings with victory in the standalone double points endurance race at Spa.
After two hours and 20 minutes of racing, the drivers of the No. 63 Oregon Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo finished just under five seconds ahead of Jordan Love and Frank Bird who shared a Haupt Racing Team Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.
The race started dramatically as the former points-leading Optimum Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3 of Nick Moss was eliminated after being tapped around at La Source and struck by another car.
Oregon Team’s Lamborghinis driven by Hites and Kevin Gilardoni initially ran first and second, until both were passed by a charging Max Hofer in the opening laps.
However, the leading Aust Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II received a drive-through after Hofer went off-track at Raidillon to pass a lapped car, meaning that Pulcini held the lead after the first round of pit stops.
Some of the first stops took place under a safety car following contact between Adam Christodoulou and Earl Bamber that sent both drivers spinning into the Malmedy gravel.
Pulcini kept his Oregon teammate Glenn van Berlo around two seconds behind throughout the second stint, before handing over to Hites who kept the No. 63 car in front.
Pulcini returned to the wheel of the leading Lamborghini for the final stint after a second safety car, but van Berlo’s Lamborghini had slipped behind the HRT Mercedes-AMG.
Van Berlo restored the Oregon one-two by muscling past Love at Les Combes, only for a 10-second post-race penalty for repeated track limits offenses to push the Dutchman and Gilardoni back down to third.
Other Racing & News
***Stevan McAleer and Eric Filgueiras earned their fifth consecutive Pirelli GT4 America victory in the opening race at VIR before their streak was ended by the Conquest Racing Mercedes-AMG pairing of Gavin Sanders and Matt Stephens in Race 2. Nonetheless, RS1 Racing Porsche drivers McAleer and Filgueiras came away from the weekend with a 40-point lead in the Silver Cup standings. Race 1 / Race 2
***GT America powered by AWS was also in action at VIR. George Kurtz won twice in his Riley-prepared Crowdstrike Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, finishing ahead of Jeff Burton in the first race and Andy Pilgrim in the second. Race 1 / Race 2
***DTM champion Maximilian Goetz has joined Madpanda Motorsport for the ADAC GT Masters round at Zandvoort. Goetz, who won the 2012 GT Masters title with Sebastian Asch, will share Madpanda’s Mercedes-AMG with team boss Ezequiel Companc.
***Furthermore, Madpanda has named its TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa lineup for its Silver Cup defense. Full-season drivers Companc and Sean Walkinshaw will be joined by Patrick Kujala, who was part of last year’s winning crew, and Oscar Tunjo.
***Audi expert Pierre Kaffer will race in the Thailand Super Series this year, teaming up with Filipino racer Vincent Floirendo in a B-Quik Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II.
***Among the current sports car racing highlights on the entry list for the Goodwood Festival of Speed are the Mission H24 hydrogen prototype driven by Stephane Richelmi and ACO President Pierre Fillon, Iron Dames driver Sarah Bovy in a Ferrari 488 GTE, several GT3 cars, a Glickenhaus 007 Pipo LMH and the new Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance.
On this weekend: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (Watkins Glen), ADAC GT Masters (Zandvoort), NLS (Round 3), Intelligent Money British GT Championship (Snetterton)