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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Caldarelli: FFF Missing Indy Due to “No Opening” for Double-Duty

FFF Racing Team to forgo Indianapolis 8H with drivers reassigned to K-PAX Racing Lamborghinis…

Photo: Kevin Pecks/SRO

FFF Racing Team driver and team principal Andrea Caldarelli has described the background to the Lamborghini team’s withdrawal from the Indianapolis 8 Hour.

Caldarelli drives full-time with K-PAX Racing in Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS and recently wrapped up the title alongside Jordan Pepper at Sebring.

The Italian is also a member of FFF Racing Team’s Intercontinental GT Challenge lineup with fellow factory drivers Mirko Bortolotti and Marco Mapelli.

Next weekend’s eight-hour race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway forms a round of both championships, with the first three hours scoring points towards GTWC America.

Caldarelli told Sportscar365 that he tried to get dispensation to compete at Indianapolis in different Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evos and that his team had been in discussions with SRO Motorsports Group, the organizer of both series, “since June.”

However, the request was declined by SRO.

An SRO representative confirmed to Sportscar365 that there is no provision in the regulations for a driver to enter a race in different cars, and that a special derogation could not be granted in this case.

When it became clear Caldarelli would not be able to race in two entries, FFF discussed the matter with Lamborghini and elected to withdraw its car, while its drivers were reassigned to K-PAX Racing which is set to be the Italian manufacturer’s sole Pro squad.

As announced on Thursday, Bortolotti has joined Caldarelli and Pepper in the No. 3 Lamborghini while Mapelli is with Corey Lewis and Giovanni Venturini in the No. 6.

The full Indianapolis 8 Hour entry list is due to be issued later today.

“There was no opportunity to split my driving on the two cars. At the end we just decided to not do it,” said Caldarelli.

“There was no opening from SRO on doing the two cars. I tried to explain this to SRO. And at the end of the day, they make the rules.

“I was not trying to get [drivers’ championship] points for Intercontinental on both cars.

“One option was that FFF would have started from the back of the grid. But why should I have put all the team in a bad situation?

“At the end, it was a common decision between everyone. We sat down and thought it was the best decision.”

Asked if FFF could have entered Indianapolis with a different lineup, Caldarelli said: “It was a decision made together with Lamborghini. The possibility was there, but there was no other good option, so we decided to just not do it.”

Some potential candidates such as FFF Racing Team’s Pro-Am ace Phil Keen and Lamborghini factory driver Sandy Mitchell are committed to racing in British GT next weekend, while Giacomo Altoe will be at Indianapolis with TR3 Racing.

Albert Costa and Franck Perera were potentially available from Lamborghini’s pool of Squadra Corse official drivers, based on their full-season program commitments.

According to Caldarelli, FFF Racing Team’s decision to skip Indianapolis is “not a protest” although he suggested that the scenario of a driver representing different teams in IGTC and GTWC is “definitely something we need to discuss” further with the series organizer.

“Today it was only me as an example of a driver who is involved in two programs,” he said. “But maybe next year it will be five or 10 people in the same situation.

“Definitely I think they have to reconsider how to do the regulations for this because you cannot run two championships in one race, then stop [one] at three hours.

“I think it was also not fair towards K-PAX, for me to just spend three hours [with them] and then switch cars.

“We tried to explain this to SRO and we will discuss it again this weekend. But it’s definitely something to reconsider for the future.”

Despite withdrawing from Indianapolis, FFF remains open to contesting the final round of the IGTC season at Kyalami in December.

“We’ll see how Indianapolis will go,” said Caldarelli. “If we have the chance to bring back the title for Lamborghini, then for sure we will find a solution.”

FFF opened its now-reduced IGTC campaign at the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa, which doubled up as part of its GTWC Europe Endurance Cup program.

Caldarelli, Mapelli and Bortolotti finished eighth overall and came away with eight IGTC championship points as the highest-placed Lamborghini trio.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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