Andrea Caldarelli and Jordan Pepper have continued K-PAX Racing’s winning ways with victory in Saturday’s Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS round at Virginia International Raceway.
Pepper drove the championship-leading No. 3 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo to a 6.609-second win over the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 of Robby Foley and Michael Dinan in the 90-minute contest.
It came after a drive-through penalty was assessed to the No. 33 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo of Mikael Grenier for a loose wheel during its pit stop.
A videographer was seen grabbing the loose wheel. Officials elected to give the penalty to Winward despite the videographer’s interference.
Grenier held the lead at the time after getting out of the pits ahead of Pepper after a commanding early run by Caldarelli from pole.
The Lamborghini factory driver bridged out into a 15-second lead over Russell Ward prior to the race’s only full-course caution with 55 minutes to go for a fuel-induced fire from the No. 91 Rearden Racing Lamborghini of Jeff Burton.
While Caldarelli and the majority of the leaders pitted as the pit window opened up, Ward remained on track for one additional lap, which helped put it into the lead until the penalty.
Caldarelli and Pepper, meanwhile, wrapped up their fourth overall win in five races this season.
Grenier and Ward finished fourth overall and third in the Pro class, behind the Pro-Am class winning No. 19 DXDT Racing Mercedes of Michael Cooper and Erin Vogel.
Cooper emerged as the class leader following a trouble-filled pit sequence for a number of other competitors, including the No. 20 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, which led its class with Fred Poordad.
Poordad’s co-driver Jan Heylen recovered to finish fifth overall and second in the category.
Colin Braun’s late-race pass on the No. 93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3 Evo of Jacob Abel saw Braun and DXDT co-driver George Kurtz complete the Pro-Am class podium in third.
Abel stopped on track on the final lap, ultimately dropping to a ninth place finish.
It promoted the No. 88 Zelus Motorsport Lamborghini of Madison Snow to seventh overall, ahead of the No. 12 Ian Lacy Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 in eighth.
The No. 6 K-PAX Lamborghini of COTA Race 2 winners Corey Lewis and Giovanni Venturini was one of three retirements in the race after dropping out early with suspected gearbox issues.
Race 2 is set for Sunday at 1:45 p.m. ET with live coverage on CBSSN and on SRO’s GT World YouTube page.
RESULTS: Race 1