Caldarelli, Pepper Dominate Opening Round at Sonoma

Photo: Fabian Lagunas/SRO

Andrea Caldarelli and Jordan Pepper combined to give K-PAX Racing victory in its debut race with Lamborghini, with the duo claiming a dominant win in Saturday’s Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS season-opener at Sonoma Raceway.

Pepper took the No. 3 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo to a 15.700-second win over the sister entry of Giovanni Venturini in the team’s return to SRO America competition.

The pair of Lamborghinis were untouchable in the 90-minute race, having lapped the entire 14-car field despite a lengthy mid-race full-course caution.

It marked the team’s first win since the season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2019.

Jan Heylen held off a hard-charging Ryan Dalziel for Pro-Am class honors, with the No. 20 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R finishing third overall.

Heylen and co-driver Fred Poordad inherited the overall podium position after contact between Colin Braun and Robby Foley resulted in the Pro class No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 making a precautionary pit stop in the closing stages.

Foley faded in the closing stages to finish ninth overall, third in the Pro class.

The Pro-Am class pole-sitting No. 77 Compass Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo of Rodrigo Sales led the early stages until co-driver Matt McMurry lost the car’s left-rear wheel following the mid-race pit stop, resulting in the race’s only full-course caution period.

The K-PAX Lamborghinis had built up a 1 minute and 14-second lead at that time.

Racers Edge Motorsports drivers Dakota Dickerson and Taylor Hagler completed the Pro-Am class podium in third, ahead of the No. 04 DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo of Braun, who limped home with visible left-front damage.

The No. 04 car rebounded from an opening lap accident between George Kurtz and the sister No. 63 car of David Askew, who was handed a drive-through penalty for incident responsibility.

Am class honors went to the No. 61 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020, which finished eighth overall, behind the No. 19 DXDT Mercedes of Michael Cooper and Erin Vogel, who made an early unscheduled stop due to loosened seat belts.

The second and final race of the weekend gets underway on Sunday at 1:15 p.m. PT (4:15 p.m. ET) with live coverage on CBSSN.

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