Russell Ward and Philip Ellis put the Winward Racing Mercedes second Saturday at Circuit of The Americas.
Russell Ward and Philip Ellis put the Winward Racing Mercedes second Saturday at Circuit of The Americas.

K-PAX Scores A Soggy COTA Triumph

AUSTIN, Texas – After a rain delay to the original day’s schedule, the Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS competition delivered the action in bucketloads Saturday afternoon at Circuit of The Americas.

When the downpour and lightning threat created the red/checkered premature stop to the race, it would be Jordan Pepper in the No. 3 K-PAX Racing Larmborghini Huracan GT3 that would lead the team to victory.

When the green flag waved to start the race, third-place starter Michael Dinan deftly maneuvered the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW F13 M6 GT3 past the K-PAX Racing team cars to take the lead.

It was short-lived, however, and Dinan dropped back behind Pepper after denying him the possibility of a flag-to-flag win. The battle for second place ensued between the No. 96 BMW of Dinan, the No. 6 K-PAX Racing Lamborghini of Giovanni Venturini and the No. 33 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Russell Ward for the length of the first driver stint.

By the opening of the pit window, it was Pepper in front, leading teammate Venturini, Ward, Dinan, Iribe, George Kurtz and Jeff Burton.

Gannett and his Aston Martin were the first to execute the required pit stop, followed by Venturini and Dinan, who exited at the same time.

Shortly after that, Robby Foley and the Turner Motorsports BMW were the first out of the required pit stop with No. 6 co-pilot Corey Lewis close behind in the K-PAX Lamborghini. Because of the strategic in-and-out timing of the No. 3 K-PAX Racing Lamborghini, co-driver Andrea Caldarelli re-entered the track after the pit stop and landed in first place.

Winward Racing’s pit stop and driver change resulted in the re-entry of Ellis into second place. At the end of all the pit and driver change dances, the #96 BMW found itself with Foley behind the wheel and a sixth place overall position.

After climbing back to third and catching Ward, the battle for second resumed until the rain arrived and the race was ultimately called with a little more than nine minutes left.