August 30, 2015 – Sonoma, CA
After a disappointing withdrawal from Rounds 16 and 17 at Miller Motorsports Park last weekend, K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports returned to the Pirelli World Challenge to put on a commanding performance for Rounds 18 and 19 at Sonoma Raceway.
McLaren GT Factory Driver Kevin Estre earned his fourth Pirelli World Challenge win of the season in the No. 9 McLaren 650S GT3. Estre started Race 1 in 2nd behind Dutchman Renger van der Zande, where he stayed for the first half of the race, patiently waiting for the opportunity to strike. With 15 minutes remaining, Estre passed van der Zande on the inside of turn 7. Once the pass was made, Estre pulled away to create a 3-second gap that he held all the way to the checker flag. K-PAX Racing veteran Robert Thorne started his No. 6 McLaren 650S GT3 in 17th position, the young American charged his way up the field to gain six positions. Midway through the race the team made a strategic decision go for a fast lap time to ensure a good starting position for Race 2. Thorne pitted for a fresh set of Pirelli tires and set the fastest lap of the race, thus earning the pole position for Race 2.
Race 2 began with Robert Thorne starting from the pole position and Kevin Estre starting 4th. With the McLaren’s standing starts continued improvement over the course of the season, both cars accelerated well off the line as Race 2 went to green. Thorne slid into 2nd place, with Estre making the pass on Frank Montecalvo to 3rd. The race went full course caution in the opening lap, and shortly after the field restarted, Estre made the pass for 2nd position. As the clock wound down, Estre continued to chase down the race leader while Thorne held a solid grasp on 3rd place. In the final 15 minutes, a lapped car held up the No. 6 McLaren, allowing the No. 61 of Beretta to get by. Estre and Thorne finished 2nd and 4th, earning McLaren valuable points in the GT Manufacturers’ Championship.
A final race remains in the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge Season. Round 20 will take place September 11-13 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Kevin Estre // No. 9 K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports McLaren 650S GT3
I’m pretty happy to come away with a win and a 2nd place result this weekend. Our car was great, but the Porsche was a bit better today than yesterday. I got held up a bit in traffic, so I lost some time there. In the end, they were better than us today. We’ll take this 1-2 weekend, because it’s good points for everybody. To be on the podium both races here at the home race in front of the K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsport race fans and families is really a great result. I’m really happy with this race. I hope to continue this run in Laguna.
Robert Thorne // No. 6 K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports McLaren 650S GT3
It was a great race today. I’m happy to get the car into the top 5 and I’m happy for the whole team. I thought we had both cars on the podium there, but we had some issues with lapped traffic and got bumped back to 4th. I’m still happy with the team and the car. Big thanks to McLaren GT for working with us on the standing starts. We’re definitely back in the hunt going back into the last race. Maybe we can get a good championship result.
Darren Law // Program Manager
We’re really proud of the whole team this weekend. We had a great run with a win yesterday and a 2nd and 4th place today. It was a great showing for K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports at our home track to come away with two podiums in two days. We’re proud of Robert for such a great run today. He pretty much had third place locked up until an incident with a lapped car held him up and Kevin put in a strong performance all weekend long. Both cars were fighting for top positions, and this weekend really showed the strength in our program. We’re looking forward to the final event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in two weeks.
Flying Lizard Motorsports
An integration of two powerful, championship-winning teams, K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports commences its first season as a combined effort in the Pirelli World Challenge. Since joining the Pirelli World Challenge in 2007, K-PAX Racing has celebrated a total 72 podiums, 25 wins and three driver championships, solidifying the team as a continuous championship contender. Since 2004, Flying Lizard Motorsports has amassed 68 podiums and 25 wins in the American Le Mans Series and TUDOR United Sports Car Championship, clinching three driver championships and three class championships. The two teams have merged for a full season effort, racing two brand new 2015 McLaren 650S GT3s.
About McLaren GT
McLaren GT is the GT race car manufacturing arm of McLaren Group established to develop, build and support the GT racing and track derivatives of the 12C sports car, and the 650S GT3. Based in Woking, Surrey at the former home of McLaren Racing, the company is responsible for the design, development and production of the GT3 variants of the 12C and 650S, the 12C GT Can-Am Edition and the 12C GT Sprint.