DETROIT, Mich. – Unsafe track conditions today at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix led Pirelli World Challenge officials and track organizers to cancel Race 2 of the double header weekend. A result of a massive storm cell looming over Detroit, standing water and poor visibility on track proved to be too dangerous for drivers and teams to risk running. The cancellation leaves K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports the latest victors, after Kevin Estre took a dominating win in Race One on Saturday in sunny conditions.
Estre and the No. 9 K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports McLaren 650S GT3 started the race in second, behind points leader Olivier Beretta. On lap two, Beretta went off the racing line, and Estre took advantage him, passing on the inside, exiting turn 11. The rest of the race was smooth sailing for the Frenchman, gradually pulling away as the rest of the race unfolded. He crossed the finish line with a lead of 9.631 seconds, clinching his third Pirelli World Challenge race of the 2015 season.
After a shortened qualifying session, Robert Thorne started Race One in 11th place, but in the opening lap, he charged though the pack to start lap two in 7th place. As the race progressed, Thorne dealt with slight handling issues in the No. 6 650S GT3, but kept charging forward, battling for position before taking the checker flag in 6th place.
Pirelli World Challenge is expected to make an announcement regarding a make-up opportunity for Sunday’s canceled event. The next scheduled rounds will take place June 26-28 at Road America in Elkhart Lake Wisconsin, where Robert Thorne previously finished second in Race One in 2014.
Kevin Estre // No. 9 K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports McLaren 650S GT3
Great race for us. In the beginning, I followed Beretta, and then he made a small mistake in turn 8. It put him out of line and he got a bad exit in 10. I was able to come up in the inside, we went two wide into the next corner, but I had the inside line, so I passed him. Then the race was pretty smooth after that. I had a great car in the beginning of the race, so I could pull a gap. Great to win here at Detroit. We were looking forward to racing in the wet. We have a good car in these conditions. After warm up this morning, we saw it was a bit too risky to race. On our car we had a lot of aquaplaning on the back straight, with the spray and aquaplaning, it just wasn’t worth it.
Robert Thorne // No. 6 K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports McLaren 650S GT3
Started P11 // Finished P6
Tough day today. It was a good race at the beginning with some good, hard racing. I’m happy for my teammate, Kevin. He got McLaren GT and K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports another win. We made some good changes on the car for Race two, but unfortunately didn’t get to run. It’s disappointing to not have the opportunity to better yesterday’s finish, but with these conditions, you can’t blame the officials at all. They made the right call. There was a lot of hydroplaning out there this morning in warm up, and that was without us even being in race mode. Safety comes first, especially on street courses. Better everyone goes home safe and with the cars intact. We’ll get after it at the next one.
Darren Law // Program Manager
We’re really happy about the No. 9 car finishing P1 yesterday. Kevin had a great start and got to the front immediately. This is very good for both driver and manufacturer points. Robert also had a great run and made up a lot of positions to finish 6th. It is unfortunate that we didn’t get the chance to race today, as we run really well in wet conditions, but there was just too much rain and I think the officials made the right call from a safety perspective.
K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsport
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.