Yesterday at Circuit of the Americas, newly formed Pirelli World Challenge race team K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports earned their first GT win in dominating fashion. McLaren GT Factory driver Kevin Estre led every lap from lap one, turn one, and crossed the finish line with an astonishing 30 second lead.
The Frenchmen started the #9 K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports McLaren 650S GT3 in 4th as torrential rain poured down on the Austin road course. Due to weather conditions, the race series officials decided to conduct a rolling start in lieu of the traditional standing start procedure. Estre and teammate Robert Thorne in the #6 K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports McLaren 650S GT3 had strong opening laps, with Kevin jumping to first place in the first corner of lap one, as he pulled away from the field. He created a 9-second gap on the field before a mid-race caution allowed the rest of the field to group back up with the leader. When the field went back to green, Estre again pulled away from the pack, running four to five seconds faster than the rest of the field. Ultimately, the Frenchman crossed the finish line with a 30.344 second lead. This marks the first North American win for the McLaren 650S GT3.
Also incredibly strong in the wet conditions, Thorne commanded his McLaren from his starting 21st position to 10th in a matter of laps. Mid-race, the call came in from Race Control for Thorne to serve a drive through penalty for driving over the blend line, heading into turn one. Thorne served the penalty and rejoined in 27th, impressively working his way back into the top 10 before the checker flag came out.
Rounds 3 & 4 of the Pirelli World Challenge will take place March 27-29 at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, in Florida with the Verizon IndyCar Series.
Kevin Estre #9 K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports McLaren 650S GT3
It was a great race. I got a fantastic car from K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizards Motorsports and I am really happy and thankful for the whole team and the engineers, who worked hard for that. It was just the perfect race, I got a good start had the place on the right side to overtake the Cadillac and the other cars and then I got a big lead. Unfortunately the safety car came out, but we had a strong enough car to pull a big gap after the safety car was gone. I’m just really happy and I hope there are going to be some more races like this during the season.
Robert Thorne #6 KPAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports McLaren 650S GT3
It was another tough race today. We got off the line well and we didn’t have any issues getting through the first lap. There were cars going everywhere being that far back in the field and there’s not a lot you can do except hold tight until everything smooth’s out. I think that within five or six laps there we worked our way up to 10th place. The car was strong and really good in the rain, I felt I had no issues making a run for the front of the field. Unfortunately a late call on a penalty put us all the way back to the end of the field again. Another charge back up and this time everything spread out a little more and was not as easy. We are happy to be in the Top-10 at the end of the race and I’m really happy for my teammate Kevin and I’m happy for everyone on the team, McLaren, K-PAX, and Flying Lizards for putting such a strong effort into the race weekend.
Darren Law, Program Manager
It was obviously a phenomenal drive by Kevin. He took the lead on the first lap, never looked back and pulled away. Robert also had a great run going, he was very quick, but unfortunately had to serve a drive through penalty in the pits. I can’t express how pleased I am to be a part of this organization and to have a win under our belt in the first race of the joining of Flying Lizards and K-PAX. With the depth of this field caliber of drivers and teams it’s not easy to do then consider the conditions we had to deal with makes this all the more satisfying. We are more than happy with our performance this weekend and we are looking forward to the rest of the year.
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.