The team's McLaren 650s GT3 race cars received a reduction in boost.
Bowmanville, Ont. - K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports celebrated another podium finish in the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge this weekend, in Rounds 8 & 9 of the GT Championship at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.
Heading into the race weekend, the team's McLaren 650s GT3 race cars received a reduction in boost, per the Balance of Performance regulations by the race series in an effort to equalize competition in the field. The dedicated team worked to create the best package for both drivers, balancing cornering ability with top speed. Race one began with a rolling start procedure. McLaren GT Factory driver Kevin Estre started Race one in 4th and K-PAX Racing veteran Robert Thorne in 6th. At the start of the event, Estre battled with Butch Leitzinger and Olivier Beretta to move up and settle into the second position.
Thorne narrowly avoided serious contact in turn one, despite being forced off the track Thorne managed to keep the car away from critical damage and rejoin the field to continue the fight. A mid-race caution disrupted the race's momentum with the field restarting with one final lap of green flag racing. Kevin Estre kept pressure on Johnny O'Connell throughout the entire race and finished in the 2nd position. Thorne finished 6th, with their fastest laps putting them in the starting positons of 2nd and 7th for Race Two.
Unlike the previous day's race, Round 9 began under the standing start procedure. Sporting the logos of McLaren Toronto, boasting this weekend's partnership with Pfaff Automotive Partners, both McLarens launched off the line beautifully as the field went to green. On lap one, Estre skillfully passed Beretta, earning him the Cadillac ATS Move of the Race. Estre maintained second place until contact from another competitor forced him off track. Like his teammate the previous day, Estre narrowly missed serious contact and was able to rejoin the race but had lost several positions.
He overtook several cars in the next few laps, including the two drivers who are currently his closest competition in the GT points championship. Ultimately, Estre finished 6th, slightly closing the points gap. Thorne battled adversity throughout the entirety of the race when on lap 8, he radioed to the team he had lost the ability to shift gears. He pitted on lap 9 and the crew quickly got to work attempting to diagnose and remedy the issue. Thorne rejoined, but unfortunately the issue persisted, forcing the team to put safety first and withdraw the car from the event.
"All in all, we have to look at the big picture," Program Manager Darren Law. "Although this wasn't the position we wanted to finish with, we have to consider that this was good weekend in regards to the points gained towards the championship. We were fast and we gained on several of the contenders for the title. We are looking forward to Detroit."
Rounds 10 and 11 of the Pirelli World Challenge GT Championship will take place Friday, May 29 - Sunday, May 31 at the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.