K-PAX Racing Resumes Championship Lead at Home Race with Flying Lizard Motorsports
This weekend, K-PAX Racing and Flying Lizard Motorsports put forth a strong performance in front of their home crowd at Sonoma Raceway. Earning valuable championship points in the Pirelli World Challenge, the McLaren team earned three podium finishes and two pole positions, officially reclaiming the GT Driver Championship points lead from Porsche’s Patrick Long.
GT class rookie Austin Cindric showed a standout performance all weekend long, earning his second and third pole positions, while also setting his second track record of the season. The 18 year old led the field to green in race one, with teammate Alvaro Parente close behind in second. Colin Thompson and the No. 13 McLaren 650S GT3 earned the start of the race award when he gained five spots as the field went green, but contact from another car later in the race put him in last placed and forced him to retire early. Alvaro was shuffled back to fourth on lap one but Cindric and the No. 6 McLaren charged forward, leading every lap with four-time World Challenge Champion Johnny O’Connell close behind. O’Connell made the move on the final lap, resulting in the young pole sitter finishing second for the second time this year. Parente finished fourth, but set a lap that would put him in second place for the start, behind race two pole sitter Austin Cindric.
Austin again led the field to green, and a strong start by O’Connell allowed the champion to get by and assume the lead. Jon Fogarty and the No. 99 McLaren moved Parente and Cindric to third and fourth, but a flat tire caused the No. 99 to slow and go off track. Parente and Cindric settled into second and third, and the field spread out for the remainder of the race. Thompson showed his strength for another clean start, gaining seven positions in the opening lap before the field spread out. Championship contender Michael Cooper suffered problems resulting from contact in the opening laps, dropping from the main pack to the rear of the field, where he stayed for the remainder of the race. Tension grew as points leader Patrick Long worked his way up the field from his 14th place starting position to the front end of the field. An issue with the car hit the No. 9 McLaren 650S GT3 of Parente in the final laps, but he held on with the No. 6 McLaren 650S of Austin Cindric supporting from behind. The duo crossed the finish line in second and third, officially reassuming the points lead for Parente. Thompson and the No. 13 McLaren 650S GT3 brought it home in ninth.
Flying Lizard Motorsports independently entered two Porsches in the GTA and GT Cup classes this weekend with Andy Wilzoch’s No. 45 Porsche 911 GT3R and Michael Hedlund’s No. 35 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Both fields were highly competitive throughout the course of the weekend, and Wilzoch brought in two six place finishes in his second Pirelli World Challenge event. Hedlund celebrated two podium runs in his GT Cup debut, finishing in third place for both races.
Today was surviving, really. The start was a little crazy, and it seemed like everyone was hitting each other. It was a little bit mental. It was all about control from there. In the last four laps, we had an issue come up. It was very tough, and I was lucky to have my teammate behind me for support with a huge gap over Patrick Long. Austin was kind enough to stay behind while I survived to the end of the race.
I’m quite happy with third place today. We got Alvaro some good points. I’m confident I did everything I could do today. Unfortunately, the start just didn’t go our way. We fell back quickly, but we brought home some decent points for Alvaro and I salvaged some decent points. I’m really happy at this weekend. Two poles shows how far I’ve come and how far the No. 6 car has come. We’ll move on to Laguna, one of my favorite tracks, and keep pushing for it.
It was tough to start in the back again for this race after an early retirement yesterday, but we made the most of it and got seven positions on the first lap. We kept our nose clean, and after that it was uneventful. From there, it was four or five cars stretched in a line. We paced the same laps, and no one was passing anyone. There were a few surprises that came alive in the field in the second race. That made it interesting to work around. Overall, it was the best result we could have hoped for, given the circumstances.
It’s great to be at another Pirelli World Challenge race event with Flying Lizard Motorsports. The field was pretty competitive this weekend, even more so than my first weekend at Road America. The guys did a great job getting the car where it needed to be, and Darren Law’s coaching paid off on track. Although we didn’t get a podium this time, we ran competitively and brought the car home.
Our weekend was really strong. Our car was really good. It was pretty hot, but the Pirelli tires lasted well. We managed to finish on the podium two races in a row. For my first weekend with Flying Lizard, I can’t complain about that. Hopefully I get to drive with the guys again and do a little bit better. I’ve known a lot of the guys for a long time, and it’s fun to get here in the morning with them, and stay late with them. It’s a lot of fun with them in the meetings and going through the data. Everyone is really good at their jobs, and it just makes the weekend really smooth. It was nice to get some hardware for it.