K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports Ready for Season Opener at Circuit of the Americas
After two successful tests with their two new McLaren 650S GT3s, K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports officially begins their 2015 Pirelli World Challenge season this week at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
The team first ran the new McLarens on track in February at Sebring International Raceway, then shortly after continued their off season development at Circuit of the Americas (COTA). The contrast of Sebring’s bumpy surface to smooth, flowing sections of COTA provided the team with vast amounts of data that will be critical as the team develops the set ups for each track on the 2015 calendar. Throughout both tests, McLaren Factory driver Kevin Estre and K-PAX Racing veteran Robert Thorne spent vast amounts of time in both cars, ensuring optimal settings transfer for both McLarens.
Weather conditions and flight cancelations delayed Estre’s arrival to Austin, causing him to miss the first day of testing at COTA. Thorne took over driving duties for both his #6 McLaren as well as Estre’s #9 McLaren that day, working diligently with the team to explore the technical details of each machine. Both drivers were able spend ample time on track the following day, allowing the team to make the final preparations for the season opener.
Pirelli World Challenge previously ran the Austin-based road course in 2013, utilizing the shorter course option. The upcoming races will mark the first PWC event on the full course: a 3.427 mile, 20 turn circuit. Rounds 1 & 2 of the Pirelli World Challenge will take place Saturday, March 7 and Sunday, March 8. The races will stream live via world-challengetv.com, and will re-air on CBS Sports Network Saturday, March 14 at 11:00am.
Robert Thorne #6 KPAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports McLaren 650S GT3
Our two tests have gone very well, and we made good progress with the set-up of the new cars. We are very happy with McLaren’s improvements to the 650S over the 12C. The front grip and turn in stability is on another level compared to last year’s car. If we can keep all the gears turning and all the computers working together, we should have a strong finish. With two teams of this size merging, there are so many things to work though, but everyone has done an incredible job and I feel we’re ready to get out on track with the rest of the field.
Kevin Estre #9 K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports McLaren 650S GT3
Unfortunately I had transportation problems arriving into Austin, and due to a bad weather in New York, I missed the first day of testing. During the second day, the track conditions were not optimum as the temperature was in the 30s, and it rained during the morning. I did around 25 laps with the rain tires in the morning, which was good to learn the track, but as the temperature were really low, the tires were not at their best and it was hard to balance the car. Then I drove on mixed conditions on slicks which was a lot of fun, but not really helpful for the set up. Finally at the end of the day, I did 15 laps on the dry with some decent lap times and a great feeling from the car. Overall, I really regret that I missed the first day but on the second day, I drove under every tracks conditions and therefor I feel ready for the race!
Darren Law, Program Manager
We have had a very busy pre-season so far. With the integration of K-PAX and Flying Lizard there has been a lot to do in joining the two programs. Add in two new cars and several preseason tests, and it makes for some long hours! But the Lizards have been at this for over a decade, and I am really pleased with how things have gone, and in such a short period of time. Both drivers are working well together, the cars have been quick, the engineers and crew are adapting to the McLaren well and McLaren has been extremely helpful in getting us up to speed. It is always hard to tell just how good we are when we don’t have others to compare to, so I am really looking forward to next week when everyone is out on track. This will be an extremely tough series this year with a lot of good drivers and teams, I can’t wait!