K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports Return to the Long Beach Grand Prix
This weekend the Pirelli World Challenge returns to California for the 23rd Annual Long Beach Grand Prix. Built as a temporary street course on the streets of Long Beach, the 1.968 mile, 11-turn circuit will host seven race series, drawing in massive crowds over the three day event. Both K-PAX Racing and Flying Lizard Motorsports have enjoyed previous success in their respective series at the fan favorite venue, and will now race the streets as a joint effort.
Round 5 of the Pirelli World Challenge will conclude the weekend’s festivities with an hour long race starting at 4:30PM Pacific. K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports currently sits third in the GT drivers championship standings with Kevin Estre, after clinching a dominating win at Circuit of the Americas, followed by a third place finish at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Estre will pilot the #9 McLaren 650S GT3, joined by teammate Robert Thorne in the #6 McLaren 650S GT3. The new McLaren boasts more downforce and better braking ability than last year’s 12C, creating a stronger level of competition for the team on the street circuit.
With only three sessions on track before the race on Sunday, maximum efficiency will be imperative as drivers learn the track and teams dial in on the set up of the cars. K-PAX Racing veteran Robert Thorne’s previous experience at the California event will prove beneficial to teammate Kevin Estre from a learning perspective, who will race on the street circuit for the first time.
Immediately following the race event, the team will head to Barber Motorsports Park for Rounds 6 and 7 of the championship. With little turnaround time between the two events, keeping the race cars contact free will be a focal point for all the teams participating at Long Beach. Round 5 will stream live on world-challenge.tv on Sunday as the field takes the green flag at 4:30PM Pacific.
Kicking off the festivities at the Thunder on Pine in downtown Long Beach on Thursday, the team will take part in the annual street festival with one of the McLarens on display and driver Kevin Estre signing autographs 6:45PM. Saturday at 11:00AM, Thorne and Estre will participate in the Pirelli World Challenge autograph session inside the Long Beach Convention Center at the Optima Battery display, also signing a commemorative poster of the team’s Circuit of the Americas win earlier this year. On Sunday, the team will host a public tour of their garage area, giving fans a behind the scenes look at the interworkings of the team and a close up view of the new McLarens. Program Manager Darren Law will lead the tour, assisted by both drivers, Estre and Thorne.
Kevin Estre // #9 K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports McLaren 650S GT3 // P3 in Points
I’m really looking forward to driving on this amazing track. This is going to be my first time there, so I hope I’ll have enough track time to learn the circuit, even after watching video and spending some time on the simulator. It’s going to be a bit tricky because we have less free practice than most race weekends and there are bound to be some red flags. I think our McLaren 650S will suit the track quite well, and as we saw at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the car is good on street circuits. The agility of the car helps us to be quick in the tight corners, so I think we’ll be good and hope to come back with some good points in the championship.
Robert Thorne // #6 K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports McLaren 650S GT3 // P18 in Points
The Grand Prix of Long Beach is always an exciting event. The crowds are massive and the racing is intense. With concrete on either side of you, things can go very badly very quickly. Long Beach is a very technical track with a lot of flow. For a street course, it has a lot of elevation changes and fast, sweeping features. The McLaren was quick here last year, and I think we should be on pace this weekend.
Darren Law // Program Manager K-PAX Racing with Flying Lizard Motorsports
We are looking forward to going to Long Beach. I always enjoy racing there, especially since we have had success there in the past. Flying Lizard has finished on the podium seven times here, so we’re feeling pretty confident. The main issue for us is the very limited amount of track time. There isn’t much time for set up, and although Robert has been there before, Kevin has not, so we’ll have a lot to do in a short amount of time. Since we are going to our second street circuit, the main focus is “big picture:” to finish this race without damage and focus on points. We head immediately to Barber Motorsports Park the very next weekend, and there isn’t time to do any heavy repairs.
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.