Jordan Pepper, at the wheel of the #3 K-PAX Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 he shared with Andrea Caldarelli, took the chequered flag to win Race One of the opening weekend of the 2021 Fanatec GT World Challenge Powered by AWS at Sonoma Raceway, California.
The South African driver finished just under 16 seconds ahead of the sister #6 Lamborghini crewed by Giovanni Venturini and Corey Lewis, Venturini driving the second stint.
Jan Heylen completed the top three in the #20 Wight Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R that he shared with Fred Poordad, Heylen and Poordad also finishing first in the Pro-Am class.
Andrea Calderelli led the field away from the grid followed by teammate Corey Lewis and together the K-PAX pair started to open a gap.
There was drama for George Kurtz in the #04 DXDT Racing Mercedes when contact from behind by team owner David Askew at the entry into Turn 4 in the sister #63 entry resulted in a spin for the Crowdstrike CEO. Kurtz brought the #04 Mercedes back to the pits for attention.
By lap three Caldarelli in the #3 Lamborghini had pulled out a lead of over two seconds from teammate Corey Lewis in the sister #6 car.
After ten minutes the two K-PAX Lamborghinis had a lead of over ten seconds to third-placed Michael Dinan in the #96 Turner Motorsports BMW M6 GT3. Rodrigo Salas in the #77 Compass Racing Acura NSX Ggt3 led the Pro-Am category with a lead of eight and a half seconds over Fred Poordad in the #20 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.
DXDT’s bad luck continued as Erin Vogel in the #19 Mercedes pulled into the pits at the end of lap 11 after an issue with her seat belts.
There was a change for second place in the Pro-Am class when Jeff Burton in the #91 Rearden Racing Lamborghini passed Fred Poordad after 40 minutes of racing.
Compass Racing had an issue after Matt McMurry lost his left rear wheel on his out lap during the pit window in the #77 Acura. The #77 car came to a halt on the circuit but racing continued until the driver change window had closed.
After the driver changes had cycled through, Jordan Pepper retained the lead for the #3 Lamborghini with an advantage of 15.5 seconds over teammate Giovanni Venturini in the #6 car.
A full course yellow was shown followed by a safety car as the pit window closed to allow for the safe recovery of the stricken #77 Acura. The race was neutralised for nine minutes but at the restart Pepper immediately started to pull out a gap to Giovanni Venturini.
Robby Foley in the #96 BMW started to drop down the field from third, promoting Jan Heylen into the overall podium positions. Ryan Dalziel pushed hard but had to settle for second in the Pro-Am class as the chequered flag fell.
Race Two gets underway at 21:15 local time on Sunday March 7.