But the big story from the provisional entry list is that the ATP Cup leaders and reigning series champions Andrea Caldarelli and Jordan Bieber have split, after a sporting regulation change that requires all Pro Cup entries to carry a single FIA Silver-ranked driver.
“Unfortunately, with the announcement of the revision of the rules for driver classifications in the Pro class, we will have to separate the driver pairings of our flagships Jordan Pepper and Andrea Caldarelli, and they will not have the opportunity to defend the championship from last season,” said Darren Lu, K-PAX Program Manager. Obviously this is not a normal situation, but we are confident in our team and our drivers and are always ready to take on new challenges. We will not change our approach and will focus on competing at our usual high level in pursuit of results and championships.”
Pepper has been transferred to K-PAX’s Verdi Mantis Colored #3 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO, partnered with Silver-ranked driver Misha Gojkberg. Caldarelli will remain in an all-black K-PAX Lamborghini, joined for the rest of the season by second-generation driver Michel Beretta, GT Open Pro Cup international champion and 2020 European Le Mans Series champion.
“With the belated change of regulations from the championship, I feel very honored to have this opportunity to be in the #1 car with K-PAX Racing and Andrea,” Beretta said. “I definitely feel the responsibility to defend the title that the team won last year and keep the car ahead. I am sure we can do a good job.”
To complete the multi-team deal, Giacomo Altoi returns to race car #9 TR3 Racing Lamborghini, rejoining Lebanese co-driver Ziad Ghandour as part of the Pro-Am Cup entry.
“First of all, we want to thank Giacomo Altoi for the hard work he put in for us at the start of the season,” Lu said. “He and Misha have worked really well together, proof of that in the double podium we got in the first event in Sonoma.”
“Jordan has been with K-PAX Racing for several seasons now. We know how fast he is and are considering options for the best chances of success on the track, he and Misha would be a good pair. Although we haven’t worked with Michelle Beretta, we welcome him to the team. It makes sense to pair him with Andrea as they have a relationship from previous races in Europe and we are looking forward to what he can bring to our programme.”
Except for repeating last-minute reclassifications for certain Sonoma teams, the two-car entry K-PAX will compete for the Pro Cup alongside #6 US Racetronics Mercedes-AMG GT3 (Steven Agakhani/Loris Spinelli), #33 Winward Mercedes Racing -AMG GT3 (Russell Ward/Philip Ellis), #96 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT3 (Michael Dinan/Robbie Foley).
The healthy 13-car Pro-Am Cup field will be driven by the #45 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3-R (Charlie Luck/Jan Heylen), which swept the weekend in Sonoma. #04 Crowdstrike Racing with Riley Motorsports Mercedes (George Kurtz/Colin Braun), #93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 (Ashton Harrison/Mario Farnbacher), and #94 BimmerWorld M4 (Chandler Hull/Bill Auberlen) should also be a factor after The podium class at Sonoma ends.
The Am Cup will once again consist of a pair of Ferraris, with the #61 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 (Jean-Claude Saadé/Conrad Grunwald) driving the #23 Triarsi Competizione Ferrari (Onofrio Triarsi/Charlie Scardina).
This coming weekend will see SRO Motorsports America’s first visit to NOLA Motorsports Park since it opened in 2011. The 4,423 km, 16-corner course hosts its first major event since the rain-shortened IndyCar Series race in 2015, The place has undergone updates since 2019.
GTWCA NOLA Entry List >>
Photos © Brian Cleary, Fabian Lagunas and Regis Lefebure / SRO Motorsports Group America