K-PAX Racing Wins Again at Barber Motorsports Park - Leeds, ALApr. 24 2016
This weekend K-PAX Racing celebrated a double podium weekend at Barber Motorsports Park in the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC), after McLaren GT Factory driver Alvaro Parente earned his second career PWC win in Race 1, and a 2nd place finish in Race 2 in the No. 9 McLaren 650S GT3.
Parente started on the first row for Race 1 for the 5th time in 6 races, behind the No. 8 Cadillac of Michael Cooper. Austin Cindric qualified his No. 6 McLaren 650S GT3 in the top 10 with a 9th place start after undergoing heavy repairs resulting in contact from another car at the Grand Prix of Long Beach. Teammate Colin Thompson started 16th in the No. 13 McLaren 650S GT3 after missing the first two practices of the weekend, due to an illness.
Parente enjoyed a clean race start, taking the lead from Cooper as they passed the start/finish line. Parente pulled away, leading the No. 8 and No. 3 Cadillacs of Cooper and reigning champion Johnny O’Connell. Ten minutes into the 50 minute race, Parente and Cadillac raced within a second of each other, gradually pulling away from the rest of the field. With 38 minutes remaining, Thompson went off course in the No. 13 McLaren 650S GT3, suffering heavy damage, ending his race and weekend prematurely. As the field went back to green, Parente kept the lead over Cooper and the field, with teammate Austin Cindric in an intense battle with the No. 88 of Adderly Fong for P10. After leading all 31 laps, Alvaro Parente crossed the finish line in first position, also letting the fastest lap of the race, earning the pole position for Race 2.
Parente and Cindric started 1st and 16th for Race 2, with the field racing clean and wide into the opening turns. Second place position Michael Cooper in the No. 8 Cadillac passed Parente, working to create a two second gap by lap four. Parente wisely bided his time, preserving his tires as track temperatures reached 85 degrees. The pair pulled away from the pack as the field behind them battled for positions. As the race hit the halfway mark, Parente turned up the heat, closing the gap from two seconds to 0.03. In the final 20 minutes of the race, the Cadillac and McLaren were nose to tail, and the No. 3 Cadillac of Johnny O’Connell joined the fight in 3rd. Parente held off the reigning champion, bringing home a 2nd place finish, his 4th in 7 races. Meanwhile, Austin Cindric and the No. 6 McLaren 650S charged up through the field from his starting of 16th to 11th. With less than 10 minutes remaining, a competitor bumped the No. 6 McLaren, causing the car to spin. Quick reaction time from Cindric kept the car on track and free damage, rejoining the race in 14th, where he ultimately finished.
The team gains valuable points in the fight for the Pirelli World challenge GT Championship. The competition resumes with Rounds 8 and 9, May 19-22 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.
Darren Law // Program Manager
I am really proud of the team. We took on a big challenge this season by adding a third car. This team works so well together and is really on its game, and it shows with the wins and podiums we have produced. There is still a long way to go in the championship, but we are happy with how we are running so far. Unfortunately Colin had a tough ending to this weekend but we now a have a few weeks off so we will have time to go through the cars before we get to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Alvaro Parente // No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3
I want to say a big thanks to Steve Conover, my engineer. We’ve been wanting this win for a long time. All the team, K-PAX Racing, McLaren, Flying Lizard, they all did a great job. It was a great win, we really fought for it. It was hard fighting with those Cadillacs. Any small mistake and we’d be done. There are two crucial parts on track where we lose time compared to them, and there’s obviously another bit where we gain time. We had a P2 finish today, starting on pole, the inverse of yesterday. It’s a tough race today. On that first corner there, I probably should have tried to brake a little bit later, but the tires weren’t 100% ready. It seemed like Michael Cooper had a little bit more in the first quarter of the race. Then we had a little bit more in the middle and end of the race. Johnny suddenly finished right next to us, and that was pretty interesting. If I had kept my lead, it would probably have meant that we would have won. It was a tough race, but I’ll take second place.
Austin Cindric // No. 6 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3
I’m glad to have a finish under my belt. Hopefully it improves from here. I’m very happy with race two here. I didn’t have the starting position I wanted to have here, so I knew it was going to be a race that I had to move forward. I did just that. The guys gave me a great car, and it was definitely a big improvement on yesterday. I passed cars all the way up to 11th, which I’m quite proud of at a track that’s been known for being difficult to pass. I got together with a competitor and he knocked me and spun me around, resulting in a 14th place finish. I’m happy with a good result. I just need to start up front and finish up front.