May 24

K-PAX Racing Shines in Rainy Spa Showdown

SONOMA, Calif., 2020
K-PAX Racing Shines in Rainy Spa Showdown

Records a Top-10 after chaotic start in SRO E-Sport GT Series Amateur Championship

K-PAX Racing battled a wide array of track conditions over the course of the weekend, as starting times and weather played major roles as the team’s four Bentley Continental GT3s competed in multiple race series hosted by SRO. The team managed to add to its Top-10 tally, recording it’s first in the amateur class.

SRO E-Sport GT Series (Am)

Steve and Raig Strehlow tested the limits of their team-branded second-generation Bentley Continental GT3s at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium), where in 60 minutes of second-round SRO E-Sport GT Series Am action, finished ninth and 19th respectively.

The Am class took center-stage for series competition over the weekend, as the Pro and Silver categories have an extra week of preparation before they return to the grid May 31st. In the qualifying session, K-PAX Racing by SIRIO eSports once again was crowned as the quickest Bentley as seen at Silverstone (UK) and Nürburgring (Germany) in the team’s other classes within the series. While Steve qualified 23rd on the grid (2:17.800), brother Raig secured 29th position (2:18.000).

Clouds initially rolled in for the second-round of the championship, with track temperatures dropping off slightly as the field faced-off into the night. On a wet tarmac would challenge the field, as it saw dry conditions during free practice and qualifying sessions held earlier in the day.

A reset of the Assetto Corsa Competizione (ACC) brought in heavy rain conditions, and the apparent slick conditions was the cause of a disastrous 38-car pile-up exiting the first corners of Spa. Raig was able to escape the pile in the blue-accented No. 4 Bentley Continental GT3, moving into eighth before being forced to pit to repair damages – following most of the field down pit lane. Steve was also negatively affected, awaiting extensive repairs.

Raig reentered the field in 16th nearing about the seven-minute mark, and in the next couple laps picked up three positions to 13th. Steve was able to make his way back on-track in 23rd, competing fiercely to pick up the next spot before the half-way point of the race. By this time, the rainy conditions started to subside.

Raig and Steve were able to improve nearing the 20-minute mark, 12th and 21st respectively. Raig would eventually battle to a Top-10 finish, while Steve picked up a few more spots to 19th. The finish is the team’s seventh Top-10 performance across SRO E-Sport GT Series and GT Rivals competition.

The third round of Am action will take place at Nürburgring May 30th, with coverage on the Race Department Twitch channel. The Pro and Silver classes will take on the Barcelona course May 31st, with coverage starting at 7:45 a.m. (ET) on the SRO Facebook, Twitch and YouTube streams.

SRO GT Rivals E-Sports Invitational

An ACC server-wide issue forced race officials to momentarily delay the penultimate round of SRO GT Rivals E-Sports Invitational from Mount Panorama (AU), but the 30-car field of both real-world and sim racers were able to traverse the mountainside for 60-minutes of action. Patrick Byrne and Guy Cosmo battled the tricky course into the rising sun for a 12th and 21st place finish.

The seventh round of GT Rivals saw the field rumble down the front-straightaway in low-visibility darkness – the race had a local start-time of 5 a.m. Cosmo started 19th on the grid in the No. 8, while the No. 9 of Patrick Byrne lined up on the grid in 27th.

The morning sun illuminated the mountain-top within the first 10 minutes of racing, and Byrne shined. The No. 9 was able to climb to 12th position, though eventually having to serve a drive-through penalty that set him back seven positions. Cosmo, who made a pit-stop early in the race, recovered two positions from reentering the field in 25th.

The two team-driven Continental GT3s continued to improve through the next 10 minutes – Byrne to 15th and Cosmo to 19th. Byrne was able to make a full recovery to 12th with 20 minutes remaining, and he would eventually cross the line having charged through 15 spots during his campaign. Cosmo finished 21st.

“We had the ability to work with M-Sport and some of the drivers they had, and together, we found a setup that is pretty fast,” Byrne said. “But we didn’t know what would happen to the tire after the stint because it was pretty drastic. We utilized a setup that M-Sport provided us, and me and Guy made our own variations. I made it so it is just a really steady setup.”

“Sadly, I knew I was not going to qualify well. But I could continue running those laps all-day. As long as I stayed in the clear, I knew I could run people down. I gave up a little bit of speed – about one second or so – so I could run lap after lap with no issues. It worked out.

The inaugural GT Rivals season will look to finish strong at South Africa’s Kyalami Circuit on May 31st. Coverage starts at 3 p.m. (ET), with streams on the series’ Facebook, Twitch and YouTube channels. Both Cosmo and Byrne will need to first qualify to make the final championship field.

DRIVER QUOTES

Steve Strehlow (AM) – No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3 (Race 1 – 19th)– “After a really great qualifying session, we felt reassured that we were going to be fast. We did a ‘quick-and-dirty’ setup because we knew what we needed to change to improve. I saw the mass crash ahead of me, but I did not have a chance to react. I got hit from the back, and I had more than a three-minute repair time in the pits. It was very hard to bring it back to the pits. I took that time to readjust my tire pressure because they were a bit too high. My pace was very competitive to the other Bentleys, and I gained on the next car ahead of me. Once I adapted, I was really fast. We didn’t have to fight much because I was a lot quicker than them, so I could sit-back and overtake them. It made it really easy. We just could not bridge the gap at the end to the guys ahead of me.

The qualifying setup was great because we had information from Andy [Soucek] and our setup drivers. We did some minor changes from there, but the setup was so quick. We could do the best laps, and I was really proud to see that I was the fastest Bentley from that session.”

Raig Strehlow (AM) – No. 4 Bentley Continental GT3 (Race 1 – 9th) – “The race start was good. I was cautious, letting up a bit when I saw the cars ahead of me, and I should have braked a little earlier. I ended up getting extensive damage from the big accident, and my car from there had way too much understeer. I changed the PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) and repair all the damage. I noticed I could drive pretty good from there and maintain a good race pace – the braking points were nice and everything. I could really push and make some time. I felt motivated because I was picking up positions and had a top-10 pace. Overall, I think ninth place was very good.

We did not train a lot for wet conditions because Spa always seemed to be sunny and hot. But we adapted and I prefer driving in light rain. I seem to always adapt and do well in those conditions. I think this was a challenging, but good race that shows how strong our team is.”

Guy Cosmo – No. 8 Bentley Continental GT3 (Race 1 – 21st) – “I thought the timing of the race was awesome. It reminded me of all the 24-hour races I’ve done, like Daytona, where you drive all night and into the morning, I’ve experienced that before – the change in visibility and those transitions. I really enjoy it, and it offered a whole new experience. It was certainly difficult to get all your setups right, because we basically practiced at 10 am., qualified at 6 p.m. and then we raced at 5 a.m. The difference in track temperature made it hard to prepare for.”

Patrick Byrne – No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3 (Race 1 – 12th) – “A big shoutout to the Bentley drivers around the world. M-Sport really helped. I’ve been in races that get darker as you go, and of course, I’ve been in races where a storm rolls in and it gets dark. But I’ve never started in the dark and worked my way into the light. It is unique and it’s also a challenge. Tire pressures change so much, so you either have to have good tire pressure in the beginning or at the end. The temperature change is so drastic, where you need to account for that in your setup – tire pressure and fuel consumption. All those things are hurdles that no one talks about, but things that we as drivers have to monitor. I set mine to the end of the race, because I’d rather have full-grip with a little less pressure and overall, as my pressure increases, my grip decreases. So, it balances itself out rather than having a really good tire in the beginning, but a horrible one at the end.”

 About K-PAX Racing
Based in Sonoma, Calif., K-PAX Racing has celebrated a total 148 podiums, 59 wins, four Driver Championships and three Manufacturer Championships, solidifying the team as a continuous championship contender. In the GT Class, K-PAX Racing has fielded Porsche 911 GT3s during the 2007 – 2008 seasons, Volvo S60s during the 2009 – 2013 seasons, McLaren 12C GT3s in 2014 and McLaren 650S GT3s from 2015 – 2017. The team made a switch to Bentley for 2018, fielding the first-generation Continental GT3 in its first season and the second-generation model in 2019.

About Bentley Motorsport
Bentley Motorsport is based at the Bentley Motors headquarters in Crewe. From there, the operation runs Bentley Team M-Sport, and oversees customer racing operations around the world.

The Continental GT3 is built by the Bentley motorsport team in conjunction with M-Sport. The Bentley Motorsport team is led by Bentley Director of Motorsport, Paul Williams supported by M-Sport’s Chief Engineer, Christian Loriaux.

Bentley Motors’ headquarters in Crewe is home to all of its operations including design, R&D, engineering and production of the company’s four model lines, Continental, Bentayga, Flying Spur and Mulsanne. The combination of fine craftsmanship, using skills that have been handed down through generations, alongside engineering expertise and cutting-edge technology is unique to UK luxury car brands.



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