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Cosmo Catches Stride at Spa
Team Driver Guy Cosmo earns Top-10 finish in the No. 8 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3
Assetto Corsa Competizione captured the stunning sights of Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps as 34 entries embarked on the fourth round of SRO America GT Rivals competition. Real-world K-PAX Racing driver Guy Cosmo battled to a Top-10 finish at the halfway mark of the championship on the world-famous 19-turn, 4.32-mile circuit.
Cosmo, who has worked tirelessly to translate his actual race-craft into the virtual GT racing world since early-March, showed his resiliency and fast-pace around the course, breaking into the Top-10 on multiple occasions. The No. 8 started 16th on the grid (2:19.623) but made his surge through the field in the opening laps to contest for his best overall finish in the inaugural GT Rivals Invitational. Patrick Byrne, driving the No. 9 Continental GT3, qualified 21st (2:20.055).
“It was really fun. For how bad we qualified, I think I had a really good chance to pick up spots,” Byrne said. “Generally, I race better than how I qualify. I went up five or six spots immediately on the start, and then I just got caught up. In the sim world, you can only see so far ahead, and it’s frustrating for me because I know what reality is.”
“Sometimes you have to give up a lot to gain a lot. At Spa, the pits are literally a four-minute drive-through or if you have a collision. So, you really do have to give up a bit so you don’t have to serve that drive-through or go in for repair.”
The No. 8 Continental GT3 was able to take advantage of a multi-car incident in La Source – which subsequently absorbed the team’s sister car driven by Byrne – and moved into ninth position at around the 10-minute mark. Cosmo continued his push, battling for seventh position with 40 minutes remaining in regulation.
Cosmo closed the gap for seventh by extending the braking zones throughout the course, but initiated contact through Les Combes. He was able to climb to 6th after a competitor served a drive-through penalty before serving one for his incident nearing the halfway point of the race. Cosmo dropped back to 12th momentarily, before picking up the two positions to give K-PAX Racing its best finish in GT Rivals through four rounds of action. Byrne, who spent his race playing catch-up from 31st, made a steady push to a 16th place finish.
“I think one characteristic of my driving style that definitely shines through into the sim world is that I really challenge the front half in corners – entries and exits as long as what they should be, your time is going to be made up on how you approach the braking in detail on the entry,” Cosmo said. “In a lot of cases, guys really slow the car much more than I do into the turning point, and it just caught me off-guard.”
“I wasn’t trying to brake any deeper because I knew I was in striking distance and certainly faster than him, but he really slowed the car down and had a lot slower of an entry speed than I had. I was lined-up directly behind him because I was not looking to pass. Thankfully he was able to keep going after the spin, but that drive-through penalty really killed any hopes of a top-five.”
K-PAX Racing will look to build on its performance during the fifth round of GT Rivals at Suzuka Circuit (Japan) on May 10th.
Guy Cosmo – No. 8 Bentley Continental GT3 (Race 1 – 10th) – “Finally, a reasonable day out there. It’s relieving to finally have a Top-10 finish. It’s been a tough learning process, and we could have had an even stronger showing, but I got caught out in a braking zone behind somebody and tagged him – which earned me a drive-through penalty and rightfully so. To take that penalty around Spa where you have this huge pit-lane really destroys your run. But outside of that, I was able to avoid all the accidents, and it paid off finally. I think what we learned, comparing it to real-life, is that the first couple of laps you could be at a level three where in real-life you’d be like a level seven. You really have to approach it with caution.
It was business as usual [from 12th]. You just need to run the quickest laps that you can and not make any mistakes. I was being extra-conservative to ensure I didn’t have any track-limits violations, because if you get three, you get a drive-through. I was trying to put in the best laps I could within a strict set of guidelines to ensure I was mistake-free. I wanted to have the most consistent laps from there on out.”
Patrick Byrne – No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3 (Race 1 – 16th) – “I had some good, tight racing after [the incident]. I just started setting faster and faster laps as the fuel burned off. With the new tire degradation formula that the series implemented right before Paul Ricard, if you push too hard, your tires start draining. So, you have to keep that in mind – especially with the right-front at Spa. I really looked at that while setting a pace because I knew toward the end, I’d finally find some guys I could race. People outside my reach started getting penalties and that helped as well. In the end, it was good that we could make our way back up. For the next race, hopefully we can start higher up in the grid.”
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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