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K-PAX Racing Charges to Second-Place Finish
No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3 battles from the back to runner-up finish at Portland
**UPDATE: The No. 96 Pfaff Motorsports / Castrol Porsche 911 GT3 R of Scott Hargrove and Wolf Henzler, which finished 2.624 seconds ahead of the No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3, was later penalized three seconds for an on-track infraction. The penalty gives the No. 3 of Max Soulet and Rodrigo Baptista the win in the eighth round of Pirelli World Challenge SprintX Pro-Pro – the pair’s fifth win of the season.
Members of K-PAX Racing met the No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3 at the edge of the track Sunday for the finish of the eighth round of Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) SprintX. Though this is customary for the winning team, K-PAX Racing’s battle through adversity to a second-place finish called for celebration.
“Holy cow, what an amazing end to our weekend,” K-PAX Racing Program Manager Darren Law said. “We’ve had a tough one all the way through, but both Maxime [Soulet] and Rodrigo [Baptista] had an unbelievable drive. We have to give thanks to our crew. They worked well past midnight to do the engine swap. To come home second in our class is phenomenal. We’re super happy.”
K-PAX Racing only fielded the No. 3 car in the Rose Cup Races finale, withdrawing its No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3 early Sunday morning. The No. 3 car started last in its class after a premature finish in the event opener, but this did not deter the team from climbing toward the top of the SprintX Pro-Pro class.
Soulet, the starter for the finale, made quick work of the cars in front of him. The No. 3 was the ninth car waved into the green flag but within the first 10 minutes of the hour race, Soulet was charging toward a spot inside the top five. To get there, Soulet had to avoid a multi-car incident in the first turn of the opening lap.
“I needed to take a chance at the start because I know it is very difficult to pass here,” Soulet said. “I just went for it into the first turn, and I had nowhere to go. I just needed to go for it. When you start last, you need to push at a track like this – a place where it is impossible to pass. I took a chance and maybe we would’ve had contact, but at the end of the day that’s racing.”
Nearing the halfway point – around the time the pit window opens for a mandatory driver change – Soulet found it difficult to make a pass for fifth position. To gain ground, the team executed a quick driver change to Baptista. Like his teammate, Baptista’s mentality was to take advantage of any opportunity to pass in his stint.
The defining moment for K-PAX Racing was in the closing laps of the race with seven minutes remaining on the clock. On a restart, Baptista broke away from the pack and secured the inside heading into the first turn. The bold move by Baptista paid off, as he was able to avoid contact and pick up class position. In thrilling fashion, Baptista crossed the finish line third overall and second in his class.
“First of all, I want to say thank you to the team,” Baptista said. “They did a great job today to get the car ready for this race. The car was really good. I was faster on the straights but the Ferrari’s always braked a little later. I knew I needed to dive in and try. I tried once, and it didn’t happen. Then I tried again and made it. It feels like a win for us because of what happened yesterday. I’m really happy for the team.”
With the runner-up performance, K-PAX Racing earned its 15th podium of the 2018 season. The driver pairing of Baptista and Soulet has earned at least one podium in each of the four SprintX events so far this season, including four victories.
Over the course of the weekend, K-PAX Racing took part in a series of events held by Bentley U.S. as the manufacturer introduced the new Bentley Bentayga V8. Law said the team is “very proud” to have supported Bentley throughout the weekend.
“We’ve had Bentley corporate here featuring the new Bentley Bentayga V8, and we’re very proud that we were able to support them this weekend for their press drives.”
K-PAX Racing will conclude the PWC SprintX season August 10-12 during the Grand Prix of Utah at Utah Motorsports Campus. For more information, visit world-challenge.com.
Andy Soucek – No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3 (Race 1 – NC, Race 2 – N/A) – “Thank you to the mechanics because the whole team has been working really hard since the first free practice with the small issue we had. They changed a lot of things from one car to the other. It felt like a new car, and it was very tight on time. They did a perfect job to not only build the car up but to also to have it in the best shape. That was already a highlight for me, and I want to thank them. It’s a group of people I’ve been working with for only four races now, but it feels like a family. Every time I come to America, I feel very welcomed by them. We trust in each other, and that’s what teamwork is all about. To be able to trust in them like we do, it’s something people should appreciate.”
“It’s not Álvaro’s fault on the spin yesterday. It’s just very unfortunate. We damaged some of the cooling, and that derived into an issue with the engine. It was unavoidable, and the team couldn’t repair it in time because it was a big job that takes time. He didn’t make a mistake, and we should be looking to Utah. It should be a good track for us, and like I always say, ‘Luck turns around.’ At some point, we will be in the front like we deserve. It’s a shame I couldn’t show my pace at this track – where I felt very comfortable. I really think I could have moved forward in my stints. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t have a car for the final race, but sometimes that’s how it goes. I’ve been racing for over 20 years, and this is not the first time something like this has happened. I want to thank everyone for their hard work.”
Rodrigo Baptista – No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3 (Race 1 – 5th, Race 2 – 2nd) – “First of all, I want to say thank you to the team. They did a great job today to get the car ready for this race. The car was really good. I was faster on the straights but the Ferrari’s always braked a little later. I knew I needed to dive in and try. I tried once, and it didn’t happen. Then I tried again and made it. It feels like a win for us because of what happened yesterday. I’m really happy for the team.”
Max Soulet – No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3 (Race 1 – 5th, Race 2 – 2nd) – “I needed to take a chance at the start because I know it is very difficult to pass here. I just went for it into the first turn, and I had nowhere to go. I just needed to go for it. When you start last, you need to push at a track like this – a place where it is impossible to pass. I took a chance and maybe we would’ve had contact, but at the end of the day that’s racing. I was stacked behind the Lambo and couldn’t pass him. The strategy was that if I was stacked behind someone, then I’d pit early. That’s what we did, and fortunately the safety car came out right after it.”
About K-PAX Racing
Based in Sonoma, Calif., K-PAX Racing has celebrated a total 122 podiums, 50 wins, four Driver Championships and three Manufacturer Championships, solidifying the team as a continuous championship contender. In the GT Class K-PAX 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.
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, Brian Gush 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.
Optimum Polymer Technologies, the manufacturer of Opti-Coat, was founded in Memphis, Tenn., on July 1, 2001 by Dr. David Ghodoussi. Prior to this, Dr. Ghodoussi worked for over 12 years as an Organic Chemist overseeing research and development focused in polymers and automotive paint formulations.
For more than a decade, Opti-Coat has been setting the industry standard with their unique coating technologies developing and manufacturing proprietary resins utilizing Silicon Carbide (SiC) chemistry. Opti-Coat’s purpose is to provide clients with a product that is the most durable, innovative and protective coating available.
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K-PAX Racing Announces Details of 2019 Blancpain GT World Challenge America Program.
K-PAX Racing, Bentley Make Promising Start in First Year.
K-PAX Racing Finishes Mid-pack in California 8 Hours.
K-PAX Racing Seeks Second-Straight Podium at Laguna Seca’s Longest Race.
Baptista Perfect at Watkins Glen.
Race recap: Laguna Seca