K-PAX Racing Enters Bentley Continental GT3 in California 8 Hours
Will return to historic Laguna Seca for second-straight season
For a second-consecutive season, K-PAX Racing will enter the Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC) California 8 Hours at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Sharing the seat of the team’s Bentley Continental GT3 will be current K-PAX Racing drivers Álvaro Parente, Rodrigo Baptista and former team driver Bryan Sellers.
“Laguna Seca is such a storied track with a lot of history, and we have had a lot of success there in the past,” Program Manager Darren Law said. “This track is local to our team, and we have good data here. Having previously competed in both IGTC events at the Sepang 12 Hours and also last season in this eight-hour event, we understand the challenges and look forward to competing with other teams from around the world.”
In the inaugural ICGT event at Laguna Seca, K-PAX Racing finished third and was one of just three cars to finish the race on the lead lap. Now racing with a new manufacturer for the upcoming race October 26-28, Law said the team is poised to “give the first-generation Continental GT3 a good send-off by repeating a podium finish.”
Though this season’s entry of the Continental GT3 will be new to the team, endurance racing is an adjustment the team has made at the end of the last three seasons – its first entry was in the 2016 Sepang 12 Hours. Regularly competing in the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC), the team is normally accustomed to 50-60-minute races. However, K-PAX Racing is comfortable with shifting styles in both engineering and strategy when it comes to longer races.
“The shift between doing sprint events and endurance races has different challenges for each member of the team – from the drivers’ mindsets to the engineers’ thought processes and even the team’s preparation,” Law said. “We’re fortunate that our team is experienced in endurance racing, and we have ample time from the final race of the season to this event. We will be fully prepared.”
The driver pairings are both new and familiar for this season’s line-up. Over the course of the 2018 PWC season, Parente and Baptista have competed alongside each other in both the SprintX and Sprint GT class. As for Sellers and Parente, they competed as K-PAX Racing teammates during the 2017 season and drove together in the team’s first California 8 Hours.
“It will be great to have Bryan Sellers back with the team,” Law said. “He and Álvaro were a part of the driver line-up last year that helped get us to the podium. He is a great driver and so experienced in endurance racing. He knows everyone on the team already, so it is a perfect fit for our program. Although he has not driven the Bentley Continental GT3 in competition yet, I don’t have any worries about him getting used to the car. We will run a test program for him prior to the race so that he is up to speed and comfortable with how these cars behave.”
Sellers will be tasked with learning a new car in the Continental GT3, but he said he enjoys and embraces new challenges “whether it’s a new track, car or team.” Sellers, who regularly competes against Parente in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IMSA), said he looks forward to not only reuniting with Parente, but also joining Baptista in his second-consecutive endurance race with K-PAX Racing.
“For me, getting to drive in a new GT3 car is super exciting,” Sellers said. “The Continental GT3 is a beautiful race car and it’s proven very successful over the course of its lifespan. To my understanding, it’s a bit of a different car to drive and it takes some getting used to, but luckily for me I have two really great teammates who have figured out the car and I’m certain they will be willing to offer me some help whenever I need it.”
“I really enjoyed being teammates with Álvaro [last season]. I’m looking forward to getting back with him this year. He’s a guy that’s extremely talented and can make things happen behind the wheel at almost any given point. Working with him is great because he’s such an easy guy to work with. He’s always willing to offer-up information, and he’s been one of my favorite people over the years to work with and against.”
Prior to joining the PWC ranks, Baptista has had experience in endurance racing. In 2016, Baptista finished runner-up in the Porsche GT3 Endurance Cup in Brazil while also competing in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup. Bringing young talent to an otherwise veteran driver line-up for the California 8 Hours, Baptista said he is excited to share the seat with some of the world’s most skilled racers.
“I am pleased to take part in the California 8 Hours with K-PAX Racing driving the Bentley Continental GT3, especially because we will have a strong line-up together with Álvaro and Bryan,” Baptista said. “This will be my first time with Álvaro in the same car, and I am sure we will perform and deliver really good results. As for Bryan, I know him from last year when he was driving for K-PAX Racing and seeing his results from this year – leading the GTD class in IMSA – I think we will be one of the strongest trios of the grid.”
For more information about the IGTC California 8 Hours at Laguna Seca, visit intercontinentalgtchallenge.com.
Álvaro Parente – Bentley Continental GT3 – “I’m excited to do the California 8 Hours again at Laguna Seca. We had a strong result last year on the podium. It will be great to share the car with Bryan again. He is super talented and works very hard. We get along really well – wanting the same thing from the car. Rodrigo has been improving so much this year and driving really well. I think it will be a very strong line-up. We will work hard to get the car working on a very aggressive track surface. It will be a difficult race but together as a team, we know what we have to do. I’m looking forward to that race.”
Rodrigo Baptista – Bentley Continental GT3 – “Since this will be my first time driving at Laguna Seca, I will do some simulation. From what I can see, it’s a low grip track but the layout and all the history behind Laguna is incredible. I can’t wait to drive the famous ‘Corkscrew.’ Again, thanks to K-PAX Racing for making it happen and to all the team that supports me. Let’s do it.”
Bryan Sellers – Bentley Continental GT3 – “I’m very excited to be back with K-PAX Racing. I enjoyed my time there last year, and I’m extremely proud and excited to be back for the California 8 Hours again. I’m glad that they put enough faith in me to come back, and I’m really looking forward to getting back with the team and working with them. It was a great event last year and I certainly think this year will be an improvement – even over what it was already. I expect more cars, better competition, and that means we’ll definitely have to be on our game to produce a good result. I really believe everyone at K-PAX Racing is up for the challenge.”
About K-PAX Racing
Based in Sonoma, Calif., K-PAX Racing has celebrated a total 122 podiums, 51 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.
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Race recap: Laguna Seca