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K-PAX Racing Kicks-off its 12th Season at St. Petersburg
Will make season debut in the Bentley Continental GT3
Following an offseason of major changes, K-PAX Racing will begin its 2018 race season March 9-11 with the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) Sprint GT season opener at St. Petersburg.
In early-December, the team announced its transition to Bentley and has since tested its Continental GT3 models. K-PAX Racing will make its debut with a new manufacturer for the first time since 2014, in hopes of repeating its 2017 win on the 14-turn, 1.8-mile Streets of St. Petersburg course.
Since PWC first began competing in St. Petersburg in 2010, the team has accumulated three wins and 10 podiums there – with two different manufacturers (Volvo, McLaren). K-PAX Racing has stood on the podium in the series’ last two events at St. Pete – including Parente’s victory last March.
“We’re really excited to get the 2018 season underway,” K-PAX Racing Program Manager Darren Law said. “There are a lot of new things that are happening this year with K-PAX Racing – switching manufacturers and beginning a new chapter with Bentley and the Continental GT3, which has shown a lot of promise in pre-season testing. Starting the season at St. Petersburg is beneficial for K-PAX Racing. We understand the format of the event, and we hope to capitalize on our experience and knowledge from successful races in previous years.”
Álvaro Parente, who is PWC’s most current GT champion on the series roster, will enter his third season with K-PAX Racing. Last season, Parente won the opening race at St. Petersburg by more than a 10-second margin after starting third. Rodrigo Baptista, who joined the team in late-December, will not only make his debut with K-PAX Racing but also in the Sprint GTA class. Baptista showed his racing prowess in the series’ GTS category last season, winning four races and capturing six podiums.
“We’re very excited that Álvaro is coming back for a third season, and we’re also very excited to see the progress of Rodrigo, who is moving up to GT3 with K-PAX Racing this year,” Law said. “Rodrigo had a very successful run last season in GT4 and has really impressed all of us in testing. We cannot wait to get the season started.”
In the week before St. Petersburg, both Parente and Baptista tested their Continental GT3 cars at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Fla.). Parente said he was reassured by the two-day test and looking forward, the team will experience similar conditions roughly 300 miles North in St. Petersburg.
“We’ve been working hard on the setup of the car and knowing the car, because it is new for everyone,” Parente said. “We tried a few solutions which have been very interesting. We’ve been just trying to prepare for St. Pete here in Florida which will have a similar climate. Some of the corners [at Homestead-Miami Speedway] also relate to St. Pete in that this track has slow corners and it’s a track where you need good traction. It was a productive test so I’m excited to start the season.”
For more information about the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, visit world-challenge.com.
Álvaro Parente – No. 9 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3 – “I really enjoy the street tracks we are going to this season. We have a new challenge with the Bentley this year, and we are working hard to start the year off well. Some of the tracks on the schedule will be more difficult than others, but we already know some of the challenges ahead for St. Pete. We will give it all we have this year.”
Rodrigo Baptista – No. 3 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3 – “I really don’t know what to expect at St. Petersburg, but I am excited for the challenge. The Bentley was strong in testing, and we’ll just have to get there and see. We have a fast car, and we’ll know for sure on race day.”
About K-PAX Racing
Based in Sonoma, Calif., K-PAX Racing has celebrated a total 107 podiums, 43 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.
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