K-PAX Racing, Parente Still in the Hunt
Trails by four points in Sprint GT Championship
Families from Family House San Francisco watched intently while K-PAX Racing powered toward the front of the field Saturday afternoon, as the No. 9 of Alvaro Parente climbed five positions to a second-place finish in the first of two Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) Sprint GT races at Sonoma Raceway (Calif.). Parente, the series’ defending champion, collected his eighth podium finish of the season – simultaneously keeping him in the running for a Sprint GT Championship.
Parente, who started seventh in the 50-minute race, was awarded the Optima Batteries “Hard Charger” award for his effort. One specific pass however – also giving him the Cadillac Racing “Move of the Race” award – closed the gap on an already tight points battle with Wright Motorsports’ Patrick Long for the Sprint GT title. By the 20-minute mark, Parente maneuvered past Long in the final corners of the 2.385-mile course, securing fourth position.
Passing Long, who led the Sprint GT points race by five points entering the race, was not Parente’s only objective. The Portugal-native continued his push toward the front to not only try for the win, but also collect valuable points. In a 10-minute span, Parente executed textbook passes on two more cars ahead of him. Parente said that he is a “fighter.”
“I was aware of everything going on in the points standings,” Parente said. “I knew I had to finish two positions ahead of Long to try and catch him in the overall points, but he was smart. I gave it all I had through every single corner. It was a good result coming from where we started.”
Entering Sunday’s season finale, Parente trails Long by four points for the Sprint GT title (179 to 175). Parente finds himself in a situation similar to last season’s GT campaign, when Parente defeated Long on the final lap of the last race to take the PWC GT title. Parente will try for the same outcome in the finale.
“Alvaro did a mega job today,” Program Manager Darren Law said. “He pushed hard the whole way and went for it – which we had to do. Our goal for this weekend is to get ahead of Patrick and get points on him, and we did that. You never know. Look at what happened last year.”
Bryan Sellers, driver of the No. 6 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3, suffered damage to the right-front tire in the opening laps of the race. Sellers started ninth, and despite an early trip to the pits, he fought back to a 16th place finish.
“It’s unfortunate,” Law said. “He had a good run going, and it’s just unfortunate that he got hit early-on. His lap times were as quick as Alvaro’s so had he not had that damage, who knows where he would have ended up. But hey, that’s racing.”
Throughout the day, Family House toured the K-PAX Racing garage and experienced race day in-person. For some of the children battling pediatric cancer and other illnesses, it was their first ever race. They were able to sit in the team’s two McLaren 650S GT3 cars and watch all of the action up-close. Earlier in the week, K-PAX Racing visited Family House in San Francisco, bringing one of its cars to the state-of-the-art facility.
Alvaro Parente – No. 9 McLaren 650S (Race 1 – 2nd) – “Congratulations to Patrick, and to Michael for winning the race. It’s been very exciting this year with the Sprint and SprintX racing. Today, for sure we didn’t start where we wanted in P7. In one lap with our tires, the car felt pretty good so we didn’t have any more lap time there, so the other cars were just faster with new tires. I knew if I wanted to stand a chance in any of the championships, I had to pass people and try to attack hard and try to get in front of everybody. But, when you start in 7th and finish in 2nd, it’s still great. Thanks to my team and to everyone involved in my car. We’ve been quite good all year except for one or two races so this was a really good result for today; let’s see what happens tomorrow.”
Bryan Sellers – No. 6 McLaren 650S (Race 1 – 16th) – “Today was a great team day. The No. 9 car had a really strong performance and was able to move up to second. Unfortunately for the No. 6 car, we had a little bit of an unlucky start. We had contact with another car and had to come in to get a right-front tire. It had gone flat, so we needed to replace it and head back out. After we did that though, I felt the car was actually strong. We made a lot of changes overnight leading into this morning. We lacked out-right pace, but I felt our race-pace was really good. Tomorrow is a new day. I feel like we have a strong race car, and I think the guys are up for it. They’ve done a great job.”
About K-PAX Racing
Since joining the Pirelli World Challenge in 2007, K-PAX Racing has celebrated a total 106 podiums, 43 wins and four driver championships, solidifying the team as a continuous championship contender. In 2014, K-PAX Racing expanded its relationship with McLaren GT, bringing two new 2015 McLaren 650S GT3 race cars into competition. The renewed effort kept K-PAX Racing at the forefront of competition, becoming a serious championship contender in the seasons to follow. In 2016, the team expanded to three full season McLaren 650S GT3 race cars, and clinched the Pirelli World Challenge Team, Driver, and Manufacturer Championships.
About McLaren GT
McLaren has been a pioneer and setting benchmarks on the tracks around the world for 50 years, and the latest range of GT racing models based on the road-going McLaren Automotive range is no different. McLaren GT was established in 2011 to develop, build and support all GT race activities. Based in Woking, Surrey at the former home of McLaren Racing, the company is responsible for the design, development and production of the 650S GT3, 570S GT4, and 650S and 570S Sprint models.
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