May 19

K-PAX Racing Repeat Winners at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

BOWMANVILLE, Ont., 2019
K-PAX Racing Repeat Winners at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park

Wins Victoria Day SpeedFest finale in consecutive seasons

K-PAX Racing collected four podiums in Rounds 5 & 6 of Blancpain GT World Challenge America at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The team has managed to podium in each of the last three events – which includes capturing its fourth victory in Sunday’s Victoria Day SpeedFest finale.

The No. 9 K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3 of Álvaro Parente and Andy Soucek started on pole for the 90-minute race for the fourth time this season – a feat they have made in each event. Like the opener, the No. 3 of Rodrigo Baptista and Max Soulet started fourth on the grid.

For the first half of the race, the No. 9 of Parente maintained a one-second margin from the No. 61 R Ferri Motorsport entry while the No. 3 of Soulet was on the cusp of challenging for podium position. At the midway point, and when the pit window opened, the No. 3 was the first from K-PAX Racing to execute the driver change. After a speedy pit-stop and with Baptista at the helm for the final stint, the team made it into the top-three.

“When I was catching the Porsche [for third], I was losing aero,” Soulet said. “He was a Pro-Am, so I knew we were going to make it up in the pits. I just waited for the pit-stop to open, and we got the job done.”

“We proved that in the last few races, pit-stops are important. Yesterday, we had a small issue in the pits, and we lost position. Today, it was a perfect pit-stop. It proves that if the team works really hard in executing the pit-stop, it can make a big difference in the race.”

The No. 9 had a similarly quick stop at the 50-minute mark. Parente successfully fended-off the No. 61 for his entire stint, and both funneled into the pits at the same time. In a mad dash for track position, the team executed an impressive stop to put the car back on top. From there, Soucek began to open-up a comfortable gap – more than a seven-second margin at the hour-mark.

“I saw the No. 61 in my rear-view mirror all stint long,” Parente said. “In the beginning and through the middle, I thought we were strong – feeling very confident and managing to keep the same gap. Toward the end – about five laps remaining – and I’m not sure if he started with stickers, but he was a little bit quicker than us.”

“I saw him in the mirror on the pit-stop, but the crew has been practicing a lot and we’re the strongest team on the stops. A big congratulations to the boys because everything was smooth. The driver change was smooth as it’s been, and I’m very happy with the result.”

The No. 9 went on to win by a 3.374-second margin, which was Parente and Soucek’s second victory of the season and as a driver pairing with K-PAX Racing. Soucek was given the Shyft Captial “Quick Shyfter Award” for setting the fastest lap of the race with a 1:16.765. The win also ties Parente with Randy Pobst as the most-winningest driver in team history (14).

During the race week, Soucek introduced a special edition helmet – a red-accented one with two stars on each side of the facemask. His inspiration behind the helmet is in commemoration of friend and former Formula One driver Maria de Villota, who passed away from brain injuries sustained in a 2013 race-related incident. Soucek said the victory was in dedication to de Villota and to her legacy.

“I’m very happy because my new helmet over there..” said Soucek at the post-race press conference, pointing at his helmet across the table. “…that star belongs to a driver, a girl that was a very close friend of mine. Maria de Villota unfortunately passed away in 2013 due to an accident she suffered in Formula One. I’m the ambassador for her legacy. The family keeps helping people for charity reasons, and this year they named me ambassador. So, this is a special edition helmet with the star. It’s great to dedicate this win to Maria and her legacy.”

DRIVER QUOTES

Álvaro Parente – No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3 (Race 1 – 2nd, Race 2 – 1st) – “I saw the No. 61 in my rear-view mirror all stint long. In the beginning and through the middle, I thought we were strong – feeling very confident and managing to keep the same gap. Toward the end – about five laps remaining – and I’m not sure if he started with stickers, but he was a little bit quicker than us.

I saw him in the mirror on the pit-stop, but the crew has been practicing a lot and we’re the strongest team on the stops. A big congratulations to the boys because everything was smooth. The driver change was smooth as it’s been, and I’m very happy with the result.

The pit-stop is super-important. The No. 3 car for example was fourth in the running order but came out of the pits in third – and on-top of second. That’s where they gained the position – not on the track. You can see how important the team is on the stop.

It was the perfect race, wasn’t it? You start on pole and the clear-air up-front made it a whole lot easier. Qualifying here is key. It’s a super-hard track to follow cars closely – almost impossible, and we experienced that yesterday. It’s a special place and a really-fast track, and it’s fundamental to get qualifying right.

Luckily in my session, the car was working perfectly. We managed to get a really good lap. We were quick in both practice sessions and everything was going to plan, but in Andy’s session there was a technical issue. Basically, we didn’t do a lap with the car working properly. We were a little disappointed with starting sixth [in the first race] with how well the practices went.

But look, we turned it around completely. We both drove the car very well and a big thank you to the team. What a great weekend for us.”

Andy Soucek – No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3 (Race 1 – 2nd, Race 2 – 1st) – “When you have a lead of three or four seconds, you’re quite happy. If you have a car behind you pushing you like Álvaro had all race long, then it’s when you get a bit nervous. But to be fair, I had five to six seconds in the beginning after a few good laps – including the fastest lap of the race – and I could manage the gap somehow. It’s true that he was faster at the end, but it was not enough for him. There’s a difference between ‘catching’ and ‘overtaking,’ and I knew even if he could get closer, he would struggle a lot because of the aerodynamics on this track.

I love Canada and this place. It’s a great venue. It’s super-fast and very flowy. It is also very challenging to be fair. For the moment, VIRginia International Raceway and here are my two favorite tracks in North America though I still need to discover a few.

I want to thank K-PAX Racing for a fast car. All the testing we are doing is paying off. Álvaro is driving incredibly well, and the pole lap he did was absolutely astonishing.

I’m very happy because my new helmet over there – that star belongs to a driver, a girl that was a very close friend of mine. Maria de Villota unfortunately passed away in 2013 due to an accident she suffered in Formula One. I’m the ambassador for her legacy. The family keeps helping people for charity reasons, and this year they named me ambassador. So, this is a special edition helmet with the star. It’s great to dedicate this win to Maria and her legacy.”

Rodrigo Baptista – No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3 (Race 1 – 3rd, Race 2 – 3rd) – “Max was stuck behind the Porsche, but the team did a perfect pit-stop. We gained that position coming out of the pits and we were even close to the Ferrari, but this track is so difficult to pass on. I tried, but there was nothing I could do. I wasn’t close enough when I did try, and I did not want to take the risk. It’s better to finish third than not finish at all. It was a great weekend for the team – four podiums. Thank you to K-PAX Racing and the team.”

Max Soulet – No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3 (Race 1 – 3rd, Race 2 – 3rd) – “We had a very clean start. It’s a difficult track to pass. When you’re behind a car, you lose aerodynamics. When I was catching the Porsche, I was losing aero. He was a Pro-Am, so I knew we were going to make it up in the pits. I just waited for the pit-stop to open, and we got the job done.

We proved that in the last few races, pit-stops are important. Yesterday, we had a small issue in the pits, and we lost position. Today, it was a perfect pit-stop. It proves that if the team works really hard in executing the pit-stop, it can make a big difference in the race.”

About K-PAX Racing
Based in Sonoma, Calif., K-PAX Racing has celebrated a total 134 podiums, 57 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, 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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