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K-PAX Racing to Conclude SprintX Season at Utah
K-PAX Racing is still in its first year racing Bentley Continental GT3s, but that has not prevented the team from continuously performing at the top of the Pirelli World Challenge SprintX classes. This season, the team has earned a victory in at least one round at each SprintX event, with the possibility of winning at its fifth and final stop August 10-12 at Utah Motorsports Campus.
“We are excited that we are coming up to this last SprintX event but at the same time, we’re a little bit sad that it’s the last one of the season,” K-PAX Racing Program Manager Darren Law said. “It’s been great having Maxime [Soulet] and Andy [Soucek] with us this season. They have been instrumental in helping us understand this first-generation Continental GT3 car. They’ve been great to work with, and we look forward to hopefully closing the season with a podium for both cars.”
Since preparing the Continental GT3 cars less than one month from the start of the season, K-PAX Racing had been tasked with quickly learning a new car. With help from Soucek, Soulet and Bentley Motorsport, the team returned to form as a dominant force in the series. K-PAX Racing has podiumed in seven of the eight completed rounds on the SprintX schedule.
While K-PAX Racing’s on-track success in SprintX can be documented, other achievements cannot. Soucek said that although there has been some unexpected adversity this season, K-PAX Racing has been poised in overcoming every situation.
“I was really surprised the way K-PAX Racing worked to get a car out after the second free practice at Portland [International Raceway],” Soucek said. “I’m really thankful for how hard the team worked the whole year, because it hasn’t been an easy year for the mechanics either. They had to work their tails off. They always overcame every situation with a positive attitude in a way that’s very relieving for a driver.”
The driver pairing of Rodrigo Baptista and Soulet in the No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3 also experienced a late-season transition, competing in the series pro class since July. Together, the team’s No. 3 car has rolled into Victory Lane five times with its most recent class win coming at Portland – the pair’s first event in the pro class.
“The team did not have an easy task getting the two new cars in a very competitive series, but they proved that we could be up-front in the beginning of the year,” Soulet said. “Driving with Rodrigo has been a fun year for me. He had a lot to learn and I think he did. He progressed with each race, and I was quite impressed with him the entire year.”
Individually, K-PAX Racing’s full-time drivers have both seen success at Utah. Two seasons ago, Álvaro Parente recorded the fastest series qualifying lap to ever be recorded at Utah with a 1:47.492. Baptista, formerly competing at the GTS level, won the event opener from pole position in 2017.
“As far as I remember, there’s not much grip on the track because we are very close to the desert which is going to make it more challenging,” Baptista said. “But, we will always try our best. Last year in GTS I clinched a pole position and won one of the races. Now with the GT3 car I will fight to get in a good position – especially coming from a great weekend in Portland, where the team did
a fantastic work to put our car back together and we did our work driving to the podium.”
Though Utah Motorsports Campus will be another new track for K-PAX Racing in the Bentley, Law said the venue’s 3.048-mile, 14-turn outer course will lend itself to the cars. Usually, the first-generation Continental GT3 performs well on faster, more spacious tracks.
“Going to Utah and like we’ve had all season, this track is new for us with the Bentley,” Law said. “This is a type of track that lends itself to the car being high-speed corners and long straights. Bentley has had success here in the past with this car, so we’re looking forward to running there this weekend.”
For more information about the Grand Prix of Utah, visit world-challenge.com.
Álvaro Parente – No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3 – “For the last SprintX event of the year, I am looking forward to a weekend where things go our way as opposed to most of the previous ones. Let’s approach the weekend hungry to have two great races and see what we can get out of the car. It’s hard to know if Utah will be a good track for our car, but we will do our best.”
Andy Soucek – No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3 – “People usually remember the last bit of the season more than the beginning, so we hope to finish on a high note. It’s true that when we had everything in place in races like at Lime Rock Park, we could show our potential by fighting for the top-step. But, we have not had an easy one this year. We’d like to finish on a high to have a positive end to the season, so we able to start next season the same way. I’m quite positive for this one. As we all know, Álvaro is a great driver, and he’s really familiarized with the Bentley now. We should be able to fight for the top-step and that’s what we’ll aim for. We want to end on a positive note so we have a good memory of this season. If the new car is there for next year, I think we can fight for the title.
Rodrigo Baptista – No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3 – “I am looking forward to a great weekend in Utah. Will be our last SprintX race of the year, and I want to finish the championship with a good run together with Max. We did a fantastic championship – winning races and being strong since the very first one at Circuit of The Americas. It really worked very well between us.”
Max Soulet – No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3 – “Doing a season in America is always special for European drivers because it’s a totally different mindset in a very good way. What I like about American tracks is that there isn’t a lot of runoff, so that’s where you can make the most difference. I think Utah will be a very good track for the Bentley. It looks pretty good. I think we’ll do well there to be honest. It looks fast, so I am quite positive for this weekend. We all deserve it with all the hard-work we’ve done. It would be very nice for all of us.”
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.
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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