Alvaro Parente came into Pirelli World Challenge cold last year. The Portuguese driver had not raced a season in the U.S., and had only raced on one track the series visited, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in A1GP a decade prior. Thrown into K-PAX Racing’s McLaren 650S, he showed exactly why he is a McLaren factory driver by winning the GT championship, so you could say he did all right.

For 2017 he is the constant at K-PAX, defending his title with new teammates – Bryan Sellers in GT and Mike Hedlund in GTA. He’ll see only one new track, Virginia International Raceway, where the team has already tested. He can hit the ground running – and has won two of the first three races this season to lead the points. Last year, he took his first win in Round 5 at Long Beach, but only after Johny O’Connell was disqualified for a technical infraction on his Cadillac. This season he won in the opening round at St. Petersburg and took the outright victory at Long Beach. It’s a pretty good start to a title defense.

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