Sellers, Kane duplicate their Top-10 finish from the opener
LAKEVILLE, Conn. – K-PAX Racing continued its strong showing during Memorial Day weekend with its second podium finish at Lime Rock Park (Conn.). The finale of the Grand Prix of Lime Rock Park was reminiscent of yesterday’s opener, as the No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3 car of Alvaro Parente and Ben Barnicoat finished third in consecutive races. The podium is the duo’s third in five Pirelli World Challenge SprintX races this season and adds to the team’s 103 total.
Bryan Sellers and Jonny Kane, who pilot the No. 6 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3 car, similarly duplicated their eighth-place finish on Saturday. In the Pro-Am class, the No. 98 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3 car of Mike Hedlund and Michael Lewis improved from not finishing the race in the opener to crossing the finish line in sixth among those in their class. Overall, they finished 18th in a 27-car field.
“We’re really happy to come away with what we did this weekend,” said Program Manager Darren Law. “Two podiums for Alvaro and Ben is really good for our points program. We had a good run with the No. 6 car and the No. 98 car had a good run in the Pro-Am class. It’s unfortunate for the No. 58 and No. 2 car. I know they’re all fighting for the championship, but this will help mix it up quite a bit.”
Complete mayhem kicked-off the 60-minute race, as a multi-car collision drew a full-course yellow flag. Though the three K-PAX Racing cars were unaffected, Kane was ready to react. Kane, who took the first shift, said he “slowed-up” as a precaution. As a result, the No. 6 team fell two positions from 11th place within a matter of seconds but in turn could continue the race without any offsetting damage.
“I couldn’t take the risk of a car hitting the side of us and ending our day,” Kane said. “We were able to lap pretty consistently from there. I think we brought the car in at eighth or ninth place [for the driver-change]. When Bryan took over, he did a good job. I think we picked-off a couple of people in the pits and reclaimed our spot.”
While the No. 6 dropped back momentarily, the No. 9 car advanced two positions from the incident. Parente, who started the race, was at the top of the track entering the first turn; he missed the carnage and remained relentless in his pursuit to the top. The two managed to gain another position for a quick driver change. Barnicoat exited pit lane in third position and worked to protect the spot. Though the cars behind him narrowed the gap to less than one second in some areas of the track, Barnicoat prevailed.
“It was a little bit of hard work because we didn’t have the fastest car,” said Barnicoat, who instead relied on his driving and the car’s agility through traffic. “It was a bit of a challenge to hang onto the position, but I did what I could to get through traffic. I did everything, and I’m very happy with the result. I think that’s the result of having two good drivers…with a good car…on a good team… behind you. That’s [the result] we should have when everything runs smoothly.”
The team has five podium performances at Lime Rock since 2013. The team swept the weekend last season in its GT Championship campaign and finished third in 2013. K-PAX Racing has competed at Lime Rock six times in that span, which gives them an 83 percent likelihood in putting together a top-three performance in the next appearance.
“All-in-all, we’re in a lot better shape than most of the cars leaving here.,” Law said. “So, we’ll gather everything back up and head to Road America (Wisc.).”
The series will take a brief hiatus, then resume GT action with the Grand Prix of Road America from June 23-25. For details, visit world-challenge.com.
Alvaro Parente – No. 9 McLaren 650S (Race 1 – 3rd, Race 2 – 3rd) – “It was a solid result. It was good we didn’t get involved in that accident in turn one. I was on the far-left, so I really couldn’t see what was happening. But, we got through there in fourth. After that, we really didn’t have the speed to attack the guys up front, but we had a good pit stop – better than yesterday. Ben did a good, clean stint and I think it was the maximum our car had available. We’re happy to come out of here with two podiums. We always want the top-step, so hopefully that’s coming. We’re going to keep working, and we’ll see for the next race.”
Ben Barnicoat – No. 9 McLaren 650S (Race 1 – 3rd, Race 2 – 3rd) – “Alvaro managed to avoid all the fuss – the mayhem at the start. He got us nicely into fourth place. From there, he didn’t seem to push the pace and got by the Acura (No.43) – which we expected. He held onto fourth. After that we had a really good pit stop with the driver change. We managed to get out without losing too much time there. That’s where we managed to get the position. I’d like a give a big thank you to everyone at K-PAX [Racing] for all their hard work throughout the weekend. These podiums leave us in a good position in the championship.”
Bryan Sellers – No. 6 McLaren 650S (Race 1 – 8th, Race 2 – 8th) – “We were able to move up a little bit. I think we made some gains with the car versus yesterday. Unfortunately, that’s a little too little and a little too late. But, it’s still a learning process for me and Jonny trying to get it together. We’re figuring out what direction we need to go in. Obviously, the No. 9 car had good results and had the pace, so we’ll just keep battling and see where we end up for the next one.”
Jonny Kane – No. 6 McLaren 650S (Race 1 – 8th, Race 2 – 8th) – “The start of the race was a little bit eventful with the car going off [the track]. I knew from the accident that it was going to come back on the track just about where I was going to be. I had to slow-up a little bit to make sure that it didn’t come into the side of me. That lost us a couple of spots but I couldn’t take the risk of a car hitting the side of us and ending our day. We were able to lap pretty consistently. I think we brought the car in at eighth or ninth place. When Bryan took over, he did a good job. I think we picked-off a couple of people in the pits and did a good job.”
Mike Hedlund (Pro/Am Class) – No. 98 McLaren 650S (Race 1 – 12th, Race 2 – 6th) – “The race went all right. We managed to finish today where we were unable to yesterday because of the mechanical issues. The car was good. We got some good points, and the team did a really great job getting us through yesterday.”
Michael Lewis (Pro/Am Class) – No. 98 McLaren 650S (Race 1 – 12th, Race 2 – 6th) – “The second race of the weekend was a lot better than the first one. It was a success in that regard. Mike Hedlund had a nice stint when he got into the car. We lost a little ground in the last two laps after gaining on some of the front-runners in our class. But, both our stints were clean and we stayed out of the chaos.”
About K-PAX Racing
Since joining the Pirelli World Challenge in 2007, K-PAX Racing has celebrated a total 103 podiums, 41 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.