Team Optimistic about Upcoming Tracks
ALTON, Va. – Since K-PAX Racing left its Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) SprintX season-opener last month in Texas, the team has continued to improve on all levels – from optimizing setups on their Bentley Continental GT3s and learning the tracks to building camaraderie within. The team will return to the series’ SprintX format April 27-29 for the third and fourth rounds of competition at the PWC Grand Prix of Virginia Presented By Audi Sport at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR).
“VIR is a great facility,” K-PAX Racing Program Manager Darren Law said. “They have a beautiful track, paddock, and the people are wonderful. We always get a great fan turnout for that event. It’s a lot of fun for the drivers and the crew. We really enjoy going to VIR, and its one of our highlight tracks that we run at this season.”
The team has created some rapport with VIR this season in its Continental GT3 cars, testing at the 17-turn, 3.27-mile road course earlier this month. There, the team was not only able to make some key adjustments but also grow as a unit.
“Like many of the tests during the season, we are still in a bit of a learning-curve with this car,” Law said. “The purpose there was to work on all our different setups – to try different spring rates, adjustments and settings. It’s also two-fold. The second portion is to get our Bentley factory drivers some seat-time before the race weekend. We accomplished everything we wanted, and we feel we collected some good data headed into the race week.”
The full-course configuration of VIR features long straightaways and fast corners – its longest stretch of real-estate in sectors 12 and 13 on the back-straightaway – which are more suitable for the Continental GT3. Law said typically the cars require more “high-speed, open corners as opposed to the tight hairpins that you’d see on street courses.”
“Just like any of these events, every track is new to us with this car,” Law said. “Based on our knowledge of where this car excels, we feel that VIR is going to be a track that should be good for the Bentley.”
After its strong showing in the first two rounds of SprintX, the No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3 of Rodrigo Baptista and Max Soulet leads the Pro-Am Championship by four points (48-44). The pair stood on the podium in their first-ever event together at Circuit of The Americas (Tex.) in March, winning the opener and finishing runner-up in the finale.
“With the schedule coming up – VIR, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Ont.) and Road America (Wisc.) – the tracks should lend themselves to this car,” Law said. “We did some developmental work with the test at VIR, and we feel confident heading into these events.”
For more information about the PWC Grand Prix of Virginia Presented By Audi Sport, visit world-challenge.com.
Álvaro Parente – No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3 – “I’m definitely looking forward to VIR. The guys had a really good first impression of the track after the test, so I’m feeling very positive heading into the race week. We will approach it as we always do: We will give it all we got to try to get a great result.”
Andy Soucek – No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3 – “It’s a high-grip surface and that’s something the Bentley likes. The grip-level is high unlike other tracks – Long Beach, St. Pete and even COTA. Now we have a track in VIR that has a very grippy surface and not extremely abrasive on the tires. It’s easy to do a stint of 15-20 laps within the same half-second which is good in terms of tire degradation. The track has zero run-off so it’s important to use the curbs, which are rough. We need to optimize the grip with these tires on the high-grip tarmac, but to do a lap there feels really special.”
Rodrigo Baptista (Pro-Am) – No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3 – “I think the track is really good for the car, and we felt that during testing. But when you are alone, you are always first. So, we need to get into the weekend and see where we are. But I think we’ll be better here than the tracks we’ve been to this season.”
Max Soulet (Pro-Am) – No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3 – “I think the Bentley will do well there because it’s a very fast track. There’s no room for mistakes there, which is my kind of track. I enjoy that. Our goal is to show up at the first practice with a good pace and go from there.”