Parente, Baptista lead GT and GTA classes into checkered flag from pole
BOWMANVILLE, Ont. – The fifth round of Pirelli World Challenge Sprint GT action during the Castol presents Victoria Day SpeedFest was dominated by K-PAX Racing’s two Bentley Continental GT3s at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP). In the event finale, Álvaro Parente and Rodrigo Baptista were uncontested for the top-honors of their classes in the 50-minute race.
Both Parente and Baptista earned their first win of the season under the series’ Sprint GT format. Parente, who led the entire duration of the race, set the fastest lap of the race with a 1:16.841 – the only time below 1:17.000. Baptista also set the fastest lap among GTA drivers with a 1:17.134.
“Today, we knew the cars were going to be quick,” K-PAX Racing Program Manager Darren Law said. “This track is hard to pass on, but the cars were solid. They drove well, and the guys did well. We weren’t challenged. It’s also a testament to this team.”
Stemming from an incident in the series’ third round of SprintX at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR), K-PAX Racing was tasked with finding a replacement car in less than three weeks leading into CTMP. With help from Bentley GT, the team located and prepared a Bentley Continental GT3 from overseas in time for the event.
“With the accident that happened at VIR and having to ship a car from Malaysia, the guys had one week to go through it and prepare it,” Law said. “To get it done in that time and to show up here with a car as fast as we had today was just phenomenal. We have to really thank Bentley GT. Without their support and their help in facilitating the transportation of this car from another country, it wouldn’t have made it in time. They helped make this possible.”
Both the No. 3 and No. 9 car reached blistering speeds throughout the race week. During Friday’s practice sessions, K-PAX Racing was two-hundredths of a second from the fastest lap of the day, and in the final session posted the fastest time of 1:14.874. However, wet track conditions made Saturday’s qualifying session difficult for the Bentley Continental GT3s.
K-PAX Racing determined that the cars were strongest on a dryer course and strategically prioritized qualifying at the top of Sunday’s grid in the opener. The K-PAX Racing Bentley Continental GT3s were the only cars in the event opener to pit for Pirelli P Zero sticker tires. As a result, the two cars recorded the fastest laps of the race and shared the front-row in the finale.
“Coming into Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, we knew we had great cars,” Law said. “We knew this was going to be a good track for us. Unfortunately, the cars were not good in the wet. Saturday was a bit disappointing as far as our pace in the first race, but we went in with a strategy to aim for qualifying well for Sunday’s race. The plan was to come in and change to slicks, and nobody else did that in the field. It paid off because we qualified the cars one-two.”
Mother Nature cooperated with Sunday’s finale, as the team saw a drier course. The No. 9 of Parente started on the overall pole while the No. 3 of Baptista completed the front row in second (first in his class). Leading the field into the green flag, both Parente and Baptista began to use the Bentley Continental GT3s’ strengths toward building a lead in their respective classes. They pulled away from the field and for the remainder of the 50-minute race, never looked back.
Within the first 10 minutes of the race, Parente extended his GT lead to 4.409 seconds and Baptista in the GTA class by 6.565 seconds. Ultimately, Parente won by a 5.372-second margin in his class while Baptista conquered the GTA class by a 33.707-second margin.
“I definitely want to dedicate this win to the guys and to Jim [Haughey], the team owner, for always believing and investing because it’s not easy,” Parente said. “The guys have already had to rebuild three cars this season and we’re only about halfway through it. It’s my first win this year, though I’ve been on the podium in other races. I’m feeling good. It’s nice to be on the top step.”
The CTMP course lent itself to the strengths of the Bentley Continental GT3 – fast corners and long straightaways. Early-on Baptista was anticipating an out-of-class challenge by the No. 61 R. Ferrari Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3 of Toni Vilander, but he said that he was not close enough to attack. Baptista’s strategy was to maintain a solid pace with Parente, further separating himself from the pack.
“The car was really good,” Baptista said. “I think the only part where we lost time to the other cars was in turns 5a and 5b. The rest of the turns are very close, and we may have been even faster. For the first five or six laps the Ferrari was behind me but not close enough to attack me. It was an easy win if I just stayed there and stayed with Álvaro.”
K-PAX Racing will look to build on its momentum May 25-26, 28 at Lime Rock Park (Conn.) for the fifth and sixth round of Pirelli World Challenge SprintX. For more information about the Grand Prix of Lime Rock powered by M & Sunday Royals’ Garage Car Show, visit world-challenge.com.
Álvaro Parente – No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3 (Race 1 – 6th, Race 2 – 1st) – “The strategy yesterday was exactly what you saw. We were obviously not going to compete on the wets. We had no chance at all, so we risked for the slicks. The car definitely likes these quick corners, and it was just that section in the middle that costed us a little bit. But compared to the other guys, we were stronger on the dry. I wish yesterday was also dry because I think we’d be leaving here with an even bigger smile. Rodrigo has been impressive and been improving so much. He’s having many good results. So, I’m really happy for the team in general. Let’s see where we can go from here. He’s been doing an incredible job and really has been improving a lot.”
Rodrigo Baptista (GTA) – No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3 (Race 1 – 4th, Race 2 – 1st) – “I think we won the race yesterday when we took the chance to switch to slick tires. Today, I just tried to pass him from the outside and it was almost impossible to pass on the outside so I backed off and stayed behind him.”
About K-PAX Racing
Based in Sonoma, Calif., K-PAX Racing has celebrated a total 116 podiums, 48 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.
K-PAX Racing PR
Phone: (315) 383-6642
Email address: KPAXRacingPR@gmail.com