Entering into its first endurance event, K-PAX Racing has announced its entry into the Motul Sepang 12 Hours with an all Factory Driver lineup from McLaren GT. Alvaro Parente, Shane van Gisbergen, and Côme Ledogar will pilot the McLaren 650S GT3 December 11, 2016..
“This will be a great way to close out an already phenomenal year for us,” said Program Manager Darren Law. “Alvaro and the team worked so well together this year in the Pirelli World Challenge Series and to have McLaren GT factory teammates Shane van Gisbergen and Côme Ledogar joining us will give us a very strong driver line up. Everyone at McLaren GT has been a huge help in supporting us and we are looking forward to not only racing some of the best GT3 teams in the world but also being the only American team competing in this event.”
Parente joined McLaren GT as a Factory Driver in 2011, and has since proven to be a strong fit with the manufacturer in the years since. Parente gave a multi-race winning run in the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge, earning six wins to clinch the championship with K-PAX Racing. The championship win also earned K-PAX Racing top team honors, and McLaren GT the manufacturer title, one of many for the 2016 season.
“It will be great to be back racing with K-PAX, and in a completely different type of race, as it is 12 hours long with pit stops and a demanding strategy.” said Parente. “I’m looking forward to the race and excited to see how everyone deals and works throughout the weekend. We are more than motivated to try and do well on this demanding track with new asphalt. I’m also excited about what differences there are in terms of grip level and how demanding this new asphalt will be on the tyres. It’s a very challenging and technical race track and super hot and humid, which will be tough both physically and mentally.”
After an impressive 2014 season in V8 Supercars, New Zealand racer Shane van Gisbergen joined the McLaren GT ranks in 2015, earning two wins in his four races with Von Ryan Racing in the Blancpain Endurance Series. For the 2016 season, he joined Garage 59, in which the team clinched the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup. At the Bathurst 12 Hours, van Gisbergen set a track record at Mount Panorama circuit during qualifying to take pole position. He and co-drivers Alvaro Parente and Jonathon Webb went on to take victory with the 650S GT3 for Tekno Autosports at the event. Last weekend, his impressive season performance continued, with van Gisbergen clinching top championship honors in the 2016 Pirtek Endurance Cup.
“I am really looking forward to the Sepang 12 Hours,” said van Gisbergen. “It’s been an awesome year for McLaren in GT racing with race and championship wins across the world, and to be a Kiwi and a part of it is very special. The intercontinental GT Challenge trophy is up for grabs, hopefully we can have a good result and finish this year on a high.”
After a strong career in Porsche Cup Italy and Porsche Cup France, Frenchman Côme Ledogar joined the McLaren GT ranks in 2016, racing alongside van Gisbergen and Rob Bell in the No. 58 Garage 59 McLaren 650S GT3. In addition to the Blancpain series, Ledogar also ran successful campaigns in the International GT Open and the Porsche Carrera Cup Italia.
“The Sepang 12 Hours is establishing itself as a key event on the GT calendar, which attracts a really competitive grid, and I cannot wait to be part of it,” said Ledogar. “It will be great to race alongside Alvaro and Shane in the 650S GT3, and I’m excited to join K-PAX Racing after they have had such a strong season to win the Pirelli World Championship.”
Commenting on the line-up ahead of the race, Andrew Kirkaldy, McLaren GT Managing Director explained: “It has been the strongest year to-date for McLaren in GT racing, with the 650S GT3 securing nine championships across the world, including a clean sweep by K-PAX Racing in the Pirelli World Challenge. It is great to see the team take on the challenge of the Motul Sepang 12 Hours, which is the first endurance race for the team, and it is also one of the most demanding. The line-up they have put together, with Come, Alvaro and Shane, is extremely experienced in global endurance racing and shows the level of commitment and determination the team has towards this race.”
Kirkaldy continued: “The race also forms the final round of the inaugural Intercontinental GT Challenge. Following the victory at the Bathurst 12 Hours and points scored at the Total 24 Hours of Spa, Shane is still in the chase for yet more silverware to crown an incredibly strong season.”
Source. Flying Lizard Motorsports/Photo. McLaren