K-PAX Racing showed consistency from start to finish during its 2019 Blancpain GT World Challenge campaign, ending the season Saturday night with another strong showing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The No. 9 swept the weekend from pole position, paving the way for a Team Championship title.
“It was perfect execution from a team-standpoint from the preparation, pit-stops and to the racing,” K-PAX Racing Program Manager Darren Law said. “We couldn’t have closed out the season in a better manner, and I’m proud of the team.”
K-PAX Racing entered the weekend in a tight race in the Team and Manufacturers Championship. The team improved from the 14 and 17-point deficit in each category, besting the No. 61 entry in both races. While K-PAX Racing was able to capitalize on a team title – its third since 2016 – it was single-digits shy of bringing Bentley a manufacturers’ crown. The championship was the second-straight team title for K-PAX Racing, as well as the first worldwide for the second-generation Bentley Continental GT3.
The No. 3 also had a strong performance, finishing inside the top-three in both Rounds 13 & 14. For the third time during the World Challenge season, both of the team’s Bentley Continental GT3s have been represented on the podium twice in one event. Accomplished from earlier in the day, K-PAX Racing has collected a podium from each of the 23 series tracks on the schedule since 2007, while also climbing the top-step at 20 of them.
Similar to the opener, the green flag saw the No. 9 Continental GT3 under extreme pressure from the field. The No. 9, in a tight battle with the No. 61, briefly gave way and filed back into the field in second. However, a penalty for exceeding track limits was issued in the sequence, and the No. 9 was able to reclaim the top-spot. The No. 3 was able to pick up podium position following a solid start.
Following two speedy pit-stops, the No. 9 managed the pace of the field and created a comfortable eight-second cushion. The No. 3 team was able to pick up second position in the pits and pushed to a nine-second gap over third. The No. 9 was able to win by a 6.448 margin, with its sister car taking the runner-up finish – by nearly 12 seconds from third.
K-PAX Racing has been able to turn four of its pole positions into victories over the course of the 2019 season. Combined, the team was able collect six victories, seven poles and 23 podiums.
“We fought hard – did all that we could – for a Drivers, Team and Manufacturers Championship,” Law said. “We didn’t get a couple of them, but to come away with our second-straight team championship is special. This team is amazing, and we look forward to what the future holds.”
Álvaro Parente – No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3 (Race 1 – 1st, Race 2 – 1st) – “We ended the season on a high – two poles and two wins. The only thing that was missing was a [Drivers] Championship. But it was a great weekend. The boys were great on the stops, and it was a picture-perfect weekend. It’s great that we are taking a title home from this weekend. A big thanks to the team for all their hard-work throughout the season.”
Andy Soucek – No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3 (Race 1 – 1st, Race 2 – 1st) – “Congratulations to K-PAX Racing for winning the Team Championship. I think it is a team effort and because of their pit-stops, we were able to win it. We drove well all year long – 12 podiums in 14 races. In any other series, that would make you a champion. I have to say that the Ferrari did very well, and that we were just a bit unlucky in the two races we didn’t finish. Otherwise, I think we would have won the Drivers Championship as well. But look: We finished this season on a high.”
Rodrigo Baptista – No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3 (Race 1 – 3rd, Race 2 – 2nd) – “I think it was the best way to finish the season – first and second with both Bentleys and winning the Team Championship. I think we did our job and the team had a great pit-stop like they always do. I think we earned second place there. It was an easier stint for me, but I’m glad I could bring it home.”
Max Soulet – No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3 (Race 1 – 3rd, Race 2 – 2nd) – “It was a pretty good start for us and I was happy that I went from fourth to third by passing Patrick Long. Then, we had a good fight with Álvaro [Parente] and Miguel [Molina]. It was a bit tight but fair. We had a very good pit-stop – like always – and that’s when we passed the Ferrari. I’m really happy for the team. It was an up-and-down season for us, but I’m really happy. I hope to come back to K-PAX Racing.”
Source. K-PAX Racing/Photo. Bob Chapman