K-PAX Racing, entering its 14th season in North America, looks to continue its legacy as a perennial title-contender in the GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS with the season opener March 6-8 at Circuit of The Americas (COTA). The opening event features one of the most iconic road courses in America – and is the destination for many milestones within the team’s history.
“We are looking forward to returning to COTA to start the 2020 season,” K-PAX Racing Program Manager Darren Law said. “This is the track where we helped Bentley achieve the first pole and first victory worldwide with the second-generation car. We now have a full season with this car under our belt and feel very confident coming back here.”
Last season, the team celebrated many accomplishments – those which included the first-ever pole and victory for the second-generation Bentley Continental GT3 worldwide. K-PAX Racing, in its first season with the second-generation model – and its maiden voyage through the states – went on to put both of its cars on the podium in the two-race event, which set the tone for the remainder of the year.
While K-PAX Racing has enjoyed several successes at COTA since its first stop in 2013, this season sees new drivers in the team’s single-car entry this season. The proven Pro-Am driver combination of Guy Cosmo and Patrick Byrne will field the No. 8 Bentley Continental GT3 in the series’ premiere class, with hopes of continuing the team’s winning pedigree throughout the 14-rounds of series action.
“This is the type of circuit that suits the strengths of the Continental GT3,” Law said. “We are returning with the same crew and engineering staff, and we can’t wait to see what Guy and Patrick can do this year. Pre-season testing went very well, Patrick was up to speed quickly in the car and worked will with everyone. This series and class is tough but we are ready for the fight.”
COTA has proven to be a kick-starter for the team in each of its last two seasons with Bentley. In four races, the team has stood on the podium four times – including two wins, both by the driving pair of Rodrigo Baptista and Maxime Soulet in the No. 3 car (2018-2019).
The second-generation Continental GT3 also caught its stride last season in its stateside season debut on the 12-turn, 3.427-mile fast-track. The Continental GT3 recorded the fastest practice lap of the week (2:06.001) to complement its first pole and victory – a race where K-PAX Racing not only secured a one-two finish, but also led the field by more than a 30-second margin. The No. 3 recorded the fastest lap of the race with a 2:06.037, which was the fastest race lap recorded during the weekend.
Last month, Byrne had the opportunity to hop into the seat of the team’s Continental GT3 for a shakedown test around Sonoma Raceway. The test, which was held at home base for the team’s operation, was a chance for Byrne to get more acclimated to the car ahead of the first two rounds of action at COTA.
“The car was really impressive and a lot of fun to drive,” Byrne said. “It has great aero grip. I would say with the right set up and the right driver-pairing, this car is a top-contender. I can’t wait to get out on track and have a run at the other manufacturers.”
“COTA is always a pleasure. It is the only current Formula 1 track here in the United States. It has a little of everything – high-speed esses and a long carousel that will allow the Bentley’s aero strength to show, as well as a huge straightaway where we will be stretching the GT3’s turbo-charged legs. I cannot wait for the race weekend to kick off.”
Cosmo on the other hand will harness the power of the Continental GT3 for the first time this week ahead of the season’s first two rounds of action. Cosmo, the Pro in the driver pairing, said he looks forward to using the course’s long straightaways, as well as navigating through the esses.
“Not having driven the Bentley Continental GT3 at all as of yet makes it hard for me to predict its performance in detail,” Cosmo said. “However, from what I’ve heard, COTA is the kind of place the Bentley will excel with its good aero and thundering power for the long straights.”
“I couldn’t possibly be more excited and proud to represent such an iconic manufacturer in Bentley and successful team in K-PAX Racing. This is quite an esteemed group so to be their sole focus in North America is really a privilege for Patrick and me. Plus, it’s about time we finally hit the track. We’ve waited plenty and are ready to ‘Bring the Thunder.’”
Guy Cosmo – No. 8 Bentley Continental GT3 – “COTA is an exciting track to race with a very unique characteristic. I personally love the first half with the speed and flow of Turn 2 and the esses, but the second half offers a much more tight, twisty aspect that requires a different level of patients and precision.”
Patrick Byrne – No. 8 Bentley Continental GT3 – “After testing with the Bentley Continental GT3, I am extremely impressed. This Bentley is extremely planted, it has fantastic mechanical grip at low speeds and even better aero grip at high speeds. There is no doubt in my mind that Guy [Cosmo] and I will be driving this bad boy Bentley beyond the limit all the way to the podium.
K-PAX Racing is a top-notch team and the Bentley Continental GT3 is a top-notch car. Everyone who is familiar with GT racing in America is aware of the winning history, high-caliber standards and professionalism of this race-team. Their reputation is among the very best in motorsports. I am extremely excited to be driving with K-PAX Racing and my close teammate Guy Cosmo.”
Source. K-PAX Racing/Photo. Gavin Baker