K-PAX Racing is full speed ahead into the second round of GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS Endurance Cup, bringing a slightly modified line-up to the famed Nürburgring for six hours of intense series action.
The team will not have to travel far from its satellite shop in Germany, reassembling its two-car Bentley Continental GT3 package to follow-up a promising series debut at Imola (Italy) in late-July, highlighted by consistent rises to the top of the field and a steady pace inside the top-10 of a nearly 50-car field. While K-PAX Racing intends to bring its unwavering determination for series stardom into the second round, it is not without the arrival of Bentley-Works driver Alex Buncombe, who will take the place of team-veteran Álvaro Parente in the No. 9 for the event.
“We are all looking forward to the second race of the season at Nürburgring,” K-PAX Racing Program Manager Darren Law said. “Our finish position at Imola was not reflective of our performance – the cars were good and we are excited to show what we believe we are capable of.”
“We will miss Álvaro for sure this weekend as he is and has been a major part of the K-PAX Racing program since 2016. Luckily the conflicts in the other series only affect us this weekend and he will be back to finish the rest of the season. It will be great to have Alex joining us for this event, as he comes highly recommended from Bentley – it worked out well, he was available, he knows the cars and he is already teammates with all of our drivers in other programs so he will be a nice addition.”
Buncombe is in his second season with Bentley M-Sport and in his 13 years of GT experience, offers the No. 9 team experience in endurance racing and a strong rapport with Andy Soucek and Jordan Pepper, who will be sharing the seat.
“GT3 racing is where my heart is, and I’ve been doing it basically since it was born [in the series] back in 2011,” said Buncombe, who has only missed one race in the series since its debut season. “I drove all last year with Andy and it’s great to get back with him, and though Jordan was in the other [M-Sport] car, it’s been great to be his teammate and I think we’re going to have a really good mix of experience and speed.”
“K-PAX Racing is a very well-known team worldwide, and I’ve watched them for years. It’s a fantastic opportunity, and it’s a great way to continue this relationship with Bentley. I’m very excited to get back behind the wheel and thrilled to be doing it with K-PAX Racing.”
Buncombe will be revisiting a track that is dear to him, as he has found success at Nürburgring through his career. In 2015, he helped clinch a 2015 Endurance Cup Pro title at the circuit with a third-place finish. He has competed in 26 24-hour races in his racing career – six at Nürburgring.
“It’s a massive opportunity to get back to Nürburgring, even though I haven’t been back in the last few years. It’s certainly a track that I know, and I have a lot of experience under my belt. It just so happens to be my favorite circuit, and I seem to have a good race every time I go there. I look forward to heading back with K-PAX Racing.”
Follow the second round of GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS Endurance Cup with extensive television and streaming coverage available at http://www.gt-world-challenge-europe.com/live.
Alex Buncombe – No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3 – “There’s plenty of high-speed stuff at Nürburgring, and we know that the Bentley is very strong in that area. It looks like the car will be really strong there, so hopefully we keep a good balance of performance – I think we’re going to.”
Andy Soucek – No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3 – “Approaching the second race of the season after a very nice first round at Imola – sort of a bittersweet result where we could have been in the top-five as the car was great and the team executed perfect pit-stops – we are very much looking forward to getting a good result at Nürburgring, where the car proved to be very good and fast in the last race of ADAC GT Masters with Jordan [Pepper] and his teammate. We also have a new teammate, as Álvaro [Parente] will not be able to make it for this round. Alex [Buncombe] is going to join us. I know him and raced with him in Suzuka last year, and I’m looking forward to sharing the car with him. I think we have a strong line-up. Six hours is a long race, and the format is different to the three-hour race, where you’d go flat-out every time. You need to think more about the end result and the last hour, surviving the first five. We need to play it clever, make it to the end and score some good points before the 24 of Spa.”
Jordan Pepper – No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3 – “Heading into the second round at Nürburgring, I think it’s going to be a lot smoother of a weekend from Imola. The team knows the regulations a lot better, and it’s a lot less stressful for everyone. It’s a little disappointing that we weren’t able to reward the team with the results we hoped for at Imola, but it makes us even more hungry. There’s more at stake with it being a six-hour race, so I think it’s more important that we capitalize on this weekend. The driver pairing of Andy and welcoming Alex Buncombe to the car, we have a strong line-up and we know the car and track very well. Personally, for me, Nürburgring is where I’ve had most of my successes in Europe. It’s a place I know very well and love and put together with K-PAX Racing’s knowledge and experience, we’re definitely in for a good weekend. Let’s see if we can reward the team with the results it deserves.”
Rodrigo Baptista – No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3 – “I am looking forward to the Nürburgring race, especially after the excellent job K-PAX Racing did at Imola. We have fast cars, a great crew so I think we’ll be in good shape to put our Bentley Continental GT3 at the top again. It will be a long race, six hours, so every detail counts. Our target will be qualifying but in a long race everything can happen. Between traffic and weather, there’s a lot going on while we drive so we need to maintain our focus to be at the top all the time and avoid any kind of contact to bring it home a good result. We are on the right track.”
Maxime Soulet – No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3 – “After our learning curve in Imola, I am looking so much forward to Nürburgring our Bentley Continental GT3 have always been quick around there. And the team have learned so much in such a short time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But that’s when you see how professional K-PAX Racing is. I’m hoping for the results we deserve.”
Jules Gounon – No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3 – “I’m really looking to this race after trouble with the start at Imola. We could not show our promising pace, so I think this weekend will be another opportunity with myself, Maxime Soulet and Rodrigo Baptista. I’m really looking forward to working with the team again – so professional – so let’s have a great weekend and get a strong result for the Championship.”
Source. K-PAX Racing/Photo. Drew Gibson