Team to field single entry in Pro-Am GT World Challenge America Series
K-PAX Racing announced Thursday its continued presence in the GT World Challenge America series, fielding one of its second-generation Bentley Continental GT3s in the series’ featured Pro-Am division.
Under the series’ updated class structure for 2020, the Pro-Am division will take center-stage for GT3 competition. Headlining the K-PAX Racing entry is Pro-rated driver Guy Cosmo and rising star Patrick Byrne as the amateur of the pair in the No. 8 Bentley Continental GT3.
“When we were presented the opportunity to take the K-PAX Racing program to Europe next year we took it, but the team’s history is here in the U.S. with GT World Challenge America,” K-PAX Racing Program Manager Darren Law said. “We have been working hard to find a suitable program to keep us here with Bentley. The new format of Pro-Am only presented a challenge for us. We want to compete at the top level and had to consider a driver pairing that we felt would give us the opportunity to win.”
Cosmo and Byrne have nurtured a mentor-protege relationship into a driver pairing fit for on-track success – notably becoming 2017-2018 LMP3 champions in the Asian Le Mans Series. The two also teamed-up last season to run a limited campaign in the World Challenge GT4 America series, capturing several podium finishes and one victory. Cosmo, who continues his mentorship role to Byrne, said he sees K-PAX Racing as an opportunity for his teammate to be become a true Pro-level competitor.
“What Patrick and I have going is pretty special,” Cosmo said. “It started with just coaching him from time to time and gradually evolved into racing together so we could maximize the learning and expose him to all aspects of the pro-racing environment. But he learned so quickly and was performed so well that it was time to start upping the ante. Now we are racing for wins and championships and proving we can get the job done.”
“It takes the right partners together with the right series and I couldn’t be happier to bring our driver-paring and our fantastic sponsor, Torxen, to K-PAX Racing and compete for an overall championship win in GT World Challenge America. K-PAX is one of the most successful teams to ever compete in this series and partnered with Bentley and the Continental GT3 there is no better group to tackle this challenge with.”
Byrne said that although he is experienced in endurance racing from his time in prototypes, he is encouraged by the series changes in the race format – extending the race duration to 90 minutes and removing the one-driver Sprint format ahead of the 2019 season.
“I enjoy the endurance racing because it adds a couple of variable elements that can give you a leg-up on your competitors if your strategy goes right,” Byrne said. “With these high-intensity North American tracks, even though the race duration may be shorter than other endurance series, it still adds a physical conditioning aspect. You still need the constant conditioning in between races. I would be happy to see even longer races, but it seems like the series is moving to longer races every year which is great.”
The season will feature 13 rounds of action at several of the series-regular courses – with the addition of Indianapolis Motor Speedway as the finale.
“After considering who is available and who understands this format of racing, Guy Cosmo and Patrick Byrne were a natural fit,” Law said. “I have personally worked with both of them and even raced with Guy as my teammate several years ago. They have the right attitude, and both are very fast. This gives K-PAX Racing and Bentley Motorsport the opportunity to continue its successful campaign to fight for wins and a championship. We will start testing next month and are looking forward to 2020.”
Paul Williams, Bentley Director of Motorsport: “After delivering two consecutive team championships in a row for us with the Bentley Continental GT3, we are delighted that K-PAX Racing has chosen to defend its GT World Challenge America title and fight for the drivers championship win. They have a strong driver pairing in Guy [Cosmo] and Patrick [Byrne] and a team that has taken race wins since its very first outing with the new Continental GT3. We look forward to celebrating more success in the States in 2020.”
Guy Cosmo – No. 8 Bentley Continental GT3 – “I first started sports car racing in 2003 – the first year that Grand-Am created the Daytona Prototype – and Darren and I were teammates. We hit it off, and he’s been a favorite of mine ever since. Patrick [Byrne] and I competed in one of his programs in 2015. We did one GTD race with them in IMSA, and he kept me in the stable.
What Patrick and I have going is pretty special. It started with me just coaching him from time to time and gradually evolved into racing together so we could maximize the learning and expose him to all aspects of the pro racing environment. But he learned so quickly and was performed so well that it was time to start upping the ante. Now we are racing for wins and championships and proving we can get the job done.
It takes the right partners and the right series. I couldn’t be happier to bring our driver-pairing and our fantastic sponsor, Torxen, to K-PAX Racing and compete for an overall championship win in GT World Challenge America. K-PAX is one of the most successful teams to ever compete in this series and partnered with Bentley and the Continental GT3 there is no better group to tackle this challenge with.
Being able to join a championship-caliber program is one of the most satisfying things you could have as a driver; having a shot at winning every race and contending for a championship. But to do it with Bentley and being the only Bentley race car competing in North America, that’s something that is really exciting. I look forward to representing them this season and maximize every aspect of this program. We want to compete, learn and do everything we can to win this championship.
The SRO is doing a great job with their vision for GT World Challenge in America. It’s always been an exciting series and if you’re racing a GT3 car, you are the focal point of that race. To be racing these awesome cars by Bentley and headlining each event, that’s something that’s very attractive to us. It’s also an incredible amount of seat time – 12 opportunities to be on the podium and the top-step.”
Patrick Byrne – No. 8 Bentley Continental GT3 – “My first GT3 race was with one of Darren’s programs in 2015, These last couple years, Guy [Cosmo] and I have raced together, and I wouldn’t be making this progress without him. He’s a great driver, set-up man and data analyst. We’re very critical of each other which has really helped us both with constant improvement.
It’s really exciting to be racing with K-PAX Racing in 2020. They have been making a name for themselves and they continue to have great success. It seems that they are either always on the podium or winning, and that they are a very close-knit, but welcoming family. The team is so top-notch, and it’s so exciting to be joining that level of competitor. You can have total faith that the car is going to be at its best when you get to the track, and that’s the best way to race. The Bentley Continental GT3 sounds and looks fantastic, so I’m looking forward to seeing how it drives. We’ve been envious just seeing these machines in the paddock.
We want to thank K-PAX Racing, Jim Haughey and Torxen. We wouldn’t be able to do this without all of them.”
About K-PAX Racing
Based in Sonoma, Calif., K-PAX Racing has celebrated a total 148 podiums, 59 wins, four Driver Championships and three Manufacturer Championships, solidifying the team as a continuous championship contender. In the GT Class, K-PAX Racing 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. The team made a switch to Bentley for 2018, fielding the first-generation Continental GT3 in its first season and the second-generation model in 2019.
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, Paul Williams 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.