BOWMANVILLE, Ont. – K-PAX Racing nears the half-way point of the Blancpain GT World Challenge America Championship May 17-19 with Rounds 5 & 6 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP). After four rounds of action, the team’s two second-generation Bentley Continental GT3s – which will be racing at CTMP for the first time since their introduction – are at the top of the championship.
“We can’t wait to get back to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park,” K-PAX Racing Program Manager Darren Law said. “Coming back this season with the new second-generation Bentley Continental GT3 is exciting for us. This car has proven race after race that it is up to the task and gives us the opportunity at a win every weekend.”
The team will look to replicate last season’s trip to Castrol Victoria Day SpeedFest, as the high-speed sectors catered to the first-generation model. In the event opener – and on an increasingly drier course as the race progressed – K-PAX Racing opted to pit both cars, making the change from rain tires to Pirelli P Zero slicks. The bold strategy paid off, as the team recorded the fastest laps of the race and started both cars on the front row for the finale. In the final race, Álvaro Parente (GT) and Rodrigo Baptista (GTA) won their classes and had a one-two finish overall.
“With the high-speed nature of this track it plays well into the strengths of the new car,” Law said. “Last year, we started with mixed results but had great finish due to good pit strategy in drying conditions that led us to a one-two finish. So, we hope to repeat that again this year.”
Co-drivers of the No. 3 and 9 cars, Max Soulet and Andy Soucek, have yet to visit CTMP and will be making their track debut. To prepare for the 10-turn, 2.49-mile course, the two familiarized themselves with the track on a simulator.
“I enjoyed every single lap,” said Soucek after the simulation. “It’s a cool track. It’s very quick and it could be quite dangerous if you miss your line. Some corners have quite a bit of camber, and there are some black tarmac patches where you need to be on that line to get the ‘sweet spot’ in the corners. I have a really good feeling, because I love the track. I hope to enjoy it with a real car as well.”
K-PAX Racing enters the next two rounds fighting at the top of the championship standings. Law said that the team is off to a “great start” – though it is still early in the championship.
“It is still very early in the season, but we are off to a great start in both the drivers and team championship,” Law said. “We hope to keep that momentum going.”
The No. 3 of Baptista and Soulet share the lead (62 points) in the Drivers Championship, and the No. 9 of Parente and Soucek have sole possession of third – trailing by a single point. In the Team Championship, K-PAX Racing (93 points) leads by nearly 30 points.
Both Continental GT3s have contributed to the team’s strong performance during the first four rounds. K-PAX Racing has been awarded three pole positions, and the team has climbed the top-step three times.
Álvaro Parente – No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3 – “I think [Canadian Tire Motorsport Park] was one of the tracks that favored the first-generation Bentley [Continental GT3] last season. I’m really looking forward to going with the second-generation model, because the track has been a good one for us – all high-speed stuff. It should be a strong track for us this season.
It’s always a very challenging track, because you never know what the weather is going to do. I think even if it does rain, we’ll be more prepared than last year. The high-speed corners should continue to favor the car, and the long back-straight should be good as well. For Andy, it will be a first. I’ll be interested to see what he thinks about the track, but I think he’ll quickly adapt. It’s an eye-opening track with the short run-offs, too.
We knew it was going to be challenging in the rain last season, but as the track started to dry, we made the switch to slicks which did the job – putting the car on pole for the final race. We had a great race, finishing one-two. It was the right call and a great team strategy. This season – with two-drivers and the pit-stop – it’s important to have everything right as we’ve seen the last two events. We know we can’t mess anything up from every-side of the pit-stop. We’ve learned, and we’ll look to improve in the next races.”
Andy Soucek – No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3 – “Hopefully, we are competitive with the new car as well. It’s the first track this season where we have not previously tested, so it will be a bit of a challenge to find the setup. Álvaro and Rodrigo know the track well, and Max and I will need to learn it quickly.
When you look back to the first two events, we’ve had some really good pace, the car has been great, and the team has done well with the pit-stops. I think we’re in a sweet momentum. We lost too many points in the VIR finale, which we will need to recover from at this next event, but my head is geared more toward the long-term. I just want to keep scoring points, because that will be the most important thing at the end of the year. Our goal is to finish both races in the front. Whether we can win or not will be a different story, but we’ll try to. If we have to settle, we’ll still take it. It’s important to finish races and get points toward the championship.”
Rodrigo Baptista – No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3 – “I am looking forward to CTMP. It’s a super-fast track, and I want to see how the new Bentley Continental GT3 will behave.
Last year we were super-fast in dry conditions, and I hope this year will be the same. Let’s work together to maintain the championship points and continue to build our lead with KPAX Racing.
Last race, we went from a DNF on Saturday to a race win on Sunday, so everything can change really quickly in motorsports. I am sure the team and Max will work with me to have the best results.”
Max Soulet – No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3 – “Everybody was telling me it was fast, but I wasn’t expecting that fast. I’m really excited to do my first laps, because it’s a track I like – a very fast, flowing one. I’ll know more once I actually drive it, because a simulator is nice but it’s not reality. I think the first time I’m going to take the first turn that fast, it’s going to feel funny. The fourth turn is really quick, too. I can’t wait to be honest.”