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K-PAX Racing Resilient in Texas - AUSTIN, Tex.

Sep. 03 2017

Earns three top-five finishes at Circuit of The Americas

K-PAX Racing, which entered the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) SprintX finale at Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in a narrow three-way battle for an overall series championship, earned three top-five finishes during the multi-race event. In three rounds of class competition, both teams experienced highs and lows under extremely hot temperatures but remained cool for the sake of the bigger picture.

“It was a tough weekend for us,” Program Manager Darren Law said. “There were a lot of ups and downs including some struggles in the first SprintX race. But, the No. 9 car of Alvaro [Parente] and Ben [Barnicoat] did a great job getting two fourth place finishes for the last two races. That is really good for us in the points. I have to hand it to those guys. They did a great job, and the No. 6 car of Bryan [Sellers] and Michael [Lewis] did a great job as well. Hats off to everyone on the team.”

In the fourth round on Friday – a makeup race from Canadian Tire Motorsport Park – the No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3 car suffered damage from contact early in the race. The following day, the No. 6 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3 car experienced mechanical problems in the ninth round. Even so, both crews worked tirelessly through the weekend, renewing the hopes of winning the overall series title. Both teams rebounded, finishing fourth and fifth respectively in Sunday’s Round 10 finale.

“The crew did a great job this weekend,” Law said. “We had some struggles like heating issues and they took care of that. The No. 9 car had some heavy damage from the first race, and those guys never gave up. They got it repaired and got us back out on the track so we could get some points.”

The final round of SprintX was also hard-fought, as Barnicoat and Lewis were both tested in the first turn of the opening lap. Both drivers managed to avoid contact through a multi-car incident that eventually drew a full-course caution. Thereon, the two began to make their way toward the front from mid-pack. Lewis said executing a good start, avoiding contact into the first turn and having a speedy hand-off are essential in SprintX. Both the No. 6 and No. 9 teams succeeded, giving Sellers and Parente solid track position for the second half of the race.

“I wanted to hand the car off to Bryan in a good position, so I was really focusing on the start,” Lewis said. “I got a massive launch off the line. I planned where I was going to go ahead of time, which was on the outside. I honestly thought everyone was going to try to make it happen from the inside. I lost a position or two but going into the second corner it was just a big mess. Everything pushed to the outside and I really wasn’t in a good position. I was headed straight toward a spun car. At the last moment, it spun away and I was able to avoid it. Then I left the rest to Bryan, who made it happen with old tires – defending against some really hard-charging cars.”

Barnicoat handed the car off to Parente, the defending series champion, in 11th position. Together, both Parente and Sellers began their assault to the top. With 20 minutes remaining of the 60-minute race, both drivers were slotted into the top-five. Parente maintained a steady pace but was unable to challenge for the podium, while Sellers fought to keep a half-second gap from those behind him. After the race Lewis locked hands with Sellers, commending him on his driving at the end.

“That’s just it with SprintX,” Lewis said. “You need some luck, a good car and a good teammate. We had all of the above today. SprintX is full-pro and you really need to be on your game. K-PAX Racing is always on their game.”

K-PAX Racing will conclude PWC Sprint GT competition at Sonoma Raceway (Calif.) from September 15-17, which will also be the team’s homecoming. For more information, visit world-challenge.com.

DRIVER QUOTES

Alvaro Parente - No. 9 McLaren 650S (Race 1 – 21st, Race 2 – 4th, Race 3 – 4th) - “We got two fourth place finishes, but it didn’t go as planned this weekend. But look, it’s racing. It was the maximum we could get out of the car, and we did all we could. For me, fourth place was great. This year, [Ben] and I had some pretty good races and some really tough ones where I think we still maximized the potential of our car.”

Ben Barnicoat - No. 9 McLaren 650S (Race 1 – 21st, Race 2 – 4th, Race 3 – 4th) - “Yesterday and today we had some good races and managed to come forth in both of them. We earned some good, solid points. I think we got the most out of the package we had – what you try to do every weekend.”

Bryan Sellers - No. 6 McLaren 650S (Race 1 – 8th, Race 2 – 13th, Race 3 – 5th) - “Today was a really good day. We finished inside the top-five, and I think it was a really strong team day. Michael drove a great opening stint. Maybe if the conditions were a little different then we would have had a shot at the podium. Everyone did a really great job, and it was good that we were able to bounce back from the troubles we had in the previous two races.”

Michael Lewis - No. 6 McLaren 650S (Race 1 – 8th, Race 2 – 13th, Race 3 – 5th) - “We had a solid car, actually. Our No. 6 Smile Generation/K-PAX Racing McLaren was quite strong and, we had clean pit stops and clean laps.”

About K-PAX Racing
Since joining the Pirelli World Challenge in 2007, K-PAX Racing has celebrated a total 105 podiums, 43 wins and four driver championships, solidifying the team as a continuous championship contender. In 2014, K-PAX Racing expanded its relationship with McLaren GT, bringing two new 2015 McLaren 650S GT3 race cars into competition. The renewed effort kept K-PAX Racing at the forefront of competition, becoming a serious championship contender in the seasons to follow. In 2016, the team expanded to three full season McLaren 650S GT3 race cars, and clinched the Pirelli World Challenge Team, Driver, and Manufacturer Championships.

About McLaren GT
McLaren has been a pioneer and setting benchmarks on the tracks around the world for 50 years, and the latest range of GT racing models based on the road-going McLaren Automotive range is no different. McLaren GT was established in 2011 to develop, build and support all GT race activities. Based in Woking, Surrey at the former home of McLaren Racing, the company is responsible for the design, development and production of the 650S GT3, 570S GT4, and 650S and 570S Sprint models.