K-PAX Racing will represent Bentley Motorsport in a new union that will place three Continental GT3s in the Pirelli World Challenge GT category.
The Jim Haughey-owned outfit, which has claimed multiple PWC GT championships using Volvos and McLarens, will continue to rely on the Sonoma-based Flying Lizard team led by Darren Law to facilitate its racing endeavors. As part of the alliance, K-PAX will replace Malaysia’s Bentley Team Absolute, which represented the marque for two long-haul PWC seasons, as the brand’s primary engagement in North America.
“A team based in the United States is a great start for us,” Bentley Motorsport boss Brian Gush told RACER. “We are looking forward with Jim and Darren and the team, they’ve had great success, and it’s good to get started.
“With [Absolute], they took on a heck of a challenge to come over and runs races and head back to their base. They found the logistics to be quite stressful and tiring, which makes the partnership with K-PAX a natural fit.”
A second-generation Bentley Continental GT3 is on the way for 2018. K-PAX will campaign the first-generation models until its successor is ready for action.
“The team will start using the current cars that are over there and add a third to it,” Gush continued. “We’re still developing the new car that was announced recently; it’s still in an intense development phase and will be homologated in the first portion of next year. Then we’ll get it into the team’s hands as soon as we can.”
Switching from McLaren to Bentley came after an exhaustive review process for K-PAX.
“The process of moving a new manufacturer in is quite…a process,” Law told RACER. “We looked at what the future held for McLaren, and we had a whole list we assembled for talks with every GT3 manufacturer, and we did actually meet with all of them, then laid out all the pros and cons, and Bentley looked very strong.
“We looked at the vehicle homologations, where the cars run and how they’ve performed in those championships, the costs to run each car, drivetrain life, and spoke with many drivers here and in Europe to get their feedback on how their cars performed. Altogether, it led us to Bentley because they give us the best opportunity to succeed.”
The trio of Crewe-built Continental GT3s could position K-PAX as one of the bigger draws for PWC next year. Changes by the series to prohibit Acura’s direct support of RealTime Racing and ban full-factory programs like Cadillac Racing has left K-PAX as one of a handful of recognized stars in the GT class. Throw in the loss of popular privateers like GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and Magnus Racing, and the big twin-turbo V8-powered Continentals will command a significant portion of PWC’s spotlight.
News of who will be charged with driving the Nos. 6, 9, and 98 will complete the changeover process for K-PAX. The team will be solely responsible for those decisions.
“An answer is forthcoming,” said Law. “We have not finalized those names, but we are pretty close.”