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, added: “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 and Patrick 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.”