K-PAX Racing has responded to Pirelli World Challenge’s decision to exclude both of its Bentley Continental GT3s from qualifying, claiming that the series “changed their interpretation and approach” to a previously “mutually understood” car behavior.
Both the overall pole-sitting No. 9 Bentley of Alvaro Parente and Pro-Am class pole-sitter Rodrigo Baptista were thrown out of qualifying due to violation of rule 11.3.5 in the PWC technical regulations, which states that cars must not exceed the listed RPM limit.
Per this weekend’s Balance of Performance for Category D circuits, the Bentley has a limit of 7100 RPM, and according to PWC officials, was found to have exceeded the limit by more than 200 RPM in qualifying.
In a statement provided to Sportscar365, K-PAX states they would “never, and would never, choose to bend the rules to gain an advantage” on the track.
“This year and every year, the team has reviewed our engine characteristics and data with Pirelli World Challenge, including during the practice sessions leading up to qualifying during this race weekend,” the statement reads.
“We have worked closely with the PWC officials throughout this weekend to ensure the car was compliant and prior to qualifying PWC officials informed us that everything was acceptable.”
The team additionally states that the RPM parameter has never changed since Bentley entered the championship in 2014.
“Series officials have repeatedly allowed our engines to briefly exceed the BoP dictated rev limit only while on the rev limiter and have made no suggestion that this car behavior was anything but legal.
“What is most disappointing is that the Pirelli World Challenge series changed their interpretation and approach to a previously mutually understood car behavior which provides no material benefit to the performance of the car on the race track.
“We entered this event with the expectation that the series would follow existing protocol and are disappointed with the outcome.”
PWC: “Unanimous” Decision on Bentley DQ
The series, meanwhile, has responded to K-PAX’s statement, reaffirming both cars were out of compliance post-qualifying.
“The PWC competition board reviewed the findings from the data officials,” the PWC statement reads. “The decision was unanimous. The board comprises of technical staff from both Pirelli World Challenge and the SRO.”
While the Bentley has undergone homologation updates to the engine parameters, which were approved by the FIA, both documents, dated April 1, 2016 and Feb. 1 2017 list the car’s maximum RPM as 7100.
“The RPM for qualifying [at Lime Rock] showed over 200 RPM from the homologated amount,” PWC’s statement read. “The engine management is controlled by the manufacturer and not the series.
“Scrutineers cannot and do not check every vehicle for 100 percent compliance 100 percent of the time.
“Each vehicle homologation covers over 100 pages of dimensioned components. This is in addition to over 50 parameters per vehicle monitored electronically for compliance.
“The vehicle must meet these specifications at all times, however due to the number of components and specifications spot checks are done of specific items, not all items during any session.”
Following the exclusions, PWC made a BoP change to the Bentley, reducing the car’s overboost time limit from 100 to 50ms.
Parente and Baptista will line up at the rear of the 13-car GT SprintX field for this morning’s 60-minute race.