K-PAX Racing has withdrawn its Bentley Continental GT3 entry from this weekend’s GT World Challenge America Powered by AWS round at Virginia International Raceway due to ongoing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
The California-based team, which had confirmed Guy Cosmo and Patrick Byrne for the year, will not take part in SRO America’s season restart, marking the first event it has missed in the series since 2007.
According to a team statement, a “strong precedence” has been taken on the “safety and well-being” of its staff.
“Given the recent surge in the COVID-19 daily rates throughout the U.S. and the uncertainty surrounding individual states in dealing with the virus in the future, the team and its drivers are dedicated to the health and safety of their people as a top priority and will take a sideline seat until there is a clear and reliable path moving forward,” said program manager Darren Law.
No timeline has been established on when the team will return to the series.
K-PAX’s withdrawal drops the total number of cars competing in this weekend’s pair of 90-minute GTWC America races to eight.
SRO America President and CEO Greg Gill, meanwhile, has reaffirmed the series’ commitment to COVID-19 safety protocols, which were outlined to competitors in early June.
“Over the last number of months, our global management team has worked diligently on developing and adopting safe working protocols in adherence with federal, state and local health authorities and in consultation with our tracks, partners and teams,” said Gill.
“Safety remains our first priority for our teams, drivers, partners and staff. We respect K-PAX’s decision. K-PAX has not missed a race with the Series since 2007.
“That record and their decision speaks volumes as to their commitment to motorsports and the series, and as well how seriously they are adapting to the pandemic environment today. We look forward to their return to the series at Sonoma.”
Despite K-PAX’s absence, Flying Lizard Motorsports will take part in the VIR races this weekend in Pirelli GT4 America Sprint and SprintX competition, while Law told Sportscar365 that K-PAX still plans to contest GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup, despite logistical challenges amid a current travel ban for U.S. citizens.