K-PAX Racing is still hoping to contest the GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup season despite uncertainties whether its U.S.-based crew will be allowed into Europe.
The California-based team, which had planned to race in Europe for the first time this year, currently faces travel bans to the majority of the countries due to the coronavirus pandemic, although restrictions are expected to be eased within the European Union later this month.
Whether that includes access for U.S. citizens, which the team is entirely made up of, remains unclear.
Speaking with Sportscar365, K-PAX program manager Darren Law said they have been in regular communication with SRO Motorsports Group with the hope of being able to return to Europe for the start of the postponed season in late July.
K-PAX was one of the teams not to take part in the GTWC Europe pre-season test at Paul Ricard in mid-March, with its crew sent home immediately following the announcement of U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban.
The team had already been set up at the French circuit at the time of the order
Law said that everything remains in place for K-PAX to run the GTWC Europe season, which is now slated to kick off on July 25-26 at Imola.
“100 percent that’s still the plan,” Law said. “All of our equipment all of our tools, the semi trucks that we’ve rented… everything’s in place. We’re waiting for SRO and the different countries to find out what they’re going to allow as far as us getting in.
“If we can get in and regulations are lifted then we’re going racing. That’s the plan.
“We’ve heard rumors that restrictions are being lifted. I know SRO is working with with [government authorities] in Europe, but I know SRO, [Stephane] Ratel, we’ve been in constant contact with them via email and messaging.
“Just like what’s happened on the U.S. side [with DHS exemptions], they’re working on the European side.”
With five of its six drivers all European based, Law admitted their “biggest issue” is getting its American crew into Europe and assuring safe travel throughout the continent.
The team has rented shop space in Germany, which sees the second round of Endurance Cup to be held at the Nürburgring in early September, followed by the Total 24 Hours of Spa in late October and a 1000 km race at Paul Ricard to close out the truncated season in mid-November.
“Literally from the driver standpoint everybody [except Rodrigo Baptista] is European so yeah, I I don’t think we have a driver issue,” Law said. “We’re bringing quite a large crew to handle two cars for endurance races, and it’s all U.S.-based crew so that’s that’s our biggest issue.”
Law has ruled out hiring European crew or handing the entries over to Bentley factory squad M-Sport to operate if its staff cannot travel to Europe.
“We’re looking at other options as far as what do we do,” he said. “If we can’t come, do we leave everything and shoot for 2021? Do we bring it all back? I don’t know. Our hope is that we can get there.
“Things seem to be lightening up and this is not until late July so we still have almost two months here. Fingers crossed.”