K-PAX Racing is looking to get some serious mileage completed at this week’s pre-season test in order to help with the “good challenge” of adapting to the GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS.
The long-time GTWC America competitor will lead Bentley’s charge in the European series this year but program manager Darren Law admits it’s a steep learning curve to get used to racing on the other side of the Atlantic.
The team will run both Bentley Continental GT3s and all six drivers as much as possible during the two days of running at Circuit Paul Ricard on Thursday and Friday.
“It’s all new. We’re going with our basic setup that we believe is going to be correct,” Law told Sportscar365.
“We’ve got help from M-Sport, we’ve got all their data and they’re feeding us their information.
“We’ll be different than some of the guys there. We’re taking all six guys and we’re going to run both cars the whole time, so a lot of drive time.
“It’s different with the pit stops and working with the officials, so it’s important to do that before the first race. We have not done any testing in Europe, the first test will be Paul Ricard.
“Expectations are a bit unknown, we’re gauging ourselves off of how M-Sport runs. We believe we should be in that range so if they’re competitive, we’ll see.”
While the team is new to European competition, it has been able to count on its full-factory lineup which consists entirely of drivers already familiar with the series, and some who have competed there for several seasons.
Alvaro Parente, Andy Soucek and Jordan Pepper will drive one car, while Maxime Soulet, Jules Gounon and Rodrigo Baptista will share the other.
“Bentley has been phenomenal, they’re supporting us in many ways,” Law added.
“We’re going to have all factory drivers, it’s going to be a serious Pro effort. The drivers know all the tracks, they know the cars, they’re excited.”
The Californian team has set up a base in Germany, and its cars, which are the chassis it raced in GTWC America last year, arrived around three weeks ago.
K-PAX is using its American crew for programs on both continents, meaning the last few weeks have been busy as it juggled European preparation and the first race of the GTWC America season at Circuit of The Americas last weekend.
“It’s been busy for the guys, they went to the shop in Germany [two weeks ago], unloaded, prepped, got the trailers ready and then flew directly from Germany to COTA,” Law explained.
“Then they’re going directly from COTA to Paul Ricard. It’s three weeks straight for those guys.
“We’re using pretty much all of our American crew, other than some truck drivers, because [the locals] know the roads, they have the licenses.”
John Dagys contributed to this report