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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Parente: “High Expectations” in Mercedes Debut

Alvaro Parente looking for second Bathurst 12H win in Mercedes debut…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Alvaro Parente says he’s expecting a good result in this weekend’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour in his first race in the Mercedes-AMG GT3.

The 2016 race winner, who finished third in class last year, will be competing in a Mercedes GT3 run by Strakka Racing alongside Maximilian Buhk and Maximilian Goetz.

It will also be the team’s first race with the new car after, like Parente, making the switch from McLaren machinery at the end of last year.

“I’ve got very strong teammates over there and they know the car very well,” Parente told Sportscar365.

“Bathurst is always tricky and it’s a hard track with walls so you never know what can happen there, and a long race.

“Looking at the lineup, the car, team, reliability and all that, I think we can expect nothing less than a really good result.

“You never know in racing and Bathurst is such a good track and long race. I’m going there with high expectations and going there wanting to do well.”

For the ex-McLaren GT factory driver, who spent six years with the British brand, 2018 looks to be somewhat of a different season.

Parente already has contracts with three different teams in three very distinct GT3 cars and comes to Bathurst just days after taking a Michael Shank Racing-run Acura NSX GT3 to second in class in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The Portuguese driver will also return to Pirelli World Challenge competition this year with K-PAX Racing, which has switched to Bentley Continental GT3s.

“It’s a big change for me in my career,” he said. “I obviously had six years with McLaren, very successful and challenging, developing cars with the 12C and the 650S.

“My contract finished with them at the end of 2017 and I had these opportunities here that I’m very happy with, that was to come and race with Acura and Michael Shank Racing.

“I’m very happy with that program and my other program which is K-PAX Racing in Pirelli World Challenge is a team I know very well from the past few years.”

While Parente is so far only confirmed for Bathurst with Strakka, he hasn’t closed the door on additional races with the team, which is yet to complete its lineups for its Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup entries and the remainder of the IGTC season.

“It’s a bit early days to speak about [entering the rest of the IGTC season] but I’m hoping I will do,” he said.

“I’m ready to be busy and that’s what we all want as racing drivers. At the moment, this is the program. We’ll see, and it’s looking good.”

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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