K-PAX Racing program manager Darren Law says he expects the team to be ready to challenge for wins this weekend at Circuit of The Americas despite Alvaro Parente’s hard crash in the Pirelli World Challenge opener in St. Pete.
Parente escaped injury in the accident, which was triggered by brake failure, although the team has been forced to scramble to prepare its third Bentley Continental GT3 chassis for the 2016 series champion with just one week in between races.
“When we got the three cars and we stripped them down to bare tubs, not even a single wire or anything,” Law told Sportscar365.
“We went through them all and we had time in that process to build up two cars, which is what we ran at St. Pete. The third car hasn’t been finished or completed. It’s been a bit of a scramble.
“As soon as St. Pete ended, the entire crew flew to Sonoma and are building the car up. It’s actually being put on a trailer and driven down to COTA.
“We’re going to work out of [the Moorespeed shop] in Austin and take what we need off of Alvaro’s car and our spares and finish up the third car.
“We’ve worked with them before. They’re ten minutes from the track. David Moore is a friend and we called up and asked if we could work out of the shop the week before the event and they gave us some space.”
Law expressed optimism that Parente’s chassis from St. Pete could be repaired but said it was too soon to say when they could start running a third Bentley for a customer.
“That depends on the condition once we pull Alvaro’s car apart,” he said. “I think we can repair the chassis on his car. It looks like we can, but we only have one week between events here so once COTA is done we’ll evaluate.
“It’s a bit of a thrash but we should be fine. We have everything we need. Unfortunately that third car was slated for a customer. We had several people interested, nothing was locked down, but that goes on hold for now.
“Yes it’s a setback having our guys work extra, but I don’t think it’s a setback as far as our performance level.
“He’ll have a brand new car coming to COTA and we’ll have the factory Bentley boys [Maxime Soulet and Andy Soucek] coming which will be really good for us to get us some feedback.
“I think there’s no setback to the team other than a little extra work.”
Law was quick to praise the safety of both the Bentley and the St. Pete circuit, which prevented a far more worse outcome from happening.
“Alvaro went in hard, and we have to thank Bentley,” he said. “It’s a strong piece. He literally walked away.
“When you see the replay on it he was lucky that when he hit the tires it went up so it dissipated a lot of the energy.
“If he had just gone straight in and stopped, that could have been bad. For sure they had enough tires to cushion the blow.”