K-PAX Racing team principal Darren Law says the dramatic pit fire for its No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3 at Virginia International Raceway only resulted in minimal damage to the chassis despite the dramatic flare-up.
Parente and Soucek won Race 1 of the weekend the day before, but any hope of repeating on Sunday ended during the team’s pit stop when spilled fuel leaked onto the exhaust and briefly engulfed the car in flames.
The fire was extinguished quickly, allowing the Bentley chassis to escape without sustaining significant damage.
“It was so minimal, the damage was almost literally nothing,” Law told Sportscar365. “It looked dramatic but it was not at all.
“The fuel nozzle came loose and spilled some fuel on the exhaust. It was basically a surface fire. It lit up where the fuel was but our guy was there with the extinguisher right away.
“We got it put out before it burned through anything. It didn’t overheat anything. We got lucky. We didn’t race after the fire because we didn’t know what the damage was, but it turned out to be an easy fix.”
Law said the team has reviewed footage of the stop and has adjusted its pit stop procedure to accommodate the unique characteristics of the right-hand-drive Bentley.
“The one thing that’s different about our program than others is that we have a right-hand-drive car,” explained Law.
“That was the first weekend that we switched the fueling nozzle from the left to the right because VIR was a right-hand pit stall.
“The drivers obviously were going in with the fuel and they bumped. We learned from that. We’ve done multiple pit stops in practice and gone through different scenarios.
“Luckily we film everything so we were able to analyze it and we’ve made adjustments for right-hand fueling pit stops.”
Law credited the team for its quick reaction, noting that the safety protocols in place are effective at minimizing damage.
“It was spot on,” he said. “The guys were on it, they got it put out, the driver was fine. They got it taken care of. Everybody was OK, which was the important part.
“We’ve made adjustments and I think we feel confident that we won’t see that again.”
Parente and Soucek enter this weekend’s event at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park third in the points standings.
They are just one point ahead of their teammates Rodrigo Baptista and Maxime Soulet, who are tied for the lead with R. Ferri Motorsports’ Toni Vilander and Miguel Molina.