K-PAX Racing has withdrawn from this week’s GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS pre-season test at Paul Ricard due to the growing concern over the coronavirus pandemic.
The California-based squad will withdraw its crew from Europe “as soon as possible” in light of the U.S. government’s new travel restrictions announced by President Donald Trump on Wednesday evening.
There has been no timetable on when the team could return to its European base in Germany, with K-PAX taking “steps to ensure the health and safety” of all its members, according to a team statement released on Thursday.
“We understand that theoretically the U.S. cannot keep our guys from returning, but K-PAX Racing makes the well-being of each member on our team a priority,” said team manager Thomas Blam.
“We have decided to withdraw from the series’ testing at Paul Ricard, and we will continue to adapt as a team ahead of the series’ start of the Endurance Cup.
“Series officials have been very understanding and accommodating under these unfortunate circumstances, which motivates us to return with a winning product – similar to what fans have seen in America over the last 13 seasons.”
The team will still have a presence in the paddock, with its factory drivers planning to stay on-site to assist with other Bentley customer teams during the two-day test, which kicked off today.
“It’s a real shame that the K-PAX Racing guys had to pack up and go home, but of course it’s the right thing to do, following the advice from the authorities to keep them safe,” said Bentley director of motorsport Paul Williams.
“It’s been good to meet up with them and do some planning for the season, and the works drivers are staying behind which is a great chance for them to interact with the customer teams and Bentley Motorsport Academy.
“I look forward to seeing K-PAX Racing next time.”
The season-opening Endurance Cup round, which was to be held at Monza, was canceled earlier this week, meaning the theoretical start to the season is now not until May 9-10 at Silverstone.