Rodrigo Baptista will step up to GT3 competition next year, having been confirmed in K-PAX Racing’s lineup for its Pirelli World Challenge return.
The 21-year-old Brazilian moves over from Flying Lizard Motorsports’ GTS operation, where he claimed four victories in his rookie season this year, to make a run for the GTA championship in a K-PAX Bentley Continental GT3.
Baptista joins 2016 PWC GT champion Alvaro Parente, who was confirmed on Tuesday to return to the California-based team, despite its switch from McLaren to Bentley for next year.
“[The GTA class is] a new challenge for me,” Baptista said. “The field is full of great drivers and manufacturers, and I will do my best to perform the way I want it to go.
“There will be a lot of learning with the team, the car and the series on the GT3 side. Now with some knowledge of the tracks from this year in GTS, I look forward to trying to clinch the GTA class title in 2018 and will fight for it.”
K-PAX Program Manager Darren Law added: “Rodrigo is still young but after working with him all last year, I see a lot of the same qualities [as Parente].
“He has been a quick study and progressed extremely well last season. He has an honest shot at a championship and he couldn’t have a better mentor to work alongside than Álvaro.”
Baptista is not a complete stranger to GT3 machinery, having competed in selected Blancpain GT Series races in 2016 in a WRT Audi R8 LMS.
“I am very excited with this great opportunity,” he said. “Driving for K-PAX Racing, a team with a long history of success, will be a big responsibility for me, but I am ready to do it. I can’t wait until the very first tests to join with the team.
“It will be a pleasure to be Álvaro’s teammate, and I look forward to learning from an experienced and quick driver like him.”