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Parente Returns to K-PAX Despite Bentley Switch

Alvaro Parente confirmed at K-PAX Racing for third consecutive PWC season despite team’s switch to Bentley…

Photo: Bob Chapman/Autosport Image

Alvaro Parente will return to K-PAX Racing next year despite the team’s switch from McLaren to Bentley.

The 2016 Pirelli World Challenge GT champion was confirmed Tuesday with the California-based squad for a third consecutive season, as its first confirmed driver in a planned three-car effort fielding Bentley Continental GT3s.

Parente, a McLaren GT factory driver, joined the Jim Haughey-owned team in 2016, in its second year with McLaren 650S GT3 cars, and has claimed an impressive ten wins and 18 podium finishes in his two seasons to date.

“We won the championship our first year together and finished second [in Sprint GT] this season,” said Parente. “The results are great because the guys are really good.

“The professionalism and the way we work together has been fantastic, and that’s one of the main reasons why I’m coming back. I feel we all work in the same direction, and it’s such a hard-working group of people that do the job well with the same ambitions as me.

“Jim is also one of the reasons why I am coming back. I want to keep working with him. He loves racing and loves to do well. I love that spirit. I’m happy to be working with Jim again.”

The 33-year-old Portuguese driver was also recently confirmed to take on the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup races in a Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 next year.

“I have spent most of my motorsports career as a driver, and I have driven against and with some of the best drivers in the world,” K-PAX Program Manager Darren Law said. “After spending the last two seasons with Alvaro, I am very confident in saying he is for sure one of the best. 

“He has the speed, the race-craft and the judgement that you want in a driver.”

Parente will continue in the No. 9 car, which will now be a right-hand-drive Bentley instead of his familiar McLaren, which he has driven for the past five years.

“That should be interesting,” he said. “It’s a big change in terms of driving the car on the right-hand side. I hope I’ll adapt quickly to that situation and that it won’t be complicated.

“The rest is me and the team working hard to learn about this new car.

“The biggest thing is setup, making the car comfortable for me and making it as quick as possible. I think that’s something we do well at K-PAX Racing.

“Adapting quickly will be the trick for us, it’s extracting the maximum potential out of the car setup-wise, and I think we have the right ingredients to do that.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John



  1. B carr

    December 19, 2017 at 11:09 am

    Assuming hes no longer a Mclaren Factory Driver then…

    • Mike D

      December 19, 2017 at 11:36 am

      They do seem to be farming out their talent, or at least allowing them non-McLaren rides. Parente to PWC Bentley/IMSA Acura, Come Ledogar to IMSA Acura, not sure what Rob Bell is up to.

      • daedalus

        December 19, 2017 at 11:45 am

        rob is still contracted AFAIK. The others might still be on retainer so they can be used when the 720 GT3 is launched in 2018. Mclaren seem to be having a transition year with CRS loosing the contract which could have factored into K-Pax dumping the 650 GT3 even tho it handles much better than the big fat Bentley. Garage59 might use some drivers now they are back in blancpain, Rob Bell most likely along with Duncan Tappy and maybe Ledogar.

        • learngrammar

          December 19, 2017 at 7:51 pm

          Good grief. Learn to spell and/or use proper grammar:

          Lose not “loose”.

          tho? You aren’t texting.

          Your decisions when to use uppercase versus not is screwy.

          How old are you?

      • Binky

        December 19, 2017 at 1:15 pm

        The Shank Acura story lists Ledogar as a “former McLaren factory driver”. And this news regarding Parente seems to confirm there won’t be a GT3 McLaren in the Americas at all. Heck, only reason they are even in 2018 Blancpain is because the factory itself (G59) is running them after losing sole customer Strakka.

        What this indicates is that McLaren’s probably providing little/no support in the last year of Kirkaldy’s group being in charge of customer racing, so the 2 highest profile teams found other manufacturers.

  2. Tim

    December 19, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    What does that mean for him as a “McLaren ” factory driver. As far as I can tell he will not be in a McLaren next year

  3. Curtis

    December 19, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    This should make K PAX Racing a serious contender for the championship once again in 2018. Heck, without Wright Motorsports in the PWC GT picture I would say Parante is the odds on favorite.

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