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.”