K-PAX Racing Signs Two Bentley M-Sport Drivers to its Roster - SONOMA, CalifFeb. 08 2018
Soucek, Soulet to compete in the Pirelli World Challenge SprintX category in 2018
K-PAX Racing has signed Bentley Motorsport Factory Drivers Andy Soucek and Maxime Soulet for the 2018 Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) SprintX GT Championship Series – which is scheduled for 10 rounds in five different states. Soucek will join 2016 PWC Series Champion Álvaro Parente in the No. 9 Bentley Continental GT3, while Soulet will accompany Rodrigo Baptista in the No. 3 Bentley Continental GT3.
“Having both Maxime and Andy join us for the SprintX races this season shows just how committed Bentley Motorsports is to our program this year,” K-PAX Racing Program Manager Darren Law said. “It is always beneficial to have factory drivers join the team. Both of them have a lot of seat-time in these cars. They know the feel of the cars and what has worked or not worked for them regarding setups. So, being able to interact with our engineers and drivers will give us additional insight. Pairing them with Álvaro and Rodrigo is going to make both cars solid contenders for wins.”
Both Soucek and Soulet joined Bentley in 2015 following the introductory season of the Continental GT3. Through three seasons the two have competed in the Blancpain GT Series, which has a similar format to PWC SprintX competition – a 60-minute time limit that features mandatory driver and tire changes.
In the series’ Endurance Cup, the two have finished inside the top-three the last two seasons. Soucek said this season with K-PAX Racing will be “kind of interesting,” because it will be the first time he and Soulet will be competing in different Bentley race cars.
Andy Soucek, 32, will make his American sports car racing debut in 2018. Soucek, who hails from Madrid, Spain, said his familiarity with the general format of PWC SprintX will help with adapting to a new series. Parente joined K-PAX Racing in 2016 under similar circumstances – having only competed at one U.S. track prior to his rookie year in the series.
“I’m very excited to drive for K-PAX Racing – a very successful team that I’ve been following for years in America,” Soucek said. “I’m even more excited to be driving alongside a long-term friend and teammate like Álvaro Parente, who is a driver I respect a lot and someone I appreciate very much. He is extremely talented and will be a good benchmark.”
Before joining Bentley M-Sport, Soucek spent the early-years of his racing career in karting and open-wheel racing. From 2002-09, he competed in series such as the Spanish F3 Championship, World Series by Renault, GP2 Series, SuperLeague Formula and FIA Formula 2 (F2). Soucek won the Spanish F3 Championship and FIA F2 title in his final year with each series, and he became a Formula 1 (F1) test and reserve driver for Virgin Racing in 2010. The Spanish driver tested F1 machinery for Toyota and Williams before making his debut in GT racing in 2012.
“K-PAX Racing and Bentley have been very successful as a team and manufacturer in the past, so joining forces now can only bring positive results,” Soucek said. “From what I heard, the competition is slightly different to Europe but the level is very good. I’ll have to adapt to it quickly, but the team is already getting ready and I have no doubts they will do a great job. Álvaro has experience with both the team and the championship, and he is familiar with the race tracks. So, I will try to benefit from it.”
Maxime Soulet, 34, will return to the U.S. for his first full season since 2012. Soulet, hailing from Uccle, Belgium, said he is most looking forward to the tracks on the series schedule, as well as competing with a “well-run” team in K-PAX Racing. Soulet competes alongside Soucek in the Blancpain GT Series with Bentley Team M-Sport.
“K-PAX Racing has a great reputation, one that spans the Atlantic over into Europe, so I’m honored to be racing with them in the USA,” Soulet said. “Baptista has proven to be one of the Pirelli World Challenge young stars, and I’m excited to work with him at such a crucial stage in his career. I’m prepared to give him all of my knowledge of the Continental GT3, and I’m looking forward to having him nipping at my heels – having a hungry and energetic 21-year old in the team can certainly keep you on your toes.”
Soulet also comes from an extensive open-wheel racing background, having competed in various series like the French F4 Championship, Formula BMW USA and Formula Renault Belgium, which he was crowned champion in 2004. In 2011, Soulet won his first sports car titles in the Belcar Endurance and GT3 Championship, and since he has been a strong competitor in multiple series – including Blancpain GT.
“At Bentley Motorsport, we are more focused on quality than quantity,” Soulet said. “We would rather work closely with a few very high-quality teams than have hundreds of cars run by customer teams that we don’t have that tight relationship with. Bentley has given me the opportunity to show what I can do on a global stage – I’ve raced with them in Europe, Asia and Australia – and now they have enabled me to race with a leading team over in America. Having a network of top-quality global teams, including K-PAX Racing, means that we can challenge for race and championship wins for ourselves, our customer teams and for the Bentley brand.”
K-PAX Racing’s No. 6 Bentley Continental remains available for the 2018 PWC season. For inquiries, contact Darren Law at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We are still working to bring a third Bentley Continental GT3 to PWC this season,” Law said. “We have just taken delivery of the car and are getting it prepared at the shop now. We have yet to fill that seat, but our goal is to have a customer program with this car for either the whole season or we can separate-out the Sprint and SprintX events.”
About K-PAX Racing
Based in Sonoma, Calif., K-PAX Racing has celebrated a total 107 podiums, 43 wins, four Driver Championships and three Manufacturer Championships, solidifying the team as a continuous championship contender. In the GT Class K-PAX has fielded Porsche 911 GT3s during the 2007 – 2008 seasons, Volvo S60s during the 2009 – 2013 seasons, McLaren 12C GT3s in 2014 and McLaren 650S GT3s from 2015 – 2017.
About Bentley Motorsport
Bentley Motorsport is based at the Bentley Motors headquarters in Crewe. From there, the operation runs Bentley Team M-Sport, and oversees customer racing operations around the world.
The Continental GT3 is built by the Bentley motorsport team in conjunction with M-Sport. The Bentley Motorsport team is led by Bentley Director of Motorsport, Brian Gush supported by M-Sport’s Chief Engineer, Christian Loriaux.
Bentley Motors’ headquarters in Crewe is home to all of its operations including design, R&D, engineering and production of the company’s four model lines, Continental, Bentayga, Flying Spur and Mulsanne. The combination of fine craftsmanship, using skills that have been handed down through generations, alongside engineering expertise and cutting-edge technology is unique to UK luxury car brands.