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PWC News Notebook

K-PAX completes Bentley rollout

K-PAX Racing pre-season preparations continue

2016 PWC title-winner K-PAX Racing, which has switched to Bentley for this season, has completed the first rollout with one of its new Continental GT3s, and signed two factory drivers for the upcoming campaign (below).

The Californian team has added Bentley Motorsport factory drivers Andy Soucek and Maxime Soulet for the 2018 SprintX GT Championship Series. Soucek will join 2016 PWC Series Champion Álvaro Parente in the #9 Bentley Continental GT3, while Soulet will accompany Rodrigo Baptista in the #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 programme 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.”

In addition to adding Soulet and Soucek to its driver roster, Law says the team is working hard to get a third Continental GT3 confirmed for the season.

“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”

Blackdog names driver crew

Blackdog Speed Shop has unveiled its driver lineup for the first season of GTS SprintX racing in Pirelli World Challenge. Championship-winning drivers Andy Pilgrim and Michael Cooper will join full-season Sprint competitors Lawson Aschenbach and Tony Gaples for the five endurance rounds in 2018.

Aschenbach and Pilgrim will team together in the #1 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R, while Cooper returns to the team with Gaples in the #11 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevy Camaro GT4.R.

The SprintX format is new for the GTS category in 2018 and features two, one-hour races per event weekend with a mandatory driver change for entries with two drivers. Blackdog Speed Shop is the defending GTS Champion having swept the Manufacturer, Driver and Team titles in 2017.

“It’s a real pleasure to be part of the Blackdog Speed Shop program in SprintX this year,” Pilgrim said. “I was considering a couple of racing options for this year when I received the call about GTSX. The opportunity to be part of the Blackdog team and drive the Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R was too good to pass up! It’s going to be a pleasure partnering up again with Lawson; it’s been 11 years since we drove together for Team Cadillac.

“I certainly couldn’t have a better or more experienced teammate in the GTS category. There will be a lot of great competition and new SprintX rules for all of us, but I know this team has the history and knowledge to put us right in the mix.”

R.Ferri will return

R.Ferri Motorsport has officially announced that it will enter the the 2018 Pirelli World Challenge Series season with its Ferrari 488 GT3.

Accomplished sports car driver and Ferrari veteran Toni Vilander, a two-time 24 Hours of LeMans class champion, will pilot the Remo Ferri-run entry in the series. 2018 will mark the fourth season in the sprint category for the team.

“We are excited to be back again this year in the Pirelli World Challenge with a driver that has had a lot of success with the Ferrari. With the support from the factory coupled with the experience we gained from previous years, I feel confident that we can be a very strong team and compete for the championship,” said Ferri.

Ferri also revealed that Vilander’s teammate for the SprintX rounds will be announced in due course.

Herta to field Hyundai TCRs in PWC TC

Hyundai’s brand new i30 N TCR will compete in the 2018 Pirelli World Challenge season, Bryan Herta Autosport announcing a programme with a pair of the new i30s earlier this month at the Chicago Auto Show.

This adds to the growing entry for the debut season of TCR class in Pirelli World Challenge.

Veteran Pirelli World Challenge drivers Mark Wilkins of Toronto, Canada, and Michael Lewis of Laguna Beach, California will drive the new Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai i30 N TCR machines in the 12-race PWC TCR division in 2018.

“Hyundai is thrilled about the prospects for our new N branded racing team competing in the Touring Car Racing class of Pirelli World Challenge,” said Dean Evans, chief marketing officer, Hyundai Motor America. “Our new partnership with world-renowned Bryan Herta Autosport and their phenomenal drivers coupled with the proven capabilities of our Hyundai i30 N racers puts us in a great position for success in the 2018 TCR season.”

“We couldn’t be more excited about our new relationship with Hyundai N in this highly competitive manufacturer-based Pirelli World Challenge TCR class,” said Bryan Herta, president and CEO, Bryan Herta Autosport. “Having witnessed the untapped potential of i30 N TCR race platform for this series, we’re more than confident we can leverage the strength of Hyundai’s racing and performance groups to great success in the 2018 season.”

Gottsacker signs with Racer’s Edge

18-year-old American Harry Gottsacker has signed to race in 2018 with PWC race-winning team Racer’s Edge Motorsports. The Racer’s Edge contingent has won seven GTS races in the past two years in the potent SIN R1 GT4 car (pictured below).

“Settling down and focusing on one series will be important to me,” said Gottsacker. “I have been bouncing around with world karting races, Global Rallycross and then the British GT series. I came back into PWC late last year and I ran well. I just graduated from high school and will take some college classes in between my racing campaign. With this new programme, I believe I can concentrate solely on working with a top-notch professional organization and a fast race car.

“The SIN R1 is a very aggressive race car and it should continue to do well against all the different makes in GTS, he said. “You have the Camaro, Mustang, Porsche, Panoz, Mercedes, Ginetta, Maserati, BMW, KTM, Audi and Aston Martin. That is a lot of competition and the GTS class has a lot of talented drivers like Lawson (Aschenbach), Ian James, Jade Buford and others. I expect some great wheel-to-wheel action in 2018.”

Featured image courtesy of Bentley Motorsport