On Wednesday, K-PAX Racing announced that they have signed Brazilian racer Rodrigo Baptista to drive one of the team’s Bentley Continental GT3s full-time in 2018, joining Àlvaro Parente. The press release did not indicate which car that Baptista will drive. As a result, it is unclear whether he will replace Bryan Sellers, or if he would be replacing Mike Hedlund in the dormant third car. Regardless, Baptista will start out the 2018 season in the GTA class.
Pirelli World Challenge’s GTA class will be new territory for the 21-year old. He’s game.
“[The GTA class is] a new challenge for me,” Baptista said in a press release. “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.”
Baptista comes to K-PAX Racing after spending the 2017 season driving a Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR for Flying Lizard Motorsports in the GTS class. There, Baptista finished fourth in points with four victories, including a weekend sweep at Lime Rock Park in May (pictured above).
Flying Lizard Motorsports and K-PAX Racing are technically independent operations. However, the two teams have been partners since late 2014. As a result, K-PAX Racing Program Manager Darren Law is very familiar with what Baptista brings to the team.
“Rodrigo is still young but after working with him all last year, I see a lot of the same qualities [as Parente],” Law stated. “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. K-PAX has a great racing history with several championships and I look forward to adding more with this great driver pairing and our move to the Bentley program.”
K-PAX Racing has officially announced only two drivers for 2018. The team currently intends on fielding three Bentley Continental GT3s next season. The identity of the third full-time driver, plus co-drivers for the Sprint-X races will come at a later date.