Inside K-PAX: McLaren trio of GT drivers on the rise (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Parente and Thompson with four-time defending champion Johnny O'Connell. Photo: K-PAX Racing
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As the Pirelli World Challenge resumes from its July summer hiatus and heads to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for next week’s doubleheader, the trio of K-PAX Racing drivers are keen to recapture their form from earlier this season at a track that should suit the McLaren 650S GT3s fairly well.

K-PAX maintains the technical work and support partnership from Flying Lizard Motorsports, one of sports car racing’s most well-known teams, led by program manager Darren Law.

Alvaro Parente, McLaren GT factory ace, has enjoyed a strong start to his season while young chargers Austin Cindric and Colin Thompson have rounded out up K-PAX’s new lineup this year. Parente’s starred while the younger pair has had somewhat roller coaster campaigns in their first year in World Challenge’s marquee GT class.

Parente, the 31-year-old Portuguese driver, has been on McLaren GT’s factory roster since 2011. In that time, Parente has starred in the Blancpain Endurance Series, FIA GT1 World Championship and International GT Open (2015 series champion), among other solid GT ranks.

In 13 races this year, Parente leads the points standings heading to Mid-Ohio. He has four wins (Long Beach, Barber 1 and both Lime Rock races) and has finished in the top-eight in all but one race. He leads Patrick Long, 1143 to 1095, in the standings.

A quick video on Parente is below via K-PAX Racing, as are a few photos.

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Parente after Lime Rock double. Photo: Bob Chapman/Autosport Image
Parente ready for battle. Photo: Bob Chapman/Autosport Images
Parente ready for battle. Photo: Bob Chapman/Autosport Image

Cindric, 17, is based in North Carolina and has already made a career out of versatility in the last few years. He heads to Mid-Ohio this weekend set to commemorate the two-year anniversary of when he made his series debut, then in a GTS class Ford Mustang Boss 302.

Cindric’s already run races in NASCAR (Camping World Truck Series), ARCA, open-wheel (USF2000), sports cars (Mercedes at the Bathurst 12 Hour, Ford in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge) GRC Lites and World Rallycross, before making his McLaren GT effort with the K-PAX team his primary focus in 2016.

In his 13 starts this year, Cindric has a best finish of fifth (St. Petersburg 1) and five top-10 finishes; he’s currently 13th in points. But he’s also busy juggling his studies with his racing commitments.

Here’s his video and photos.

Cindric preps his helmet. Photo: Bob Chapman/Autosport Image
Cindric preps his helmet. Photo: Bob Chapman/Autosport Image
Cindric and Flying Lizard program manager Darren Law. Photo: Bob Chapman/Autosport Image
Cindric and Flying Lizard program manager Darren Law. Photo: Bob Chapman/Autosport Image

Thompson, 22, out of Pennsylvania, stepped up to GT after dominating the 2015 GT Cup class in World Challenge, having won 13 of 18 races. It was his second straight title after winning the 2014 IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup USA title.

Thompson’s year thus far has featured four top-10 results and a best finish of fourth (Circuit of The Americas 2), which places him 17th in points.

Here’s his video and photos.

Thompson with his fellow competitors. Photo: Bob Chapman/Autosport Image
Thompson with his fellow competitors. Photo: Bob Chapman/Autosport Image
Thompson's game face. Photo: Bob Chapman/Autosport Image
Thompson’s game face. Photo: Bob Chapman/Autosport Image

Here’s the full team at large.