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DENVER - Englewood based K-PAX Racing will become the first team in the United States to race a McLaren in the Pirelli World Challenge.

K-PAX has won three GT Class championships in the Pirelli World Challenge sports car series and announced on February 17 that it will field a pair of McLaren 12C GT3 cars in its quest to win a fourth championship in 2014.

Driving one of the McLarens will be Alex Figge, 33, of Denver, a veteran sports car and open-wheel racer who has won five Pirelli World Challenge races in the last three seasons. Robert Thorne, 23, of Littleton, will be his teammate: a talented road racer who most recently won a class championship in the 2012 U.S. Touring Car Championship.

The McLaren 12C GT3 made its competitive debut in multiple European race series in 2012, winning 19 times in 98 starts. In 2013, the car accounted for 22 victories in 101 races: a staggering winning percentage of more than 22 percent.

"2014 sees the competitive debut for the 12C GT3 in the USA," Andrew Kirkaldy, McLaren GT's managing director said. "K-PAX Racing has a formidable record in the Pirelli World Challenge and we are excited about the prospect of working closely with them. It's quite simple, McLaren GT wants to win and K-PAX Racing prepares cars that have a proven track record at that. Seems like a perfect combination."

Featuring the lightweight carbon fiber MonoCell chassis with aluminum front and rear subframes, the rear-wheel-drive McLaren 12C GT3 carries a race-prepared 3.8-liter V8 twin turbo McLaren M838T engine mated to a six-speed sequential transmission actuated by steering wheel-mounted paddles.

For the last five seasons, K-PAX Racing has fielded a pair of Volvo S60s and won more GT class races in the Pirelli World Challenge than any other manufacturer. "We beat Porsche, Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Ford and many others," said Jim Haughey, K-PAX Racing's team owner. "We expect to win races this season and maybe even win a championship. Our upcoming trip to Estoril is the first step toward that goal."

Estoril, Portugal, is the site of the legendary road course at which Figge and Thorne will be testing the McLaren 12C GT3 cars later this week. Engineers from McLaren GT will be on site to oversee the testing along with race engineers from K-PAX Racing.

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