The last race weekend of the 2017 season arrived with beautiful weather and an awesome track. Sonoma Raceway has continued to improve their facility and track over the years and is a top notch motorsports venue. Not to mention located in the heart of the California wine country!
Qualifying went well, with Mark putting in a solid effort and placing P11. The shifting issues of the past several races had been solved by the McLaren engineers and both Mark and the Tender Belly KPR McLaren were set and ready to race. Round 17 started at 5:15pm in the setting sun. Mark made a good rolling start and soon was engulfed in a heated battle lasting most of the race. In dramatic fashion, Mark made an awesome pass on the #10 of Tony Gaples in the last corner of the last lap to take P10 overall and P2 in GTSA! That put Mark 1 point ahead of Tony in the season championship points in GTSA with one race to go.
Rounds 15 and 16 of the Pirelli World Challenge 2017 season were held at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Hurricane Harvey was making landfall in Corpus Christi and flooding Houston in the days before the scheduled move in day at the track, and things were looking dicey for awhile. Fortunately for the competitors, Harvey spun away from Austin and the rain the city got was easily handled by existing infrastructure. The race was declared “on”!
Mark had experienced shifting difficulties with the car at Utah and McLaren sent one of their top engineers to work the race with the KPR team. Things got sorted, with the steering wheel found to be the culprit of the problems. Mark set out to qualify after 2 good practice sessions but things just did not gel and he qualified P23.
The Tender Belly KPR McLaren was prepped and ready to run strong at the Utah Motorsports Campus. Things were going well throughout the promoter test day and Qualifying. Mark started Round 13 P14 and ran strong, working his way up to P7. He faded a bit towards the end and finished P10. Some glitches with the shifting of the car had begun to surface and McLaren engineer Hansel worked diligently all evening to source the problem.
Rounds 11 and 12 were held at the very popular Mid Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Thursday was a promoter test day, allowing the team to dial in both the car and driver for a successful weekend of racing. Fridays first official practice session saw Mark in P7, a great start! Qualifying was up next, and the Tender Belly McLaren finish P15, not the best effort but in these 50 minute races there is a lot of time to make up ground.
Rounds 9 and 10 of the Pirelli World Challenge Series GTS/GT4 class were contested at the long Road America track in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The track is a good one for the McLaren and Mark made good use of that benefit. Qualifying saw the Tender Belly McLaren positioned in P15, not exactly where we wanted. Round 9 action was a very exciting race for the KPR Tender Belly McLaren. Mark was gridded P15 but a glitch with the car forced him to stop on track, putting him to the back of the GTS field on the start. He began quickly working his way back and had a great run, complete with a spin and recover to move all the way up to a P9 finish! Round 10 started with Mark’s favorite, the standing start. The start was immediately yellow flagged to remove 2 cars stuck on the front straight.
Arriving at Lime Rock Park, the team awaited parts and a fix from McLaren for the ongoing problems with the car. McLaren sent over Anthony Smith with parts from England in time to get the car ready for the weekend. McLaren engineer Xavi Ramon was also on hand to insure a better result. Wet, cold conditions had the teams switching between rain tires and slicks. Mark stayed on slicks and was able to drive a fantastic controlled race from start to finish! A big congratulations to Mark Klenin!! 4th place overall in the Tender Belly KPR McLaren and 1st place in the Amateur class!! Just a fantastic drive in wet/drying/wet conditions in Round 7 at Lime Rock Park.
Round 8 of the Pirelli World Challenge GTS/GT4 Series run at Lime Rock Park on Saturday was full of tight racing action throughout the field. Mark started the race in P4 and once again had a marvelous standing start, moving up to P2 by the first corner. A heated battle ensued, with Mark holding his own while being hit repeatedly by a competitor. An off in turn one dropped the Tender Belly KPR McLaren to P9. Mark was able to work his way back up to P8 at the finish for another strong round of racing. Penalties handed out post race have moved Mark up to P7 on the official results. The team is headed home for repairs and will head out to the next round at Road America, June 24th and 25th. Thanks once again to our sponsors Tender Belly and Premiere Copier as well as Xavi Ramon and Anthony Smith from McLaren. See you at Road America!
Rounds 5 and 6 of the Pirelli World Challenge GTS/GT4 Series were contested at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Bowmanville, Ontario Canada. This track has proven to be a favorite of Mark’s and the Klenin Performance Racing Team was expecting a good result here. The weather was a bit chilly but the rain stayed away during on track sessions. Mark qualified P13 and had a good run going until mechanical issues with the McLaren’s turbo ended his run. Round 6 arrived chilly, windy, and threatening rain. Mark once again started P13 and immediately worked his way up to P8 with the drive of his life! Unfortunately, the McLaren’s turbo issue returned and the day was done. Hopefully McLaren will get a fix going in time for next weekends Lime Rock Park event. Thanks go to Tender Belly and Premiere Copier for their continued support!
Absolutely fantastic race weekend for the KPR Tender Belly McLaren at VIRginia International Raceway! Saturday, Round 3 saw Mark start P13 and finish P9. Starting Sunday’s Round 4 in P11 Mark worked his way up to P6 before having to pit to clear grass from the radiator. Great effort by Mark running fast consistent laps. Thanks to Tender Belly, Premiere Copier, and the McLaren support staff. See you at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park up next May 19-20.
The opening rounds of the 2017 Pirelli World Challenge GT4 Series were held at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in Florida. The weather was sunny, warm and breezy, perfect for a weekend of racing action! The KPR crew debuted the brand new McLaren 570S GT4, recently acquired from McLaren in London, England. The new sponsor Tender Belly is featured prominently on the new livery of the bright orange car, and made their presence known by handing out over 1500 samples of their premium Certified Awesome bacon to the eager crowd surrounding the transporter.
Preliminary test sessions went very well, with Mark and the car performing flawlessly. Qualifying saw a bit of a glitch in the electronics on the fast lap, putting Mark 13th on the grid for Round 1 the following day. McLaren sent over 2 support personnel to handle any teething problems for this first race debut of the car in the PWC series. They quickly sorted most of the issues that arose and the team was set for the first race.
Once again the weather was terrific, the crowd huge, and the overall atmosphere very festive as it always is in St. Petersburg. The field took off and Mark was able to move up through the field and finish in 11th place. A great first effort with the McLaren!
On Friday, February 24th, Klenin Performance Racing unveiled the new McLaren 570S GT4. The new car was put through it’s paces by driver Mark Klenin on the Streets of Willow track at the Willow Springs International Raceway. The bulk of the test was spent on systems familiarization and driver acclimation.
The test went fabulously well! Mark found the car to be quite intuitive to drive. Lap time was not the focus of the test but everyone was surprised at how fast Mark was able to go. The car performed flawlessly in all areas.