Any doubt that Bentley is committed to recapturing its place among the great GT racing marques was put to rest yesterday with the debut of the Continental GT3 race car at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Slated to run a full schedule in the FIA Blancpain Series next year, Bentley will spend the remainder of this year running the car in developmental races.
The GT3 is built off the Continental GT platform, but radically modified for sporting purposes. After losing 1000 kilograms of weight and having its 4.0 liter, twin-turbo V8 tuned to deliver up to 600 bhp, Bentley designers also added a comprehensive aero package to reduce drag and increase downforce. Substantial changes were also made to the suspension system and other stress components use advanced materials like carbon fiber.
While the leather and wood trim have been removed, the GT3 is still a handcrafted automobile, with the steering wheel, door handles, racing seat and other components hand-trimmed by Bentley’s craftspeople in Crewe.
Those who wish to get a first look at the GT3 in action can do so at Goodwood’s Hillclimb today and tomorrow. It will be driven by Guy Smith, who won the 2003 running of Le Mans behind the wheel of a Bentley Speed 8.