Our tame racing driver helps kicks off Evans's CarFest motor show...
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The Bentley Boys are back in town
We already know that with the right amount of determination, a handy driver and a not-so-handy navigator, a Bentley Continental GT Speed can tackle a WRC stage. But now one’s about to hit the track, and in a very serious way.
At this weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, Bentley took the opportunity to unveil their new race car. Created in collaboration with rally guru Malcolm Wilson’s M Sport, it’s called the Bentley Continental GT3 and due to being based on a big, luxury car that normally has fat businessmen or footballers in it, is visually quite hard to get your head around.
Unlike our rally car which was standard except for some proper seats that had been bolted into it, the endurance racer has had a major overhaul. Literally a tonne of luxury has been thrown out and put in the bin to bring the dry-weight of the car down to below 1300kg. It’s also got lots of power. The race car uses the same 4.0-litre, twin-turbo V8 that’s in the standard GT, but it’s got a dry sump and power that’s now up to 600bhp and managed by a Cosworth ECU. And look at that wing and aero package! Unlike some of those dodgy Conti tuners, these spoilers will actually make the car stick to the floor like a Haribo that’s been left out in the sun.
But don’t expect a wafting ride that you get in the road car. The air suspension has been replaced with a double-wishbone set up with four-way adjustable dampers so you lose your fillings but post fast lap times.
And you could be one of them as the car goes on sale to customers next year, for somewhere around the £400,000 mark. Other than that it’s set to compete in the Blancpain series against racing GT versions of Ferraris, Astons and McLarens.
Unfortunately there are no plans for it to race at Le Mans, which is a massive shame. But if you’re at Goodwood this weekend, you can see Guy Smith, a man who drove Bentley to their last Le Mans win, take the GT3 up the hill with the car that he won Le Mans in - the awesome Speed 8. So keep your eyes peeled, folks.