Bentley’s new Conti GT3 racer
Oh yes, Bentley returns to motorsport: meet the Continental GT3 concept car
It might only be dubbed a concept, but don't be fooled by the moniker: as you're reading this, a "dedicated motorsport team" is currently hard at work developing the Bentley Continental GT3 racer you're coveting above.
That's right, Bentley's going racing again. Seems a perfect fit, somehow, doesn't it?
Naturally, those of a tender age might struggle to recall the company's long history in racing, not least since Audi began mopping up at Le Mans. But there, Bentley has form: it won most recently in 2003, for the sixth time. And of course, any discussion including the words ‘Bentley' and ‘motorsport' instantly brings to mind the valiant efforts of the post-WWI ‘Bentley Boys' and their Speed Sixes, Birkin Blowers and works racing 3 and 4 ½-litre monsters with superchargers from Amherst Villiers. Spiffing times of yore that cemented the ‘Great' into Britain.
OK, so Bentley might not be that British anymore, but whatever: this concept GT3 Continental is being developed at Bentley's HQ in Crewe, and sits on the Continental GT Speed's chassis - the fastest road-going Bentley in history.
It gets a rear-wheel-drive chassis in accordance with racing regulations, motorsport hardware and a "comprehensive aerodynamic package". It's even been given a kiss on both cheeks by the FIA, and as such, will begin its racing career at the end of 2013, capable of - says Bentley - "a range of race series and events, up to and including 24-hour marathons". Le Mans competitors, are you listening?
Helming the return is none other than Brian Gush, Bentley's head of chassis, powertrain and motorsport, and the chap who oversaw the 2003 one-two Bentley victory in the Speed 8 prototypes.
Bentley chief Wolfgang Schreiber said: "The clear message from our customers is that Bentley belongs on the racetrack. The Continental GT3 is set to show the world what the Continental GT is capable of in its most extreme form, and establishes a solid foundation for Bentley's long-term motorsport plans."