Bentley announced the Continental GT3 R a couple of weeks back, and thanks to the wonders of Goodwood's Festival of Speed, and all the one upmanship amongst the car manufacturers, we've now had a chance to sit in it.
Piers Ward29 June 2014
More on the Bentley Conti GT3 R
Just 300 will be built and it'll weigh in at around £240,000
To refresh your memories, it's meant to be a Bentley that's just as happy on a race track as blasting across the continent, a lightened machine that fills the gap between the more-luxe-but-rapid Conti GT Speed and the full-on race-spec Conti GT3 weapon.
As such, Bentley has taken 100kg out of the GT3 R, and if you're concerned that stripping 100kg out of the Conti's weight will spoil the ‘Bentley-ness' of it, don't be. This is a still a 7-star hotel on wheels - no fabric strap doorhandles here. There are acres of leather and Alcantara inside, but this has now been mixed with a healthy dose of carbon fibre. You notice the doors most, as they're liberally covered in the lightweight material. But sitting in it doesn't feel like a lightweight experience - there's still a hewn-from-granite feel. The all-new titanium exhaust might pop and crackle with the best of them, but inside all is calm.
The rear seats have also been removed but unlike on the last-gen Supersports, there's no strut brace in their place. Bentley has managed to include all that extra strengthening within the chassis now. As such, the GT3 R has a lovingly sculpted luggage area, swathed in carbon fibre and leather, with green highlights running around it. Not only is the area far more useful than it was on the Supersports, but it also feels like a more finished solution.
Much like the rest of the car. As you'd hope for, given the price tag. There's no official word on costs, but Bentley is talking about £240,000, a rough £100,000 increase on the V8 S.
Don't think that the 300-edition run of the GT3 R rules out the return of the Supersports though. Along with the upcoming SUV, there are plenty of new Bentleys due. While the British manufacturer is viewing the GT3 R as very much a single-run thing, and a chance to get customers more involved with the GT3 race program, it also wants to increase the size of the Conti ‘family'. And that means more gap-filling, so a Supersports is probably on the cards.
Which is good news, because at the rate Bentley is selling the GT3 R (50 per cent have already gone), it's going to be sold out soon.
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