Ten things we know about the Bentley GT3
With the launch of its road-going cousin, here's the ultimate lowdown on Bentley's twin-turbo V8 monster racer
Posted: 17 Jun 2014
Walter Owen Bentley was a proper helmsmith.
Acquiring a taste for speed early on in his life, the Bentley founder began racing motorbikes competitively at the Isle of Man, and at the then newly-opened Brooklands circuit, neither of which can be considered idiot-friendly playgrounds.
But - according to Bentley - this racing didn't ‘satisfy his hunger for power'.
And so with his brother, H.M. Bentley, Walter acquired the rights to sell DFP racers in 1912, and on his first run up the Aston-Clinton hill climb (the same hill climb after which Aston Martin is named) broke the class record. With his wife Leonie sitting alongside him.
This is an important facet of W.O. Bentley's psychological make-up, because - along with his nous for engineering (he quickly understood the benefits of aluminium pistons because they afforded him more poweeerrr) - he enjoyed speed.
Bentley also understood that, in the 1920s, it was all about how fast you could take your cars on track. It's why he engineered the famous Bentley 3-litre engine; why he raced at the British Double Twelve in 1922, why he raced (and won) at Le Mans in 1924, and through four straight victories between 1927 and 1930, a point at which Bentley's competitive fame was the talk of the world.
It's when the term ‘Bentley Boys' was coined, marking the period of domination of that group of elite gentleman racers who took the winged ‘B' to the chequered flag, time after time. Point is, racing is in the Bentley DNA, even if the firm might appear to have forgotten that for the last 80 years or so.
But now, after a long absence from the track punctuated only by victory at Le Mans a decade ago, Bentley is back racing with the bombastically styled Continental GT3. After a respectable finish at Monza at its season debut earlier this month, here are ten things we learned about the rather cool racer.