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Bentley has stripped a 600bhp Bentayga for a Pikes Peak record

Rhys Millen will attempt to smash the SUV record on the world’s gnarliest hillclimb

A high-performance four-wheel drive race car is the ideal vehicle for an assault on the infamous Pikes Peak hill climb held annually in Colorado Springs, USA. The Bentley Bentayga is a very high-performance 4x4. But very much not a racing car. The profligate gin palace Bentley is hardly the first machine that comes to mind when attempting a course record, right?

Well, rethink that. This very Bentayga has been prepped to demolish the SUV record for the 12.4-mile uphill struggle. The benchmark currently resides with the Range Rover Sport, so to maximise the Bentayga’s chances, Crewe has drafted in an expert pilot. It’ll be driven by Rhys Millen, two-time Pikes Peak champ. 

To help the expert Kiwi manage to average over 60mph through the 156-corner course, Bentley has thoroughly stripped out its five-star hotel with numberplates. This Bentaya’s given up its rear seats, soundproofing and much trim, and gained a roll cage and automatic fire extinguishers. The driver’s seat is now an FIA-spec racing bucket. The optional carbon dashboard and aero kit also feature.

Around 300kg has been chopped from the Bentayga’s kerbweight, but given the car weighs in at 2,440kg as standard, this one-off ‘Bentayga RS’ is still a lump to outbalance a Mercedes-AMG E63 Estate. Bentley says the car will run on ‘production’ Pirelli tyres, and keeps its anti-roll 48-volt suspension, and retain its factory-standard 6.0-litre bi-turbo W12 engine developing 600bhp and 664lb ft. Oddly, a fruitier exhaust is allowed in the rules for production vehicles, so Bentley’s plumped for a lightweight Akrapovic system. 

Millen, who took the Pikes Peak titles in 2012 and 2015, says “[I’ve had] the chance to drive the race-prepared car for the first time and was blown away by the performance that’s already available.” 

Sounds promising. The Range Rover Sport’s record sits at 12mins 35.61sec, and Bentley’s certainly spied room for improvement with its turbocharged stately home here. Roll on June. Plenty of time to place your bets…

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