Bentley is planning to field a factory team at the Nurburgring 24 Hours next year. The British automaker will tackle the famed endurance event using its Continental GT3 race car. The announcement comes ahead of the 2014 race this weekend.
Bentley revealed that it is also considering other endurance races in 2015, but the automaker declined to get too deep in the detail. The Brits did, however, confirm that the Bentley Continental GT3 will take part in the Blancplain Endurance Series in 2015, most likely with a two-car lineup. What’s more, Bentley Motorsport will extend the Continental GT3 program to include several customer teams.
In the meantime, the Continental GT3 will face its first official 24-hour test in the upcoming 24 Hours of Spa on July 27th. The race will take place at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium and is the fourth event of the 2014 Blancplain Endurance Series.
Click past the jump to read more about Bentley Continental GT3.
Bentley Continental GT3’s 2014 Racing Season
The brand-new Bentley Continental GT3 made its Blancpain Endurance Series debut in April 2014 and needed just two races to score its first win. The Continental GT -based race car took the checkered flag in first position at the 3 Hours of Silverstone, an event that also marked to company’s return to racing in the United Kingdom after 84 years. This, and the fact that the GT3 proved to be fast and reliable, are the reasons behind Bentley’s decision to take the GT3 to the Nurubrgring 24 Hours in 2015.
Raced under the M-Sport Bentley flag, the Continental GT3 currently competes in the Pro Cup tier of the Blancpain Endurance Series. Competition includes vehicles like the Audi R8 LMS Ultra , the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 , the Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 , the Lamborghini Gallardo FL2, and the McLaren MP4-12C GT3 . Needless to say, when you outpace sports cars like the McLaren MP4-12C or the Lamborghini Gallardo , you’re entitled to hope for a successful appearance at the ’Ring.
Why It Matters
It’s been 11 years since Bentley’s last efforts on the endurance racing scene and its return can’t come soon enough. Sure, the Nurburgring 24 Hours doesn’t have the glamor of the 24 Hours of Le Mans , where Bentley triumphed in 2003, but maybe the company’s new endurance program will expand in the future. And that’s definitely something to get excited about.
Visually, the GT3 is a beefed-up, angry Continental GT. The race car features a number of body modifications compared to the road-legal car, including a host of carbon-fiber parts and improved aerodynamics. Inside, the GT3 is no longer the luxurious Continental we’re all familiar with it, as Bentley ditched the leather and the wood for weight-saving purposes.
Under the hood, the Continental GT3 racer hides a twin-turbo, 4.0-liter, V-8 engine that delivers 600 horsepower. The race-tuned mill sends its power to the rear wheels via an Xtrac six-speed sequential transaxle gearbox with racing clutch. The coupe rides on a double wishbone suspension front and rear, four-way adjustable racing dampers, and 18-inch OZ wheels.
Gallery Bentley Continental GT3 Race Car
On the eve of the 2014 ADAC Zurich 24h Race at the Nürburgring in the Eifel Mountains in Western Germany, Bentley announces its aim to compete in the 2015 endurance marathon.
The speed and reliability of the new Continental GT3 racer, based on the renowned Continental GT road car, were proven with a determined win at the Silverstone round of the Blancpain Endurance Series last month in only the car’s second competitive race. Now, Bentley’s Motorsport Division is already looking to next year, with the world-famous Nürburgring 24h race set to be part of the team’s 2015 calendar alongside another full season of the Blancpain Endurance Series. Other races are also under consideration as part of an extended Bentley motorsport programme that will also be open for customer teams.
Bentley’s Member of the Board for Engineering, Rolf Frech, comments: “We’ve been looking to compete at the Nürburgring ever since we announced our return to racing in 2012, but we knew that we had to develop and prove the capabilities of our Continental GT3 first. The 24-hour race at the Nürburgring is one of the toughest, at the pinnacle of sports car racing, but with our season of learning in 2014 and with the Continental GT3 already being a race-winner, we feel confident in targeting the event for 2015. Personally, I can’t wait to take on the best of the competition at the most gruelling racetrack in the world.”
Further details on Bentley’s 2015 race programme will be revealed in due course.