2018 Bentley Continental GT3
Bentley’s already successful race car gets new-generation upgradesby Ciprian Florea, on
Bentley has just introduced the third-generation Continental GT, which rides on a new platform (shared with the Porsche Panamera), uses a new W-12 engine, and employs design cues from the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept car. Just like its predecessor, the new Conti GT is set to gain a range of versions, including a V-8-powered and higher performance Speed and Supersports variants. But while these are still under development, the new Continental GT has already made its public debut in motorsport clothes. Meet the second-generation Continental GT3, developed to replace the first-gen race car after four successful years on the race track.
Slated to hit the motorsport scene for the 2018 season, the new Continental GT3 uses the aluminum structure of the road car and most of its design cues. But much like its predecessor, its lighter, tipping the scales at "significantly less" than 2,866 pounds, and features a more aerodynamic body. The new Conti GT3 has big shoes to fill — the first-gen car scored 120 podiums and 45 wins across 528 races — and will attempt to do so starting with the opening round of the 2018 Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup at Monza in April. Meanwhile, let’s have a closer look at what it brings to the table.
Continue reading to learn more about the Bentley Continental GT3.
2018 Bentley Continental GT3
Horsepower @ RPM:550
What makes the Bentley Continental GT3 special
- Based on production model
- Aggressive bumper with race-spec aero
- Vented engine hood
- Wider fender flares
- Side sill extensions
- Massive rear wing
- Race-spec diffuser
- Lighter than street model
- FIA-aprroved seats and roll-cage
- Twin-turbo V-8 engine
- 550 horsepower
The new GT3 benefits from the coupe's redesigned body lines
Obviously based on the third-generation Continental GT, the new GT3 benefits from the coupe’s redesigned body lines. Sportier, decidedly more modern, the new Conti GT is a more production friendly version of the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept car and its new styling cues work well with the aerodynamic package of the race car. Up front, the GT3 looks like a Conti GT on steroids. However, the beefed-up elements retain the basic form of the production parts. The bumper for instance, has the same three-piece layout with the wide, trapezoidal vent in the middle. Granted, it’s far more aggressive than the stock bumper, but it’s nice to see that Bentley made efforts to keep the race car as closely related to the production model as possible.
But while the bumper finds its roots in the production car, there are several race-spec features that set it apart, such as the large splitter, the side-mounted canards, and an additional center element finished in green. Speaking of which, the main grille and the sides of the bumper also sport green accents. What’s more, most of the new aero elements in the bumper are made from exposed carbon-fiber. The wider fenders and the vented hood with quick-release pins rounds off the race-ready front fascia.
Onto the sides, the GT3 is a more significant departure from the standard model
Onto the sides, the GT3 is a more significant departure from the standard model. Not only the fenders are significantly wider, but the side skirts also gained big extensions and extra vents. There’s a big intake in the front fender, as well as additional vents atop the wheels. The standard mirrors have been replaced by thinner, aero-optimized elements. The quarter windows have also been covered and now host the fueling caps.
Around back, the Conti GT3 is a beautiful display. If you’re a fan of GT3-spec racing that is. The upper fascia is the only feature borrowed from the road car, including the new oval taillights. Above, the deck lid has a new hump with a vent toward the rear glass, but the real highlight is the massive wing. The posts are mounted on the rear fenders, while the actual wing sits pretty high above the deck lid, even when compared to other GT3 cars. Below, a massive twin diffuser with big vertical fins replaces the production bumper. Just like the front end, the rear fascia is highlighted by bright green details on the dark gray and black paint.
Under the hood, the massive 6.0-liter W-12 in the road cars has been replaced by a new development of the 4.0-liter V-8
As usual, there are no photos or information about the interior, but it’s safe to assume that the layout is based on the production model, but enhanced by motorsport-specific features. While the dashboard likely retains the production shape, all luxury amenities like leather and aluminum trim are gone. Race-spec features should include an Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel, FIA-approved seats, lightweight door panels from carbon-fiber, and a full roll-cage.
Under the hood, the massive 6.0-liter W-12 in the road cars has been replaced by a new development of the 4.0-liter V-8 in the previous Continental GT3. The unit sports a redesigned dry sump,intake, and exhaust systems. Bentley says that unrestricted power is "in excess of 550 horsepower," but the final output will depending on the weight of the race-prepped vehicle.
The race car has already started a six-month test program ahead of the 2018 season and will complete test sessions in the United Kingdom, France, and Portugal. Upcoming development work also includes full 24-hour endurance race simulations.
Bentley Continental GT3 Racing History
Unveiled at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed, the Continental GT3 had its first race in December the same year, starting in the 12 Hours of Yas Marina. 2014 saw the GT3 race its first season and the British coupe won its first race in May, at the 3 Hours of Silverstone. The year’s second important success came in June, at the 3 Hours of Paul Ricard. The following year saw the Continental GT3 enter various competitions, with several races around the world and notable results at Nogaro, Monza, Oschersleben, Zolder, Paul Ricard, Spa, Zandvoort, and Nurburgring. The GT3 won the 2015 Blancpain Sprint Series championship with drivers Vincent Abril and Maximilian Buhk and came just three points shy of winning 2015 Endurance Series. It 2016, the British coupe entered the Bathurst 12 Hour race and joined even more racing series around the world. It was Bentley’s most successful campaign, capturing the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup.
Starting 2018, the Continental GT3 will go against a wide range of GT3-spec race cars. In the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup, competitors will include the Audi R8 LMS, Ferrari 488 GT3, Lamborghini Huracan GT3, McLaren 650 GT3, Lexus RC F GT3, Mercedes-AMG GT3, and the Porsche 911 GT3 R. The list remains similar on the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, but the Bentley will also encounter the Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 and the Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 on race tracks around Europe.
Read our full review on the 2018 Bentley Continental GT.
Read our full review on the previous generation 2014 Bentley Continental GT3.
Read our full review on the 2012 Bentley Continental GT3 Concept.
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