The Top Gear host will race the Continental GT3 at Monza, Spa, and Nurburgring

Although he is mostly famous for his cool car reviews and entertaining videos, Chris Harris is also a racing driver. And a pretty good one if I might add, having driven a wide variety of race cars, including the Porsche 911 Carrera Cup and Aston Martin Vantage GT12, and having scored a fourth place finish at the 24 Hours of Nurburgring in 2010. His last major event, the 2015 24 Hours of Nurburgring, didn’t end well, as Harris had to retire, but the British journalist isn’t giving up and will return to the race track in 2016.

This time around, Harris will drive a Bentley Continental GT3 in the Blancpain Endurance Series Cup. Chris has joined Parker Racing, a team he has previously raced for, and will compete in all five rounds for the 2016 season in the Am Cup class, a division for amateur racers. Harris will team up with Chris Cooper and Derek Pierce against stiff competition from teams using cars like the Audi R8 LMS, Ferrari 458 GT3, and Porsche 911 GT3-R.

The new Top Gear host will pilot one of the four Continental GT3s competing in this year’s Blancpain Endurance Series Cup.

"This is a bit of a pinch yourself moment,” he commented. “If, last year, you’d asked me what my dream 2016 race season would be it would have involved a Bentley Continental GT3, Stuart Parker and my good friend and long-time team mate Chris Cooper. And now it’s happened! The GT3 category is the most interesting, varied form of circuit racing out there and I think that with Chris [Cooper] and Derek Pierce we have a very good team to attack the Am championship. I just need to remember that the big oversteer is for the Top Gear cameras, not the race track."

Harris’ debut race with Bentley takes place on April 24th at the 3 Hours of Monza. The season includes four more races: 3 Hours of Silverstone (May 15), 1000k at Paul Ricard (June 25), 24 Hours of Spa (July 30), and 3 Hours of Nurburgring (September 18).

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

Chris Harris Returns to Racing with Bentley
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To be honest, I don’t care much about Top Gear and some of Harris’ stunts before he joined the show, but if I were to pick between Chris and Jeremy Clarkson, I’d go with the former. Why? Simply because Harris is a racing driver and his experience at the track helps him deliver better reviews of sports cars. I could also mention that his opinions aren’t as biased as the former Top Gear crew, but that’s not so relevant to the majority of the shows audience, which is usually more about entertainment than fair reviews of everyday vehicles. What’s more, Harris often makes videos about the races he competes in as an attempt to share his experience, so it’s safe to assume that we’ll see a bunch of really cool on-track videos throughout the racing season.

And, before you ask, the Blancpain calendar won’t alter his regular schedule with Top Gear, so you don’t need to worry about him missing from the set.

Press Release

British motoring journalist and TV presenter Chris Harris is racing a Bentley Continental GT3 in the Blancpain Endurance Series Cup this season, starting with the opening round at Monza this weekend.

The internationally renowned journalist is joining Bentley Team Parker Racing in its Am class entry, one of four Continental GT3s competing in the five round Series that includes the world-famous Spa 24 Hours.

With its fast straights and tight chicanes, the opening round at Monza will prove challenging for the 57 cars and 171 drivers entered into the three-hour race, but Harris is feeling confident following a test at the North Itailan circuit last month.

“This is a bit of a pinch yourself moment,” he commented. “If, last year, you’d asked me what my dream 2016 race season would be it would have involved a Bentley Continental GT3, Stuart Parker and my good friend and long-time team mate Chris Cooper. And now it’s happened!

“I saw an early car being built two years ago and ever since then I’ve wanted to drive one. That I get to do it with Team Parker, a team I’ve had many successes with in the past, is fantastic news. The GT3 category is the most interesting, varied form of circuit racing out there and I think that with Chris [Cooper] and Derek Pierce we have a very good team to attack the Am championship. I just need to remember that the big oversteer is for the Top Gear cameras, not the race track.”

Alongside Harris’ entry, Bentley Team Parker Racing will also enter the Pro-Am class. Bentley’s works team, Bentley Team M-Sport, will field its pair of cars in the top-level Pro class.

“It’s great to have Chris driving with Bentley this season,” commented Bentley’s Director of Motorsport Brian Gush. “He’s a very experienced and accomplished driver and has impressed the team in his recent test sessions. We have entries in all three of the Blancpain Endurance Series Cup classes, all of which have a good chance of winning.”

Harris’ debut race with Bentley takes place at 1500hrs local time on Sunday 24 April and can be viewed on the championship website: www.blancpain-gt-series.com.

Bentley’s Blancpain Endurance Series Entries:

PRO CLASS

Car #7: Steven Kane (GB), Guy Smith (GB) and Vince Abril (MO)
Car #8: Andy Soucek (ES), Maxime Soulet (BE) and Wolfgang Reip (BE)

PRO/AM CLASS

Car #24: Tom Onslow-Cole (GB), Callum Macloed (GB) and Ian Loggie (GB)

AM CLASS

Car #30: Chris Harris (GB), Chris O’Connor (GB) and Derek Pierce (GB)

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