Based on Bentley’s fastest-ever road car – the new GT Speed – the FIA-approved concept signals Bentley’s return to the racetrack for the first time since its Le Mans victory (the marque’s sixth outright win in the world-famous endurance race) in 2003. The Continental GT3, we’re told, ‘remains faithful to the company’s founding motorsport philosophy of developing racing cars from their road-going counterparts’.
The Continental GT3 concept aims to take advantage of the ‘prodigious performance, outstanding high-speed stability and renowned durability’ of the new GT Speed, which is on the one hand a refined and luxurious tourer, but prides itself on a hard-edged sporting character lurking close beneath the surface. To tailor the car for race purposes, however, it was necessary to adopt a rear-wheel drive chassis (required by the FIA regulations), along with motorsport hardware and aerodynamics.
“The clear message from our customers is that Bentley belongs on the racetrack,” says Bentley’s Chairman and Chief Executive, Dr Wolfgang Schreiber. “The Continental GT3 is set to show the world what the Continental GT is capable of in its most extreme form, and establishes a solid foundation for Bentley’s long-term motorsport plans.”
Thanks to the full support of the FIA for the new Continental GT3, Bentley plans to return to the track towards the end of 2013. Equipped for endurance as well as speed, the new Bentley racer will be eligible to compete in a range of race series and events, up to and including 24-hour marathons.