Bentley to take Pikes Peak with innovative updates to Continental GT3
Bentley’s Continental GT3 Pikes Peak racer is now in final preparations for the world’s most demanding and famous hill climb competition,on June 27, 2021, having completed three dynamic test sessions and renewable fuel engine development.
The most extreme road-going Bentley ever built, the car represents another strand of Bentley’s ambitious and transformational Beyond100 programme, which will see the brand become the world’s leading sustainable luxury mobility company.
For its assault on Pikes Peak, the car will run on renewable fuel, initiating a research and development programme that aims to offer renewable fuels to Bentley customers in parallel to Bentley’s electrification programme. This two-strand strategy is set to maximise the pace of Bentley’s progress towards outright carbon neutrality, as part of its Beyond100 journey.
The Bentley Continental GT3 Pikes Peak car will also be racing with a unique steering wheel, co-developed with leading gaming hardware developer Fanatec. Designed specifically for the Bentley Continental GT3 Pikes Peak challenge car, the wheel can be used for both real and virtual motor racing: carefully crafted from lightweight carbon-fibre and magnesium alloy, it is equipped with a host of driving functions. The first steering wheel of its kind to have actually raced in a car, the desirable accessory offers gamers a chance to experience first-hand what it must be like to drive one of the world’s most powerful cars.
To read more about the Fanatec Podium steering wheel Bentley GT3 please visit
Continental GT3 Technical Details:
With the start line at 9,300 ft, the course climbs to 14,100 ft - where the air is a third less dense than at sea level. This environment means that the Continental GT3 Pikes Peak features modifications to its aerodynamics package, its chassis and its engine, turning it into the most extreme iteration of a Continental GT – or indeed any Bentley road car – ever.
The engine – based on Bentley’s race-proven version of its 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 road car engine – has been thoroughly reworked to generate more than 750 bhp and 1,000 Nm at sea level for testing – and the engine will run even higher power levels for the race itself. New pistons and conrods are installed to turn additional boost pressure (over 2.2 bar) into power, having to handle an increased dynamic pressure ratio. The carbon fibre intake manifold is thicker and reinforced versus the standard item, for the same reason. Custom, one-off titanium exhaust manifolds have been 3D-printed via laser sintering by Akrapovic, and lead to larger turbos paired with external wastegates, venting into very short exhausts and dedicated screamer pipes that exit behind the front wheels.
The engine runs on 98RON Renewable Racing Fuel. The fuel is a dedicated blend of advanced biofuels specifically designed for motorsport, and is a technological stepping stone to sustainably-created eFuel with a greenhouse gas reduction of up to 85%.
The high performance engine places additional demands on the cooling system, and for Pikes Peak the engineering team have developed a secondary cooling system that’s installed at the back of the car. Air scoops replace the rear windows, and channel air through a secondary radiator that exhausts through ducts in the boot lid. The system runs via a dedicated secondary water pump.
The gearbox is Bentley’s standard racing unit, already designed to handle the torque loads involved, but rear driveshaft diameter has been increased to provide additional durability. The gearbox runs a specially-formulated lubricant created specifically for the car by Mobil1, who have also supplied high-performance oil for the engine.
The chassis has been set up and tuned to suit the specific nature of the Pikes Pikes course. Both front and rear axles run significantly reduced camber to the standard Continental GT3 setup, focusing the car on low-speed cornering performance. The softest springs and anti-roll bars from Bentley’s range have been fitted, to allow more movement in the body and so maximise weight transfer for braking. The brakes themselves are water-cooled, to handle the increased loads that an all-out attack on the course will bring.
The aerodynamic modifications sees a 30% increase in overall downforce at sea level, while maintaining the standard car’s aerodynamic front / rear balance – validated during the first track sessions. The biggest rear wing ever fitted to a Bentley dominates the rear of the car, sitting above a highly efficient rear diffuser that surrounds the transaxle gearbox. To maintain the aerodynamic balance front-to-rear, these devices are paired with a comprehensive front-end aerodynamic package comprising a two-plane front splitter flanked by separate dive planes. The majority of these parts were made with carbon nylon filament using rapid prototype, additive manufacturing techniques at the Bentley factory in Crewe.
The centre of the GT3's Fanatec Podium steering wheel is given over to a circular digital display that offers the driver vital telemetry and information about their performance. Exclusive Bentley design details include signature knurling on the rotary encoders. Other key features include a forged carbon display bezel, two 7-way FunkySwitch directional sticks with encoder functionality, a pair of aluminium thumb wheels with optical encoders, and four magnetic paddles – two for gearshifting and two auxiliaries, based on the design of the Continental GT road car.
An Extraordinary Team for a Triple Crown Attempt
Bentley’s pinnacle Pikes Peak project – its bid for the third and final part of a triple crown - is being run in conjunction with British Continental GT3 customer team Fastr, who have successfully campaigned their Bentley race car in time attack competitions across the UK. Technical teams from Bentley and Fastr have worked together with specialists from M-Sport in Cumbria to extract the maximum possible performance from the Continental GT3 package, which will be run in Colorado by the same team.
To see more of our preparation for the Pikes Peak Hill Climb please follow Bentley Motors on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.