Bentley Motorsport Debut at Abu Dhabi
FIRST CONTINENTAL GT3 TEST RACE APPROACHES
The new Bentley Continental GT3 racecar makes its eagerly-anticipated competition debut this Friday in its first test race at the Gulf 12 Hours, held at the famous Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi. Racing as part of a comprehensive development programme ahead of the 2014 Blancpain Endurance Series, the Continental GT3 is nearing readiness for Bentley’s return to mainstream racing for the first time since the celebrated Speed 8 won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2003.
Leading the team of new Bentley Boys is the same renowned sports car driver that won Le Mans for Bentley – British racer Guy Smith. Guy comments: “After four months of hard work and development testing, we definitely feel ready to start focusing on our race performance. Running the car against the competition for the first time is really exciting, and I’m thrilled to be back behind the wheel of a Bentley race car.”
Joining Guy is Northern Irishman Steven Kane, who brings a wealth of recent GT3 experience. Steven has also been involved in the car’s development since its unveil at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July and says “I’ve driven hundreds of laps in the Continental GT3 already and it’s got massive potential. The two most important things in racing are reliability and speed, and our work so far has shown that our Continental has both in abundance.”
Completing the trio of all-British Bentley driving talent is Andy Meyrick. After a successful season competing in the Blancpain Endurance Series and racing the revolutionary DeltaWing in the USA, Andy joins Team M-Sport Bentley for the Gulf 12 Hours. Commenting on the opportunity, Andy says: “I grew up near the Bentley factory in Crewe and still live locally and so I’m extremely passionate about the brand and proud to be one of the newest Bentley Boys. Joining Guy and Steven for the first race is an honour, and as a team I know we can deliver a great result.”
The Continental GT3 programme is being led by Bentley’s Director of Motorsport, Brian Gush. With the 2003 Le Mans win to his credit, Brian knows exactly what is required to deliver a world-beating Bentley endurance racer. In the build-up to the race, Brian comments: “It’s been a very busy year for the team but we’re on schedule and exactly where we wanted to be – at our first test race with a car that has serious pace and strong reliability, as should be the case for any Bentley. Racing with the Continental GT is a dream I’ve had ever since we launched the first generation in 2003 and while our focus in Abu Dhabi is on gaining more data during our testing phase, it feels great to be back in a competitive race environment.”
Bentley’s new racer has been developed in conjunction with motorsport technical partner M-Sport Ltd. M-Sport have used decades of motorsport experience to help turn the road-going Continental GT into a thoroughbred race car. Commenting on their involvement, M-Sport Team Manager, Matthew Wilson says: “Our work with Bentley on the Continental GT3 programme is our first venture into track-based racing and our partnership has meant we’ve learnt a great deal from each other to design and develop this new competitor. Our technical team has worked closely with Bentley engineers to create the GT3, and I’m confident that we’ve engineered a car that can take on the competition and ultimately win races.”
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