Bentley finishes 24 Hours of Spa in Top 20
Bentley’s Continental GT3 racer proves its endurance with a strong finish for both Bentley racecars at the Total 24 Hours of Spa.
Starting the race with Car 7 in P6 and Car 8 in P38 respectively, incidents in the first two hours saw the cars having to fight back from P50 and P55. The chequered flag saw the #7 car of Guy Smith, Andy Meyrick and Steven Kane finish P13, while the #8 car of Jérôme D’Ambrosio, Duncan Tappy and Antoine Leclerc crossed the line in P17. More important is the finish in-class of car #7, the drivers of which have scored three championship points in their bid to be Endurance Series drivers’ champions.
The Total 24 Hours of Spa was the first 24-hour endurance race for the all-new Continental GT3 race car. With no mechanical issues during the race, the Continental GT3’s performance and reliability proved itself, as the only problems experienced were caused by impacts with debris from a race that saw an unusually high number of accidents and a high rate of attrition.
The team were also competing with a revised and restrictive Balance of Performance, which robbed the Continental GT3 of some of the prodigious speed on display in the first three rounds of the championship.
Bentley’s Member of the Board for Engineering, Rolf Frech, comments after the race:
“I’m satisfied with our performance here this weekend as it was the first time a Continental GT3 has had to endure such extreme racing. For both cars to finish successfully is a credit to the skill and teamwork on display within Bentley Motorsport. We’ve gathered a lot of data, and know that we have work to do to ultimately be at the level we target – but this is a good first 24-hour result and one that we can build on in the future. The last round of the Blancpain Endurance Series will be at the Nürburgring, and the drivers of car #7 are very much in contention for the drivers’ championship – which would be an amazing achievement in our first year. This is a new team, and the performance of everyone from the drivers, to the race engineers, to the mechanics, has been extremely encouraging. I’m already looking forward to our next 24-hour challenge.”
Bentley Boy Guy Smith reflects:
“Even though this was a very hard race, I’m proud of what we’ve achieved here this weekend. While we’ve done long endurance tests, you can’t recreate a race environment and so this was the sternest test of our GT3 car yet. To have two cars finish well, with no self-inflicted failures, is fantastic. Both our car and car #8 were really unlucky in the opening couple of hours, but we knuckled down overnight and showed the long-distance pace of the Bentley. I think we’ve proved that the Continental GT3 is a worthy Bentley racecar, and we’ll learn from this race and this result to aim even higher next time.”
After the race Jérôme D'Ambrosio comments:
“Coming in to this race I was both excited and nervous. This kind of endurance event is totally new to me, and I’d never raced at night before this weekend. The team, the cars and my fellow drivers have all been great though, and while there’s plenty we can improve we leave Spa knowing we have a proper endurance car. Racing with Bentley in my home country was awesome, and now we look forward to the last race of the season in Germany where hopefully Duncan, Antoine and I can finish on a high.”
The last race of the season is the 1000 km event at the Nürburgring over the weekend of 20th-21st September, where the championships will be decided.
Click here to read more about the Bentley Motorsport programme for 2014.