Bentley motorsport gains valuable experience at Nürburgring

Bentley Motorsport experienced the toughest and most challenging 24 hour race in the world 16th-17th May. After a very positive start that saw all three Continental GT3s entered in the race running in the top ten after two hours, the fortunes of the team changed.

Guy Smith of #85 car, drove the opening stint, showing strong pace and an encouraging start. However, as part of a train of cars moving through the field, the Continental GT3 was hit from behind while the pack moved around a slow competitor from a different race class, with the collision spinning Guy in to the barrier.

The car was returned to the Bentley Motorsport garage, and the team of mechanics set to work assessing the damage and starting repairs. Three hours later, the #85 car made a popular return to the track with Steven Kane at the wheel, heading out in to the night to gather valuable Nordschleife experience for the future. From that point on, the Bentley Boys drove double-stints until the finish, at which point they had climbed 72 places to 74th place. 

Guy Smith commented:
“It was really frustrating to be out of the competition so early, especially given how great the car was later in the race. I was having a fantastic stint, I gained ten places and the car felt good, so it was a huge disappointment to get punted off. I was in a train of cars that had to brake for a competitor from one of the slower classes, and the car behind hit me and span me off into the Armco. The team did a phenomenal job making repairs, which meant we could get back on the track and gain some more valuable experience for the future.”

Car #84 ran solidly with consistent pace for the first eight hours of the endurance marathon until changing grip on-track caused experienced Nürburgring driver, Jeroen Bleekemolen, to spin at the famous Bergwerk corner, causing front-end damage to the car.

Former Nürburgring 24-hour victor, Christian Menzel, car #84 said:
“I’m disappointed that we didn’t finish, more for the learning that comes with time in the car than the final result – that’s the secret here, to get the right feeling as a driver. But I’m really proud to be part of this team – I’ve been in a lot of very good teams, but the team spirit at Bentley is special. The spectators see it too – this car and this team is definitely a fan favourite, and that drives us to do better next time.”

Bentley Team HTP scored the best result with the #11 Continental GT3 of Harold Primat, Christoper Brück, Clemens Schmid and Marco Seefried finishing in 8th place.

Bentley’s Member of the Board for Engineering, Rolf Frech, commented:
“We knew this would be an extremely challenging race, and of course we’re disappointed with our result, but we have positives to take away. First, our friends at Bentley Team HTP finished in the top ten, which is a fantastic result for the car’s debut in this race. Guy was incredibly unlucky with his collision, that was no fault of his own, but the mechanics were so impressive and we showed excellent pace afterwards which bodes well for the future. Losing the second car was also very tough, but I’m very glad that we worked so hard to return our #85 car to the track so we can learn more for the future. We’ll continue from here, move forward and be ready for our next race, which is only a few days away at Silverstone.”

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