Bathurst 12 Hour kicks off Bentley 2018 Racing Season
Bentley Team M-Sport’s 2018 motorsport season and Intercontinental GT Challenge campaign get underway in Australia when two Continental GT3s line up for the Bathurst 12 Hour, from the 2nd to the 4th of February, 2018.
The British team travels to Mount Panorama eager to claim a third consecutive overall podium at one of the world’s toughest long-distance sportscar races, before heading back to Europe for the defence of its Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup teams’ title.
Bentley’s Director of Motorsport, Brian Gush: “We’re pleased to once again begin our racing season at Bathurst, which has become a firm favourite amongst the team and drivers since our first appearance there in 2015. It’s also one of the most challenging races we’ll contest this year, and despite our past success here, we always approach it with caution.
“It’s important to make a good start to 2018, especially given our Intercontinental GT Challenge commitment this year. Another podium would not only represent a great achievement for the team, but would also mark out the Continental GT3 as one of the most successful cars in Bathurst 12 Hour history.”
Five of the six Bentley Boys that contested last year’s race return 12 months on, with Steven Kane (GBR) and Guy Smith (GBR) bidding to seal a third podium in as many appearances alongside new full-season recruit Jules Gounon (FRA) in the #17 Continental GT3. Meanwhile, Bentley’s #8 entry is once again piloted by the familiar trio of Vincent Abril (FRA), Andy Soucek (ESP) and Maxime Soulet (BEL).
The dramatic 23-turn, 6.2 km circuit in New South Wales is considered one of the world’s toughest thanks to its high speeds, narrow mountain section and steep elevation changes. Total commitment is required at all times around a track that reverts to being a public road post-event, while the 1.9 km Conrod Straight – where the Continental GT3 can hit speeds of 170 mph (270 km/h) – is one of the longest to be sanctioned in world motorsport.
This year’s event marks Bentley Team M-Sport’s first full-season assault on the global Intercontinental GT Challenge, which features three further endurance races at the Spa 24 Hours, Suzuka 10 Hours and California 8 Hours of Laguna Seca.