New Continental GT3 makes home debut at Silverstone
Bentley’s second-generation Continental GT3 makes its home debut this weekend when the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup visits Silverstone for the championship’s second three-hour race of the season (May 19/20).
Following the car’s encouraging debut at Monza in April, Bentley Team M-Sport’s two new Continental GT3s will be given their first competitive outing on home soil in the hands of Guy Smith (GB), Steven Kane (GB) and Jules Gounon (FR), and Andy Soucek (ES), Maxime Soulet (BE) and Vincent Abril (MC).
Silverstone will also witness Smith’s final outing with Bentley Team M-Sport after their long-standing factory driver, who also won the Le Mans 24 Hours with Bentley in 2003, yesterday announced that he would be stepping back from his current role.
Meanwhile, Bentley Team M-Sport’s six drivers and two cars are joined at Silverstone by Team Parker Racing’s first-generation Continental GT3, which – in the hands of Derek Pierce, Rob Smith and Seb Morris – once again proved its customer credentials at Monza by claiming a podium finish in the Pro/Am class.
Silverstone’s high-speed layout features long straights and fast, sweeping corners, a combination that has traditionally suited the first-generation car, which won on its Blancpain GT Series debut there in 2014 courtesy of Smith and Kane.
It was still winning at Silverstone four years later, albeit with Team Parker Racing and Morris whose victory in British GT’s blue riband three-hour event proved vital to claiming the 2017 Drivers’ title.
Bentley’s Director of Motorsport, Brian Gush, comments: “Silverstone is an important race in the Continental GT3’s development cycle. We learnt a lot in Italy and have spent the time since then applying those lessons to the new car as we continue building towards our customer roll-out at the end of this season. Equally, we’re really looking forward to racing in front of our home crowd this weekend.
“I’m sure emotions will be running high on Sunday when Guy [Smith] climbs out of the car for the final time as a Bentley Team M-Sport driver. He has played an integral role in all of Bentley’s modern motorsport programmes: from winning Le Mans with the Speed 8 to claiming the first-generation Continental GT3’s maiden victory and most recently developing its successor, Guy has been there with us every step of the way.”
The Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup round at Silverstone begins with a Bronze driver test on Friday afternoon ahead of Saturday’s practice and pre-qualifying sessions. Qualifying and the three-hour race both take place on Sunday. Follow all sessions live on the championship’s website and Facebook page, as well as SRO’s GT World Youtube channel, Eurosport across Europe and Motor Trend on Demand in North America.
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