Bentley seeks American dream at Laguna Seca
Bentley Motorsport will travel to California for the second round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge at the iconic Laguna Seca circuit on 30th March, just weeks after its second generation Continental GT3 racing car tasted victory in the Blancpain GT World Challenge America.
The legendary circuit will test the Continental GT3 cars – sporting new liveries for 2019 – to the extremes as the British outfit continues its racing campaign in its Centenary year. In celebration of this landmark, the cars will run the numbers 107 and 108 – replacing 07 and 08 – to mark the luxury brand’s 100th anniversary.
Recent success for Bentley customer teams will spur on the Bentley Boys in California. The K-PAX Racing team’s second generation Continental GT3s earned a pole position, and a first victory of the 2019 season at the Circuit of the Americas earlier this month in the first round of the Blancpain GT World Challenge America.
While Bentley Team M-Sport’s 107 car will be piloted by the same team that raced at in the first round at Bathurst, Australia, with Steven Kane (GB), Jordan Pepper (ZA) and Jules Gounon (FR) sharing duties, the #108 will see two drivers try their hand in the Continental GT3 for the first time.
Making his Bentley debut will be Lucas Ordóñez (ES). As winner of the inaugural GT Academy – a competition that tests the world’s best PlayStation Gran Turismo players - in 2008, Ordóñez is seen by many as a trailblazer for e-sports.
Ordóñez will be joined by fellow newcomer Markus Palttala (FI) and long-time Bentley Boy Maxime Soulet (BE) in the 108 car. Ordóñez and Palttala will be looking to adjust quickly to their new surroundings and gain vital acclimatisation time in preparation for the 24 hours of Spa in late July, where they will compete as part of an expanded four car line-up.
Ordóñez said: “Racing for a legendary brand such as Bentley is undoubtedly a privilege, even more so in its Centenary year. Making my debut at Laguna Seca, a circuit that is steeped in so much history, will just make this experience even more exciting, and I am looking forward to working with the fantastic Bentley team and my fellow drivers to try to deliver the best result.”
Following a year of extensive development in 2018, the Bentley Boys will be looking to build on the results achieved at the same circuit last year, where they secured sixth and twelfth place finishes.
Bentley’s Director of Motorsport, Brian Gush, commented: “Last year’s campaign was largely developmental, but now it is time to really step up our game. Success is an expectation rather than hope, so we want to be fighting for wins at every round.
“I am confident that both Lucas and Markus will settle into the challenge ahead. Giving each of our drivers solid race time behind the wheel is essential, and Laguna Seca is an ideal venue to start that process. At the same time, we’re looking forward to engaging with our US Bentley fanbase and showing them up-close the performance that this latest generation GT3 is already becoming known for.”
Built around a dry lake bed, the 2.2-mile Laguna Seca circuit provides a unique challenge, featuring eleven turns draped across the Californian coastline. Famous for its extreme elevation changes, it presents the drivers and vehicles with the challenge of one of the toughest corners in motorsport: the notorious ‘corkscrew’ chicane dips and turns at a severe gradient of up to 16%, testing car control to the limit and giving drivers little margin for error.
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