In 2002 the Bentley Continental GT concept was released at the Paris Motor Show, which has obviously been a big staple to their lineup ever since. This year, though, once again in Paris, Bentley has released a Continental-based GT3 racecar, being developed by a dedicated motorsport team at the company’s factory in Crewe.
Why does this matter? Because Bentley hasn’t gone racing since its history sixth Le Mans victory in 2003.
Dr Wolfgang Schreiber, Bentley’s Chairman and Chief Executive, comments: “The clear message from our customers is that Bentley belongs on the racetrack, and the Continental GT3 is the realization of a dream we’ve had ever since the launch of the Continental GT. The new GT Speed is the perfect car for us to develop into a racer, and our work so far has shown huge potential. The Continental GT3 is set to show the world what the Continental GT is capable of in its most extreme form, and establishes a solid foundation for Bentley’s long-term motorsport plans.”
While the Continental GT Speed is no doubt a badass, refined, luxury grand tourer, the Continental GT3 concept is way further down the wild end of the spectrum. Ditching the all-wheel drive for a rear-wheel drive chassis in accordance with regulations of GT racing, with the addition of an obligatory aero package and state-of-the-art motorsport hardware.
Even better is the Continental GT3 concept has gotten the full support of the FIA, meaning Bentley will be racing again toward the end of 2013 with a true GT racecar, capable of dominating the field.
Of course the GT3 concept is built for speed, but it is meant to master endurance as well, being eligible for a range of race series and events, including our favorites, the ones that last for 24 hours!