Bentley recently took the covers off its new Continental GT-based race car, which has been designed for GT3 competition and will be competing initially in the FIA-sanctioned Blancpain Endurance Series. Its first race is scheduled for the 2013 Gulf 12 Hours, at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi on December 13, which will mark Bentley’s official return to motorsport after the company last sought the checkered flag at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2003.

Representing Bentley in its motorsport comeback will be a trio of British drivers: Guy Smith, Steven Kane and Andy Meyrick.

Smith helped pilot the Bentley Speed 8 in the 2003 Le Mans race and has since raced for Audi and Dyson Racing. Kane is a former Porsche Carrera Cup, British Touring Car, ALMS and GRAND-AM driver, making him a very adaptable racer and perfectly suited to the new Bentley race car. Finally, Meyrick, who grew up not far from the Bentley factory in Crewe, has been involved in prototype racing including at Le Mans. He has also raced the DeltaWing in ALMS.

Final preparations for the Continental GT3’s first race appearance are now under way following the completion of initial development work with an endurance test. Fielding the car will be the factory-backed team Team M-Sport Bentley. M-Sport is a British motorsport firm with a successful history in the world of rallying, including two Manufacturers’ titles in the World Rally Championship.

The Continental GT3 race car is based on the lighter and more agile Bentley Continental GT V8 model. Modifications are extensive, however. Starting with the engine, power is increased to 600 horsepower. Drive is then transmitted to the rear wheels via a new carbon fiber driveshaft and an Xtrac six-speed sequential gearbox with a limited slip differential. The suspension is all-new, as is much of the body, which now consists mostly of lightweight carbon fiber.


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