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PRESS RELEASES 2013

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CONTINENTAL GT3 READY TO RACE IN ABU DHABI

• Gulf 12 Hours in Abu Dhabi features as the car’s first test race

• Team M-Sport Bentley in the starting blocks for exciting race

• First racing action for Bentley since Le Mans win in 2003
 

(Crewe / Abu Dhabi, 11th December 2013) The new Bentley Continental GT3 racecar makes its eagerly-anticipated competition debut this Friday1 in its first test race at the Gulf 12 Hours, held at the famous Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi. Racing as part of a comprehensive development programme ahead of the 2014 Blancpain Endurance Series, the Continental GT3 is nearing readiness for Bentley’s return to mainstream racing for the first time since the celebrated Speed 8 won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2003.

Leading the team of new Bentley Boys is the same renowned sports car driver that won Le Mans for Bentley – British racer Guy Smith. Guy comments: “After four months of hard work and development testing, we definitely feel ready to start focusing on our race performance. Running the car against the competition for the first time is really exciting, and I’m thrilled to be back behind the wheel of a Bentley race car.”

Joining Guy is Northern Irishman Steven Kane, who brings a wealth of recent GT3 experience. Steven has also been involved in the car’s development since its unveil at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July and says “I’ve driven hundreds of laps in the Continental GT3 already and it’s got massive potential. The two most important things in racing are reliability and speed, and our work so far has shown that our Continental has both in abundance.”

Completing the trio of all-British Bentley driving talent is Andy Meyrick. After a successful season competing in the Blancpain Endurance Series and racing the revolutionary DeltaWing in the USA, Andy joins Team M-Sport Bentley for the Gulf 12 Hours. Commenting on the opportunity, Andy says: “I grew up near the Bentley factory in Crewe and still live locally and so I’m extremely passionate about the brand and proud to be one of the newest Bentley Boys. Joining Guy and Steven for the first race is an honour, and as a team I know we can deliver a great result.”

The Continental GT3 programme is being led by Bentley’s Director of Motorsport, Brian Gush. With the 2003 Le Mans win to his credit, Brian knows exactly what is required to deliver a world-beating Bentley endurance racer. In the build-up to the race, Brian comments: “It’s been a very busy year for the team but we’re on schedule and exactly where we wanted to be – at our first test race with a car that has serious pace and strong reliability, as should be the case for any Bentley. Racing with the Continental GT is a dream I’ve had ever since we launched the first generation in 2003 and while our focus in Abu Dhabi is on gaining more data during our testing phase, it feels great to be back in a competitive race environment.”

Bentley’s new racer has been developed in conjunction with motorsport technical partner M-Sport Ltd.  M-Sport have used decades of motorsport experience to help turn the road-going Continental GT into a thoroughbred race car. Commenting on their involvement, M-Sport Team Manager, Matthew Wilson says: “Our work with Bentley on the Continental GT3 programme is our first venture in to track-based racing and our partnership has meant we’ve learnt a great deal from each other to design and develop this new competitor. Our technical team has worked closely with Bentley engineers to create the GT3, and I’m confident that we’ve engineered a car that can take on the competition and ultimately win races.”
 

- ENDS –

For further information about this press release please contact:

Mike Sayer – Product and Motorsport Communications Manager
Mike.Sayer@bentley.co.uk +44 (0) 1270 535 133

Andrea Baker – Head of Media Communications
Andrea.Baker@bentley.co.uk + 44 (0) 1270 536 430

For further information on Bentley please go to www.bentleymedia.com

Twitter – @BentleyComms
You Tube – www.youtube.com/bentleymotors
 

Notes to editors

  1. The Continental GT3 competes in the Gulf 12 Hours of Abu Dhabi on Friday 13th December, with the first six-hour race beginning at 05:30 GMT and the second starting at 13:45 GMT. Live updates and photos from the races will be posted from the track to the Bentley Communications Twitter feed, @BentleyComms.
  1. The Continental GT3 has been designed and built by the Bentley Motorsport team in conjunction with M-Sport. The Bentley GT3 design team is led by Bentley Motorsport Chief Designer Graham Humphrys and M-Sport’s Chief Engineer, Christian Loriaux. M-Sport was originally formed in 1979, and in 1994 M-Sport won national rally titles in Italy, Portugal, the Middle East and Britain, the latter with founder Malcolm Wilson himself behind the wheel. Since 1996, M-Sport has run Ford’s WRC campaigns, including winning two FIA World Rally Championships in 2006 and 2007.
  1. The Continental GT3 project is proud to be working with ExxonMobil, who have joined the team as a key sponsor. Using ExxonMobil’s proven success in motorsports and a track record of helping bring home championships, Bentley’s V8 race engine will be filled with Mobil 1™ synthetic motor oil, to ensure maximum engine protection and performance in the gruelling environment of endurance racing. www.exxonmobil.com
  1. In 2002, Bentley launched the Continental GT, then the most powerful Bentley ever built. Breitling lent the revolutionary new luxury car an extra personal touch, by participating in the design of the technical instruments and, importantly, creating the onboard clock. Following a successful collaboration during Bentley’s renowned Le Mans campaign from 2001 to 2003, Breitling has returned as a key sponsor of the Continental GT3 project. www.breitling.com
  1. Bentley Motors employs around 4,000 people in Crewe which is home to all its operations including design, R&D, engineering and production. The combination of fine craftsmanship, using skills that have been handed down through generations, alongside engineering expertise and cutting-edge technology is unique to UK luxury vehicle manufacturers such as Bentley. It is also an example of high-value British manufacturing at its best. Bentley exports over £1bn worth of goods in 2012.  The company is the third largest R&D investor in the UK's automotive sector and the 18th largest nationally.
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