Outstanding result in first test race
Reliability combines with strong pace to achieve 4th place
Team pushes the new car to the limit in preparation for 2014
(Abu Dhabi, 13th December 2013) Bentley’s test race debut of the all-new Continental GT3 racecar with Team M-Sport achieved an impressive fourth place finish in the Gulf 12 Hours of Abu Dhabi. After completing the first six hour session of the race in third position, the second half of the race saw the team maintain that position until the final two hours, when a close fight with the Ferrari 458 GT3 of Kessel Racing was ultimately won by the more established car. The closing minutes were not without drama, with apparent damage to the underfloor, meaning a cruise to the finish line to bring the car home.
Bentley’s Director of Motorsport, Brian Gush, comments: “In running an all-new car for the first time, our main goal today was to finish the race and be consistent. We’ve achieved this, and then to finish fourth in a race with such established competition is extremely encouraging. We leave Abu Dhabi with confidence that we will have a reliable and competitive package for 2014, when the hard work really starts.”
With the car running really well throughout the 12 hour event, the team is delighted with the endurance reliability. Equally impressive is the performance of the three new Bentley Boys that each drove four hour-long stints in the desert heat. The trio of British racers in Guy Smith, Steven Kane and Andy Meyrick was delighted with the performance of the car in its first event. Guy Smith, racing a Bentley for the first time since the Le Mans win of 2003, comments: “Today has been amazing. All three of us found that we could really push the car to the limit, and when we realised we were on for a good result it encouraged us to really test its abilities. It’s given us a lot to look forward to in the Blancpain series next year.”
The team will now analyse the huge amount of data collected over the course of the race, and continue to develop the car in preparation for a full season of racing in the 2014 Blancpain Endurance Series, beginning at Monza on 12th April.
- ENDS –
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Notes to editors
The first GT3 car has been built by the Bentley motorsport team in conjunction with M-Sport. The Bentley GT3 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.
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.
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.
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.