PODIUM FINISH FOR BENTLEY AT BATHURST
- Bentley Motorsport takes Bathurst 12 Hour podium
- #17 Continental GT3 of Smith, Kane and Jarvis charges from 22nd to finish third
- #8 Continental endures difficult race to finish 12th
(5 February 2017, Bathurst) Bentley Motorsport has finished in third place in the opening round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, Bathurst 12 Hours, in a race that was packed with dramatic action from the outset. The #17 Continental GT3 piloted by the all-British trio of Guy Smith, Steven Kane and Oliver Jarvis rose from 22nd on the grid to finish on the podium in Bentley’s first race of 2017.
Australia’s largest and highest-profile endurance race began at 05.45 on Sunday morning, and it was the #8 Continental GT3 piloted by Maxime Soulet (BE) that was gaining most attention as it climbed from fifth to third on the opening two laps.
However, as the sun began to rise over New South Wales and the more than 50 cars made their way over the tight and twisty Mount Panorama track, a punctured tyre preceded a brush with Mount Panorama’s unforgiving concrete walls and forced the #8 to pit.
Meanwhile, the #17 Continental GT3 was climbing through the pack, picking off competitors and taking advantage of numerous safety car interventions. After two hours, Guy Smith (GB) had moved the car inside the top ten and, by the time he handed the car to Steven Kane forty-minutes later, the #17 car was sitting in second place.
Steven, Olly and Guy maintained their pace for the remainder of the race and, after 12-hours of racing that saw seven different GT3s lead, including the #17 Bentley, the chequered flag fell with Steven bringing the car home in third place.
The #8 Continental GT3, that had dropped to the back of the pack after the early stop, earned a hard-fought comeback and Soulet, Andy Soucek (ES) and Vince Abril (MO) finished in twelfth place.
“Both teams had to overcome adversity this weekend, and both did with grit and determination,” commented Bentley’s Director of Motorsport, Brian Gush. “The car #17 team did a fantastic job to get on the podium and start our 2017 season on the right foot. We now look forward to the start of the European season and hopefully earning more silverware.”
Bentley Motorsport’s works team races next at the opening round of the Blancpain GT Series, at Misano in Italy in April.
Oliver Jarvis, car #17: “It’s great to get a podium on my debut with Bentley and to do it on a track that is notoriously challenging and unforgiving makes it even more rewarding. We have started the season with a podium and that’s the way we intend to continue.”
Andy Soucek, car #8: “Today didn’t go to plan but we showed good pace and we are in a very strong place as a team. We’ll put the disappointment of this race behind us and focus on the Blancpain GT Series.”
Notes to editors
- Bentley Motorsport is based at the Bentley Motors headquarters in Crewe. From there, the operation runs Bentley Team M-Sport, and oversees three Works-supported teams around the world.
- The Continental GT3 is built by the Bentley motorsport team in conjunction with M-Sport. The Bentley GT3 team is led by Bentley Director of Motorsport, Brian Gush supported by M-Sport’s Chief Engineer, Christian Loriaux.
- Bentley Motors’ headquarters in Crewe is home to all of its operations including design, R&D, engineering and production of the company’s four model lines, Continental, Bentayga, Flying Spur and Mulsanne. 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 car brands