Ever since the world debut of the Bentley GT3 Concept Racer at the Paris Auto Salon in September 2012, the race-ready version of the Bentley Continental has been slowly taking shape.
Bentley's GT3 technical partner is M-Sport Limited, which, along with a team of Bentley engineers, has been developing the Continental GT3 in preparation of the British luxury marque's highly anticipated return to the track.
The project leader is Brian Gush, Bentley’s Director of Motorsport, who also led the company to victory at Le Mans in 2003.
“Motorsport is an integral part of Bentley, and the performance and endurance qualities of all of our road cars reflect this racing heritage
,” Gush said.
"Not a single part of the GT3 has escaped our attention, the result is a car that can compete with the field in terms of factors such as power, weight and aerodynamics."
Powered by a race-configured version of Bentley’s 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine, the Continental GT3 gets its power down via a six-speed sequential racing transmission.
Double wishbone suspension, four-way adjustable dampers and race-spec brakes make up the chassis, while more than 1000kg has been shed across the road car by stripping out most of the luxury parts.
Features such as double-glazing, over 50 ECUs and extensive electrical systems have been removed from the race version. Even the Continental doors have been replaced by race versions, weighing just 12 per cent of the originals.
The GT3’s body shell is an almost direct carryover from the Bentley Continental road car, though the doors, bootlid and bonnet are now bespoke carbonfibre pieces.
The rigidity of the body shell itself has been increased by around 100 per cent due to the inclusion of an FIA-approved roll cage system.
The hardcore racer still benefits from Bentley’s luxury craftsmanship, however. The carbonfibre racing seat has been trimmed at the company’s Crewe factory, which has also hand-stitched the racing steering wheel and door pulls.