Exploring the Extreme Potential of the Continental GT.
At the end of 2012, Bentley announced that they would return to motorsports, not with a prototype like the Speed 8, but with a FIA-spec factory model. The new Bentley Continental GT3 is the most extreme version of the powerful grand tourer and ditches the luxuries of the road-going model for handcrafted racing components built for handling and speed. The newest racecar from Crewe made its debut at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed and amused the crowd with two runs per day with 2003 Le Mans champion, Guy Smith.
“The Continental GT3 exploits the incredible performance beneath the skin of every Continental GT. We’ve removed over 1000 kilograms of weight, reconfigured our 4.0-litre V8 to produce 600 bhp in race specification, and developed a comprehensive aerodynamic package to ensure that we perform competitively,” said Continental GT. Member of the Board for Engineering, Rolf Frech. “We are now looking forward to getting the car on the track and proving its potential.”
The all-new 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine featured in the new Continental model powers the rear wheels of the new racer. Engineers modified the engine and installed a new dry-sump oil system and motorsports ECU to push ouput to 600 horsepower in unrestricted configuration. The engine’s power is sent to the rear wheels of the Bentley Continental GT3 through an Xtrac six-speed transmission with limited-slip differential and carbon fiber propshaft mounted transaxle for optimum weight distribution. Gears are shifted through steering wheel-mounted shift paddles and a pneumatic system.
Engineers also removed all of the comfort and silky smooth ride from the road-going model in the name of performance. The Bentley Continental GT3 was outfitted with new four-way adjustable racing dampers and a double-wishbone front and rear setup as opposed to the factory air springs. A set of 18.0 x 13.0 OZ Racing wheels shod in 310 / 710 R18 racing rubber hide Brembo six-piston front, four-piston rear calipers with ventilated iron discs.
The classy and confident look of the Bentley Continental GT is still present on the GT3 model, but like every other aspect of the car, it has been taken to the extreme. The Bentley Motors engineers worked alongside the Bentley Continental GT3 technical partner, M-Sport Ltd. to build the racecar. The entire exterior was redesigned for maximum downforce, reduced drag, and improved cooling. The front was outfitted with a new carbon fiber splitter while the rear benefits from a large carbon fiber wing. The hood, bumpers, front and rear fenders, side skirts, and other components were all replaced and modified for high-speed performance as well.
Inside, the wealth of comfort and luxury that customers have come to expect from the Bentley brand is absent. The Bentley Continental GT3 was given a handcrafted interior with items such as the steering wheel, door pulls, and seat all receiving the personal touch from Crewe. The stock leather, electronics, wood, and other furnishings were removed to help bring weight down to 1,300 kg (2,866 lbs.).
After homologation has been completed, the new Bentley Continental GT3 will participate in a number of development races before competing in the 2014 FIA Blancpain Series.
Bentley Continental GT3 Specifications
Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, repositioned to the rear of the engine bay, Cosworth engine management system.
Power: Approx. 600 bhp derestricted
Oil System: Dry sump
Transmission: Rear wheel drive, Xtrac six-speed sequential transaxle gearbox, racing clutch, steering wheel mounted paddle operated pneumatic gear shift.
Drivetrain: Carbon fiber propshaft, limited slip differential
Suspension: Double wishbone suspension front and rear, four-way adjustable racing dampers
Steering: Hydraulic power-assisted steering
Brakes: Ventilated iron disc brakes front and rear, Brembo six-piston front calipers, four-piston rear calipers, driver-adjustable brake bias.
Safety: FIA-specification steel roll cage, Sparco six-point FIA safety harness, onboard fire extinguisher, onboard pneumatic jack system.
Fuel System: FIA-specification racing fuel cell
Electronics: Race-specification ABS and traction control. Lightweight race battery.
Wheels: OZ Racing 18” x 13” rims
Tires: 310 / 710 R18
Aerodynamics: Carbon fiber front splitter, rear wing and body panels. Lightweight, aerodynamically-optimized bumpers, bonnet, sills and fenders
Length: 4950 mm
Width: 2030 mm
Height: 1350 mm
Weight: Weight Distribution: 52:48
Bentley Continental GT3 Gallery