It was a full weekend of racing for Bentley Motorsport and its partners. Bentley GT cars were campaigning in four races in three countries around the globe and when it was all said and done, Bentley would add a couple more podium finishes to their trophy case.
Pirelli World Challenge
Here in the States, Bentley Team Absolute Racing was at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama for Rounds 6 & 7 Pirelli World Challenge. Continentals numbers 87 & 88 qualified decently, but in a very competitive field, struggled to make up positions under the green flag.
Saturday’s round 6 yielded an 8th place finish for Palmer and 10th for Fong. Their best lap times set them 7th and 9th on the grid for Sunday’s event. Sunday’s event unfolded quite uneventfully. The track at Barber proved very fast and difficult to pass on and after only one caution period, Fong finished 7th; Palmer in 10th.
“It’s so hard to pass at Barber. We’re very quick through the high-speed stuff, but you can’t pass in those spots. As soon as you get anywhere near the car you’re trying to pass, you’ve arrived at a slow corner and are struggling to get the power down while the car ahead of you pulls away,” said Andrew Palmer, driver of the #88 Bentley.
“In both races, I know if I’d gotten around the car in front of me, we could have easily pulled away. The team gave me a good car. It was frustrating, because I know we had the pace to at least be in the top five, but the results don’t show that. Hopefully, at Mosport, where there’s not a lot of slow corners, we’ll be running at the front.”
In Europe, the Bentley Team Parker Racing crew was entered in the British GT event in Brands Hatch. There, Ricky Parfitt and Seb Morris campaigned a Bentley Continental GT3 to a second place finish in a competitive event.
Blancpain Endurance Series
Lastly, there were four Continental GT3’s in action at Autodroma, Monza, IT. Starting in the 30 car was TV Presenter Chris Harris with Derek Pierce and Chris Cooper as co-drivers. The trio ran in the amateur category for Bentley Team Parker Racing. Parker Racing also had the #24 car in the Pro-Am class, driven by Ian Loggie, Callum Macleod and Tom Onslow-Cole.
Bentley two works cars, the #7 and the #8, were in the Pro category. The #30 was taken out pretty early in the race when a competitor rear-ended the Bentley hard. The impact lifted the big GT onto the hood of the offending car and shoved it into the car in front, damaging it beyond repair. The #24 finished 25th, 16th in class.
The two Works cars fared the best, pushing themselves to be in contention as the race came to a close. In the end, the #8 Continental GT3, of Andy Soucek, Maxime Soulet and Wolfgang Reip, took the car’s second podium of the year.
The #8 had a fantastic start, claiming five positions on the opening lap. The #7 started farther back in the giant field and would make up 28 places after 2 1/2 hours of racing. With a top ten finish looking like a certainty, the team was penalized for a pit lane infraction and finished 14th.
“The team did a fantastic job to get a podium this weekend” said Brian Gush, Bentley Director of Motorsport. “Monza isn’t the Continental GT3’s strongest track but the Bentley Boys put in consistent lap times and secured us some very valuable championship points. The next two rounds are in the UK and we hope to continue our podium success from Misano and Monza on our home turf.”
The Blancpain GT Series continues in two weeks at Brands Hatch with round two of the Sprint Series Cup.
Source: Bentley Motorsport, Absolute Racing