The 2017 North American racing season has begun for Bentley Racing. For the second year in a row, China’s Absolute Racing is Bentley’s partner for North American racing. This season Bentley Team Absolute will campaign two cars in the Pirelli World Challenge. In addition, they have signed on as the official luxury car of the series. Each race weekend, you will see several Bentaygas being used by World Challenge to shuttle VIPs around.
The first outing of the year occurred in March at St. Petersburg, Florida. The very difficult street circuit is known for having not much room for passing and for being very hard on equipment. Absolute Racing qualified well with Adderly Fong laying down some very quick laps before settling in to P11 for the start of the race.
With not much room for passing, the first race of the weekend was a non-event. Both Bentleys looked good in their white and green livery that matches what the Bentley Works team is wearing in Europe this season. Fong’s quick lap times put him in P4 for Sunday’s event.
Sunday’s race was a huge disappointment to Bentley and the Bentley faithful as literally bumper-to-bumper traffic going into the first turn caused damage to several cars. One car spun, another was off course on the opposite side. Stuck in the middle was Adderly Fong. His #88 Continental GT3 suffered a front impact and splitter damage at the hands of a competitor.
Fong had the race’s fastest lap of the race before the damage let the air out of the front right tire, ending his day.
It wasn’t an ideal weekend for Bentley Team Absolute, but they scored some valuable points and proved that they have cars fast enough to be on the pace. The Pirelli World Challenge next goes to Long Beach, California.
Expect Long Beach to be as difficult as Saint Pete before the series moves into some more Bentley-friendly tracks for the remainder of the season. This weekend’s race (just one this time) will be broadcast live on CBS on Sunday afternoon.