This past weekend at Silverstone, Bentley celebrated a milestone: 250 race starts for the Continental GT3. It was an important milestone for the global Bentley Motorsport program, which launched into GT racing only three years ago.
The early years of Bentley’s motorsport efforts have become the stuff of legends. The famous Bentley Boys and four wins at Le Mans in the 1920’s cemented that. Following 1930, the marque left racing for eight decades before rejoining motorsport in 2000, shortly after becoming part of the VW Group.
Bentley and its new owners returned to racing at the biggest of them all: Le Mans. Racing there is difficult and expensive and it took Bentley three years to win. After achieving their fifth win at Le Mans, they again left racing for ten years.
Bentley ended their second hiatus in 2013 with the announcement of a new GT3 spec car. Unlike the 2000-2003 factory prototype car, this new race car would be targeted toward customers. Brian Gush, who was involved with the Le Mans effort ten years earlier, was selected to run the program.
Based of the street Continental GT, the Continental GT3 was immediately tested with an appearance at the 24hrs of Dubai. Bentley entered two cars with a factory effort in the Blancpain Endurance Series that year. Two customer cars would join the Pirelli World Challenge later that year.
In 2015, Bentley signed Absolute Racing to campaign three cars in the GT Asia series. From there the Continental GT picked up speed with customers as it demonstrated its capabilities.
Bentley now has constructed 25 Continental GT3s and they have raced in nearly every major GT3 series around the world. This past weekend, the cars were in races in three different European countries.
In the UK, Bentley Team M-Sport was in the fourth round of the Blancpain GT Series at Silverstone. There the Works team gained some valuable championship points with a strong finish by the #7 car. The number #8 car, which has a couple podiums this season and looked fast enough in qualifying to do it again, was knocked out of contention by a failed power steering pump and finished down 8 laps.
Bentley Team ABT completed its preparations for the Nürburgring 24 Hours by racing in the third round of the VLN series, finishing eleventh overall. The N24 is Mat 28th and though Bentley M-Sport isn’t running, the
The honor of the 250th start came to Bentley Team Parker Racing’s Tom Onslow-Cole, who was competing in the Pro-Am class at Silverstone. After a successful weekend in Asia by Bentley Team Absolute Racing, the Continental now has 21 wins, 50 podiums and a couple of championships.
“It’s been a busy weekend for our Continental GT3s, racing across three different countries” said Bentley’s Director of Motorsport Brian Gush. “To celebrate the Continental GT3’s 250th race start just two and a half years into our programme shows how we have rapidly expanded to become a prominent player in the world of GT racing.
Two Bentleys will be racing this weekend in Canada in the Pirelli World Challenge. The next European event is the Nürburgring 24 Hours on May 28th.