Bentley is undecided on whether it will complete the remainder of the Intercontinental GT Challenge season, with an entry in October’s inaugural California 8 Hours likely dependent on a commitment from Absolute Racing.
The British manufacturer, which has been represented in the opening two races at Bathurst and Spa with the factory M-Sport squad, has yet to confirm entries for the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca round and season finale at Sepang in December, with the Absolute team a possibility for both events, according to Bentley Motorsport Director Brian Gush.
“We’re talking to them,” Gush told Sportscar365. “I think they have their own challenges.
“One of their drivers, Yufeng [Luo], has dropped out, which is unfortunate for them as he was showing promise and was coming on nicely.
“They’re regrouping to see what they can do. We keep talking to them. They’re a very good team and we’re very supportive of them.”
The Chinese-based team, which competes in both Pirelli World Challenge and the China GT Championship with Bentleys, is expected to return for the remainder of the PWC season after missing last weekend’s round at Mid-Ohio due to a driver conflict.
While Gush hasn’t ruled out M-Sport potentially returning to the Sepang race after a one-year hiatus, he indicated Absolute would be their preference for both remaining rounds.
Bentley opted to skip last year’s season finale, despite having been the championship leaders at the time.
“We’re open at any time to see what it brings,” Gush said. “Let’s see what Absolute can do. They are looking to see what the options are in terms of drivers.
“Sepang is a difficult race at that time of the year with the heat and the humidity and the tires.”
Gush said he’s pleased to see Suzuka replace Sepang on the 2018 IGTC calendar, which will remain at a four-round schedule.
“Suzuka is an interesting place,” he said. “We would have probably preferred Shanghai from a market point of view. But it’s a great circuit. 130R would probably suit our car. It would be great to see the cars there.”
A timeline for the debut of Bentley’s new-generation Continental GT3, meanwhile, has not yet been defined, according to Gush.
While confirming that development work on the car has begun, he would not give specifics on when it may debut. The newly redesigned Continental GT is expected to go on sale in the spring.
“The Continental [road car] is due for a replacement. When that gets replaced we’ll be looking at replacing the race car,” Gush said. “At the moment we have a car that’s really competitive.
“We’re concentrating on this car at the moment. As the road car transitions, the race car transitions but we don’t have a specific timetable that we are adhering to. We’ll do it as and when we need to.”