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Bentley Ramping Up Deliveries of New-Gen Continental GT3

Bentley ramping up plans for deliveries of new-gen Continental GT3…

Photo: Olivier Beroud Images

Bentley is ramping up delivery plans for its new-generation Continental GT3, with timelines established for the handoff of cars to both Phoenix Racing Asia and K-PAX Racing later this year.

The British manufacturer, which debuted its 2018-spec car in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup with the factory M-Sport squad, is set to utilize the upcoming Intercontinental GT Challenge rounds as part of the transfer process to its customers.

Bentley’s first two new race chassis, which contested the opening three Endurance Cup races of the season, are now en route to Japan for the Suzuka 10 Hours, with the cars that M-Sport campaigned in last weekend’s Total 24 Hours of Spa set to be sea-freighted to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the California 8 Hours.

While M-Sport will run the cars in the IGTC rounds, Bentley Motorsport director Brian Gush explained both races will provide opportunities to work alongside its customers with its designated chassis prior to delivery.

“Phoenix Racing Asia is going to work with us at Suzuka and take the cars from there. We’ll rebuild them completely and hand them over,” Gush told Sportscar365.

“It makes a lot of sense, logistically, from all the spares and costs. They’ll build the cars up together with our guys after the race.

“We’re doing the same thing with K-PAX at Laguna. K-PAX will work with us, and we’ll stay on and rebuild the cars with them, and then those cars stay in America and the spares stay there as well.”

Gush said two further new-gen Bentleys are being built up for the Endurance Cup finale at Barcelona, which will then be sent to Australia for the 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge season-opener in Bathurst.

Additional cars are also being built up at M-Sport’s base in Cumbria for deliveries through the winter months, according to Gush, who said they’re already “close” to to hitting the minimum production run of ten cars that’s now required for each GT3 manufacturer in the car’s first year of homologation.

“We’ve got a number of people very interested in them,” he said.

“The build is continuing and at the moment we’ve got people interested in cars that are yet to be built. We’re quite pleased with the reception it’s had so far.”

Gush said the FIA’s new requirement, which additionally requires a minimum run of 20 cars in the first 24 months, has put additional pressures on low-volume GT3 manufacturers such as Bentley.

“We were not in favor of that because we think it’s difficult and Stephane [Ratel] believes the GT3 market has a lot of potential in America but we didn’t need that extra pressure to build the cars,” Gush said.

“Hopefully, things go well. At the moment with what we’ve built, for the first year it’s OK. Second year, there’s some interest.”

Parker “Very Close” to Customer Deal

Team Parker Racing is also set to run the new-gen Bentley next year, with the British outfit likely to sign a deal, according to team principal Stuart Parker.

“We’re very close,” he told Sportscar365. “We just met with Bentley [on Thursday] actually.

“It’s getting there. We’ve just got to iron out the last few bits and hopefully it will all go through.”

Parker said the team plans to run one or two cars in the Blancpain GT Endurance Cup, including one possible Pro Cup car, along with a British GT Championship entry.

He also said they plan to keep a similar driver lineup “structure” as currently, without bringing any Bentley factory drivers on board but instead using younger drivers such as Seb Morris and Callum Macleod.

“It’s nice to have the underdog and the young chargers that you take to battle with you, rather than the known quantity who probably really doesn’t want to be there,” Parker said.

Jake Kilshaw contributed to this report.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Matt

    July 30, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    “20 cars in the first 24 months” seems like it kills Callaway, McLaren, Nissan, and Cadillac’s chance at producing another GT3 model.

    • StueyB83

      July 31, 2018 at 4:16 am

      Nissan can do it via split build between Nismo Japan and JRM UK

    • Andy Flinn

      July 31, 2018 at 12:03 pm

      This requirement does not apply to Callaway.

      GM was opposed to building ANY GT3 customer Cadillacs BEFORE this requirement was established.

      I understand Cadillac is still the only marque that ever built a GT3 car and never sold one to a customer.

      GM has no interest in GT3.

      • Markus

        July 31, 2018 at 8:22 pm

        Exactly. This doesn’t affect Callaway. The minimum rule was aimed specifically at Bentley and at the time Caddy. I think this is was ultimately led the ATS out….even though Caddy had already decided early 2016 it would leave the end of 2017…

        • StueyB83

          July 31, 2018 at 9:28 pm

          As odd as it sounds, I do feel for Bentley. 20 cars in two years is too much for a manufacturer of their size.

          And pair that with the fact they likely have the most expensive GT3 on the market… added pain.

          I think 15 cars is more doable over 2 years. And they may have to adjust the price point to help sell more of them…

          Worst case scenario is they withdraw from GT3 altogether.

  2. Pierce

    July 30, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    A while back it was said M-Sport would run a pair of cars parallel to the K-Pax effort for the Laguna 8hours. It seems like in this writing that is no longer the case.

    • John Dagys

      July 30, 2018 at 6:43 pm

      M-Sport is confirmed for the full season so there was never a question of them not doing Laguna. K-PAX hasn’t ruled out doing Laguna, but if they do it, it would be with the old car

      • Pierce

        July 30, 2018 at 6:50 pm

        Clarification greatly appreciated John

  3. Lex

    July 31, 2018 at 6:34 am

    Ok before stupid comments roll on here. Callaway, Emil Frey, & Reiter Engineering are not subject to the 20 car production minimum. They fall under the tuner clause.

  4. BENTLEY ROLL CAGE TOTAL FAILURE

    July 31, 2018 at 10:19 pm

    Is this new car’s roll cage going to completely deform like their last one? #NeverForgetAndrewPalmer

    Bentley engineers need to stop stuffing crumpets in their faces, lest another driver gets turned into a vegetable due to their shoddy pikey engineering.

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