Development of Bentley’s new-generation Continental GT3 is heading in the “right direction” according to motorsports boss Brian Gush.
The new-for-2018 GT3 contender has undergone both functional and “longer run” testing in the build up for its competition debut in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup season-opener at Monza in April.
Gush, however, wouldn’t be drawn on the actual mileage completed, with more comprehensive endurance testing still to come.
“Development is going well,” Gush told Sportscar365. “The drivers are all happy with it; we’re happy with the performance.
“Obviously there’s been a lot of shakedown testing at the moment. But we’re happy with the way it’s gone.”
The second-generation car, which was formally announced in November, features an aluminum/steel-framed chassis from the new Continental GT road car, as well as all-new aero.
While retaining the same 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine, Gush said that developments have also been made in the powertrain, with an improved weight distribution.
“In the wet we were never that comfortable, so that was one of the things we wanted to improve,” he said. “We haven’t had a wet session yet with the new car but we’re hoping to [soon].
“There’s still more of that to be done. We’ve done some longer runs, run stints through full stints, and we’ve got more of that to come before Monza.”
The new car will also be lighter than its predecessor, although the base weight hasn’t yet been finalized and will be determined following SRO’s Balance of Performance test at Paul Ricard later this month.
“We’ll be lighter; how much lighter we’ll have to see,” Gush said. “We’ll be within the window and below the maximum [weight] for sure.
“All the learning from the current car can go into the new car. So far, everything’s OK. What we’ve done to the new car we’re happy with it. Everything’s taking us in the right direction.”
Customer Deliveries “When we Feel Confident”
Gush has not laid out a precise timeline for customer deliveries of the new car, other than committing to the second half of this year.
The factory M-Sport squad will campaign two new-gen Continental GT3s in the entire Blancpain GT Endurance Cup, as well as the remaining Intercontinental GT Challenge rounds.
“It will just be when we feel confident we can deliver to customers and that we know enough about setup so they can hit the ground running,” Gush said.
“We need to learn enough about it so they can have a good experience with it.”
K-PAX Racing, which recently took delivery of three first-gen Bentleys for Pirelli World Challenge, is expected to be among the first wave of customers.
“We fully intend to get them new cars in the second half of the year,” Gush said. “We see an ongoing with relationship with them. They’re a great team and we see a great future with them.”
It’s understood, however, the team will not likely race the new cars until 2019.