Bentley looks set to utilize drivers from its works-supported programs in Blancpain GT World Challenge America and Asia for the manufacturer’s expanded four-car entry in the Total 24 Hours of Spa.
The M-Sport-run factory operation will double its efforts in the Belgian endurance classic, with its full-season Blancpain GT Endurance Cup and Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli lineups set to be joined by six additional drivers.
While yet to announce the driving squads, Bentley Motorsport director Brian Gush said to look for some familiar faces to the brand for the July 27-28 enduro.
“We’ve got quite a few signed up already and quite a few in the pipeline,” Gush told Sportscar365.
“We’re wanting to use drivers that have been with us in the regions. And that’s coming together nicely.”
Gush would not disclose any specific names, although he said they’re expecting a mix of Bentley drivers from North America and Asia.
Among those in contention are believed to be K-PAX Racing pilots Alvaro Parente and Rodrigo Baptista as well as Alex Yoong, who took part in Phoenix Racing Asia’s program in Blancpain GT Asia last year.
Longtime Bentley factory driver Guy Smith, who stepped down from a full-time works role last year, could also be in the frame.
Gush said they hope to announce the lineup in the coming weeks.
“It’s not totally finalized but we’d like to get it done ASAP,” he said.
Four-Car Commitment a “Numbers Game” in Quest for 24H Spa Glory
Bentley’s expanded effort for Spa comes down to numbers, according to Gush, who said they needed additional Pro class entries in order to take the fight to other sizable GT3 efforts.
The British manufacturer has yet to claim victory in the race after coming up short on multiple occasions since making its debut in 2015.
“It’s a numbers game, if you’ve got Audi and Mercedes with ten cars,” Gush said. “If you can disperse those cars with pro drivers, you spread your risks.
“Every one of our four cars must have a chance of winning.”
Gush said they expect to utilize a mix of M-Sport and Bentley personnel for the effort.
“We think we’ve got enough to make it happen,” he said. “Obviously the resources from Bentley will pile in there as well and our regional resources.”
A third or fourth M-Sport entry for the Endurance Cup round at Paul Ricard, which is often been used by teams as a warm-up for Spa, has been ruled out due to logistics, according to Gush.
At least one additional new-gen Bentley will be on the grid at Spa, fielded by Team Parker Racing, which has committed to a single-car Blancpain GT Endurance Cup entry.
Gush said Bentley is currently in discussions with other teams for possible Endurance Cup and Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe entries as well.