Bentley is expecting to have a similar factory program with its Continental GT3 next year, which will include a return to the Blancpain Endurance Series as well as additional key endurance races around the world.
Speaking to Sportscar365, Bentley Motorsport Director Brian Gush confirmed the British manufacturer’s long-term commitment to GT3 racing, both on a works level with M-Sport and its growing customer base.
“We’re happy with Blancpain [GT Series] and are happy with GT3 and plan to continue with this,” Gush told Sportscar365.
“As I’ve said all along, we’re not in this for the short term. This is a long-term program. We’re committed to our customers.
“Customers who have bought cars need assurance the program will go on and it will go on. With Wolfgang Durheimer and Rolf Frech on the board supporting motorsports, the program will go on.”
Gush confirmed additional customer interest for 2016, including a “very interested” customer for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, which will see its GT Daytona class embrace full-spec GT3 machinery next year.
He said a total of 18 Continental GT3s are currently competing around the globe, with the potential of up to 30 cars being built for its exclusive customer base, which is expected to continue to grow.
“These guys that run race teams are hard-nosed guys,” Gush said. “They’re businessmen, but first and foremost racers.
“We needed a season to prove that we weren’t just going to run with the team, that we wanted to win. Our first season was good for us.
“The paddock is generally hesitant with a new car. So we still see our car as new and fresh and can compete. There are a lot of new cars coming.
“You look at the BMW, the new Audi is out and the Mercedes is coming and Ferrari is working away. The competition is strong but we didn’t think any other way.”
With 2016 marking the third year of the Continental GT3, could its successor already be in the works? Gush wouldn’t confirm or deny.
“The car for us is still fresh and it’s competitive,” he said. “Our customers are happy and nobody’s asking for any great changes.”
Rolf Frech, Bentley Member of the Board for Engineering added: “What we do in every case, when we are coming to the next generation of the GT, you already have it in mind for a race car.
“This is a big advantage because now we are in the concept phase of the future cars. If it works in parallel, it’s a win-win for both sides.”