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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Bentley to Complete IGTC Season; M-Sport for Kyalami

Bentley back in IGTC with entries confirmed for Indianapolis, 24H Spa and Kyalami…

Photo: Daniel Kalisz/Bentley

Bentley will complete the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli season having confirmed its plans for the remaining races, including a return for M-Sport at Kyalami.

The British manufacturer withdrew its full-season entry for the M-Sport factory squad in June, citing the need for a greater focus on customer racing programs under the strain of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, Bentley today confirmed that Continental GT3s will compete for IGTC points at the Indianapolis 8 Hour, the Total 24 Hours of Spa and the Kyalami 9 Hour.

K-PAX Racing is entered for the next round at Indianapolis with the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour winning lineup of Jordan Pepper, Maxime Soulet and Jules Gounon.

The American squad expanded to a program in GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup this year, but is set to return to home soil for the series’ first visit to Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Oct. 4.

Bentley’s IGTC entry for the 24 Hours of Spa, which doubles up as a GTWC Europe round, will consist of five cars spread across the K-PAX, CMR and Team Parker Racing crews.

Pepper, Soulet and Gounon will again share a K-PAX car in that race, deviating from the team’s GTWC Europe lineup which normally has Pepper alongside Andy Soucek and Alvaro Parente, and Rodrigo Baptista with Soulet and Gounon.

M-Sport will then return for the Kyalami finale in December, with a pair of Continental GT3s, almost 11 months on from its last race appearance at Bathurst.

Driver lineups for the nine-hour race in South Africa are yet to be confirmed.

“The Intercontinental GT Challenge is the pinnacle of global GT racing and, as a manufacturer, it’s where we should be competing,” said Bentley’s director of motorsport Paul Williams.

“We are now able to continue to fight for the title but utilizing our expanding family of elite customer racing teams.

“To have four teams all potentially contributing to the title battle is really exciting – it would be a fantastic achievement for our customer racing program if we could win this together.”

At the time of Bentley’s factory team withdrawal announcement, Williams suggested that M-Sport could return for future IGTC races as a customer entity with works backing.

Bentley’s program will now engage some of its leading customer squads, rather than focusing on a single-team effort with M-Sport which developed the Continental GT3.

“K-PAX Racing have adjusted to competing in Europe well but it also feels right for them to contest the USA round of the series,” said Williams.

“Our works drivers deserve to continue their championship-title bid so we are grateful that they agreed to take all three rather than field their own squad.

“I think everyone will be delighted that M-Sport will be racing two Continental GT3s at Kyalami.

“We couldn’t have grown this customer racing program without their support and sacrifice, so to see them back on the grid as a customer team at the end of the year is something that we at Bentley didn’t expect and that I’m sure the fans at home will be excited about. Let’s hope they can end the season in the same way it started.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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