Bentley has withdrawn its factory M-Sport team from the remainder of the 2020 Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli season.
The British manufacturer, which is currently second in the IGTC points, was originally set to contest the full championship with two Bentley Continental GT3s.
In a statement, Bentley cited a need to prioritize support for its eight customer teams as the main reason behind its decision not to continue with the factory effort.
It said that the condensing of the motorsport season into the second half of 2020, creating a busier schedule, was a key contributing factor.
The cancelation of the IGTC Suzuka 10 Hours and the prospect of running most international races behind closed doors also played a part.
The works M-Sport team won the season-opening Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour in February with Jordan Pepper, Jules Gounon and Maxime Soulet driving.
Bentley and M-Sport originally planned to run with this lineup and the all-British crew of Alex Buncombe, Oliver Jarvis and Seb Morris in this year’s IGTC.
“Of course we’re disappointed not to see M-Sport complete the Intercontinental GT Challenge this season – especially after the record-breaking win at Bathurst,” said Bentley motorsport director Paul Williams.
“But we said at the end of last year that in 2020 we would be fully focused on our customers and we need to do that now more than ever.
“Our customer teams, drivers and sponsors have all endured difficult times financially but they have worked hard to ensure we have 12 cars ready to be competitive once racing continues.
“It is our duty to continue to stand by our customers and make this season a success.”
Williams added that there remains a possibility for M-Sport to contest the rescheduled 24 Hours of Spa, which is taking place in October as the third IGTC round.
“Bentley Team M-Sport was outstanding at Bathurst and we hope to have the race-winning outfit back on track with us very soon,” he said.
“We also hope to have some new customer team news to share in the coming weeks, with the Continental GT3 set to take on another top-level series.
“We are also working with M-Sport to see if they can run at the 24 Hours of Spa, which they would enter as a customer team with our backing like our other teams.”
Bentley’s withdrawal from the IGTC season leaves eight manufacturers in SRO’s global endurance series.
Continental GT3s are still set to appear in GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, through customer entries for K-PAX Racing, CMR and Team Parker Racing.
All three teams will compete in the Endurance Cup element of GTWC Europe, while French outfit CMR will also tackle the Sprint Cup with two cars.
The factory M-Sport team was only slated to contest the IGTC in 2020, following a scaling back of the program that previously included a large GTWC Europe involvement.