M-Sport has confirmed its six-man Bentley factory driver lineup for its return to Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli competition at the Kyalami 9 Hour.
The British team, which has not raced since it won the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour in February, will field two Bentley Continental GT3s in the IGTC season finale on Dec. 12.
Bathurst winners Jordan Pepper, Maxime Soulet and Jules Gounon are in one of the cars, marking a continuation of a lineup that has gone unchanged throughout the year.
The other M-Sport Bentley will be driven by the all-British crew of Alex Buncombe, Seb Morris and Oliver Jarvis.
This was the same trio that drove the No. 8 Continental GT3 into podium contention at Bathurst before a blown tire led to the car’s retirement.
M-Sport’s Kyalami cars will feature special liveries highlighting the team’s relationships with Sparco and the Italian racing equipment supplier’s South African dealer MS Technic.
“The race team has become an important part of our business, and it’s a proud moment to see the two Bentley Continental GT3s carrying a special M-Sport livery at what could be a landmark event for Bentley Motorsport,” said M-Sport team principal Matthew Wilson.
“It’s been a tough year for the sport, but we’ve all pulled together and thanks to the win in Bathurst and some fantastic performances alongside our customer teams, Jules, Jordan and Maxime are just three points shy at the head of the drivers’ standings and in with a real chance of securing the title.
“It’s also great to have Sparco onboard for what could be a momentous event for us next month.
“Designing and developing some of the most technically advanced products on the market, they’ve been integral to our success across all forms of motorsport and I’m very happy to welcome them on board the race team.”
Bentley originally aimed to contest the IGTC season with its M-Sport factory team but the manufacturer changed its approach at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
After initially announcing its withdrawal from the season, Bentley came back with a renewed plan to score IGTC points through its customers while a return for M-Sport – which developed the Continental GT3 – was also bookmarked for the Kyalami finale.
Bentley’s leading crew of Pepper, Soulet and Gounon currently sits third in the drivers’ standings, three points off the top of the table.
After winning Bathurst with M-Sport, the trio contested the Indianapolis 8 Hour and the Total 24 Hours of Spa with K-PAX Racing.
In the manufacturers’ championship, Bentley is fifth behind Porsche, Mercedes-AMG, Audi and BMW.
“The goal is to end the season in the same way we started it when we took the race win at Bathurst with M-Sport,” said Pepper.
“The win would secure us the biggest title in global GT3 racing – the Intercontinental GT Challenge drivers’ championship – and to do so on my home soil would be a dream come true.”