Guy Smith has confirmed that this weekend’s Silverstone round of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup will be his final race with the British manufacturer.
The 2003 Le Mans winner will step aside from his racing role to focus on his position supporting Bentley’s customer programs around the world.
Smith, 43, will also continue to serve as a factory test and development driver.
His place in the No. 7 Team M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3 will be taken up by 21-year-old South African Jordan Pepper, who raced an ABT-run Bentley at last year’s 24 Hours of Spa.
Pepper’s debut with the works team will be at the 1000km of Paul Ricard in June.
“I’ve been working with Guy for almost 20 years, and he’s always been the epitome of the professional racer,” said Brian Gush, director of Bentley Motorsport.
“While we’ll all be sorry to see him step back from Bentley Team M-Sport, I’m delighted that he stays a member of the Bentley Motorsport family and that he’s taken this decision at the time that feels right for him.
“I look forward both to working with Guy in the future and to welcoming Jordan Pepper to Bentley Team M-Sport – his seat is thoroughly deserved and we are confident he will race well with his new car No. 7 team-mates Steven Kane and Jules Gounon.”
Sunday’s Silverstone round will mark the end of Smith’s 17-year involvement with Bentley as a racing driver, which started in 2001 with the Speed 8 LMP900/GTP car.
After winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Tom Kristensen and Rinaldo Capello, Smith continued to work with Bentley and was integral to its racing return a decade later with the Continental GT3.
“It’ll be an emotional race for me, but I’m hoping to be with the team at the other endurance races this year and I’m looking forward to focusing on my business projects and supporting our customer teams,” said Smith.
“At the end of last year I decided that I wanted to see the new second-generation Continental GT3 through its first race after being part of its development from the start – and we achieved that at Monza a few weeks ago.
“I’d like to thank everyone at the outstanding operation that is Bentley Team M-Sport for all the hard work and results we’ve achieved together in GT3 over the last five years.”