The forthcoming GT Speed is Bentley’s fastest road car ever, and the Continental GT3 concept racer is by a country mile its most extreme iteration. For something that’s never going to make the highway, this beast has created a huge stir here at Paris. The unanimous verdict is that its arrival is a Very Good Thing indeed.
Inside, there’s a fully-equipped race car cockpit with HANS-ready seats, a fully-stocked dashboard and a plumbed-in side refueller. It genuinely does look race-ready (and already equipped with the ‘state of the art motorsport hardware’ Bentley’s telling us it has).
It’s got to have gone through a serious weight-saving regime, mind, given how heavy the road car is. Bentley’s tight-lipped on this, but there’s a telling detail that shows it’s thought about everything: the traditional chrome grille badge is now a sticker graphic…
What’s it all about, though? Well, Bentley’s last motorsport venture was the 2003 Le Mans 24 Hour race. It won this with the Speed 8, of course, but hasn’t done anything since. A return is long overdue. Now it’s here, with the car set to compete in all types of GT3 racing up to and including 24-hour marathons. Basically, it IS going back to Le Mans, probably in 2014.
Before that, the GT3 will make its racing debut in the latter half of 2013, following a big testing programme. Judging by the press release shots, it’s already undergoing shakedown runs at Anglesey.
Bentley Chairman and CEO Dr Wolfgang Schreiber was bullish at the press conference. "The Continental GT3 is set to show the world what the Continental GT is capable of in its most extreme form, and establishes a solid foundation for Bentley's long-term motorsport plans."
Question is, when will we get the Continental GT3 road car? Watch this space, hinted a spokesperson…