Bentley Continental GT3
The name Bentley might as well be synonymous with luxury. Large, imposing cars that provide a driving experience of unparalleled comfort. The likes of the Arnage, Brooklands or Mulsanne all fit founder Walter Owen Bentley’s credo perfectly: to build a good car, a fast car, the best in its class. It gave Bentley a rightful reputation for building cars that most people will likely never be able to afford in their lifetime. In the mid-1990s, management at Bentley (then still under Rolls-Royce ownership) envisioned a new idea: what if we built a smaller, somewhat more affordable car? Affordable by Bentley standards, of course. The idea harnessed significant potential: by keeping the same Bentley exclusivity against a smaller price tag, the marque could appeal to an entirely new range of potential customers. During the 1994 Geneva Motor Show, Bentley presented the Concept Java to show what such a car might look like.
Concept Java was never put into production, but the idea was realised the better part of a decade later with the Continental GT. The concept proved successful and several new variants followed, including the four-door Flying Spur and convertible GTC. Bentley tapped into the car’s performance potential with the impressive Continental Supersports and in 2011, it released the car’s second generation. The true shocker, however, came two years later when Bentley rocked up to the Goodwood Festival of Speed with the Continental GT3. This was a proper, full-blown racer, developed and built by M-Sport. Such a big car as a GT3 racer? Surely, that wouldn’t work? That statement could not be further from the truth. In its debut year, a Continental GT3 entered by Bentley Team HTP and piloted by Maxi Buhk and Vincent Abril immediately captured the Blancpain GT Sprint Series title. In the Endurance series, M-Sport’s driver trio of Andy Meyrick, Guy Smith and Steven Kane missed out on the championship by a mere three points.
When Bentley introduced the third generation Continental GT, an update for the GT3 car quickly followed. An all-new version of the Continental GT3 was unveiled to the world in november 2017 and debuted during the Monza 3H, the opening round of the 2018 Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup season. Much like the first car, it was developed by M-Sport, which also ran the factory squad.
Under the hood sat the same 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 as in the original car, but extensively developed with a redesigned dry sump system and all-new intake and exhaust systems. Without restrictors, it was capable of producing over 550 horsepower. Highly optimised road car intercoolers provide optimum engine performance. The chassis, largely constructed from aluminium, weighed less than 1300 kilos. The power was delivered to the rear wheels through a Ricardo six-speed sequential gearbox, Alcon racing clutch and steering wheel-mounted, paddle-operated gear shift. It was given double wishbone suspension front and rear with four-way adjustable racing dampers. The second-generation Continental GT3 no doubt achieved its greatest success during the Bathurst 12 Hour in 2020, when Jules Gounon, Jordan Pepper and Maxime Soule won the gruelling endurance classic. Not much later, the doors of the factory program closed, but M-Sport continued to offer customer teams support.
We acquired this Continental GT3 (chassis BGT3 02/014) in the summer of 2022. Built in 2019, this car was originally used for trackdays before it was purchased back by the factory to serve as the works-supported chassis for a planned Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia effort for British squad JMW Motorsport. The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic caused those plans to be cancelled. Two years later, we were able to purchase the car directly from M-Sport. Sporting a striking livery designed by French designer Julien Ouvier as part of a design contest, we entered this car for the final two weekends of the Supercar Challenge season. The car was sold to a new owner and returned to the United Kingdom in early 2023.Back