Bentley debuts its new Continental GT3 race car at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed, unveiling a racing machine set to explore the extreme potential of Bentley’s iconic Grand Tourer, the Continental GT.
The Continental GT3 is powered by a race-prepared and dry-sump version of Bentley’s powerful but efficient 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, with many components carried over from the road-going engine. Developing up to 600 bhp in unrestricted race configuration via a motorsport engine management system, the V8 provides the GT3 with highly competitive power in a compact and lightweight package that’s perfect for racing. Power is transmitted to the rear wheels via a carbon fibre propshaft to an Xtrac six-speed sequential gearbox with a limited slip differential, mounted as a transaxle for optimised weight distribution. Gear actuations are completed via a pneumatic shift system, controlled by paddles mounted to the steering wheel.
A double wishbone suspension configuration front and rear, fitted with four-way adjustable racing dampers, replaces the standard road-car air springs. The steering system features hydraulic power-assistance, while braking is via ventilated iron discs combined with six-piston calipers on the front and four-piston calipers on the rear.
The exterior of the car features a comprehensive aerodynamic package, to maximise downforce with optimised drag. A top-mounted carbon fibre rear wing provides rear downforce and stability, while a carbon fibre splitter balances the aerodynamic forces at the front of the car. Revisions have been made to the bonnet, bumpers, fenders and sills in order to optimise the car’s drag coefficient and to assist with engine cooling.
With the removal of the leather and wood interior trim, the production electrical systems and advanced refinement materials that make the Continental GT such a capable Grand Tourer, the Continental GT3 weighs in under its target of 1300 kg. Despite the race-specification, the GT3 remains a hand-crafted Bentley, with the steering wheel, door pulls and seat all hand-trimmed and stitched by Bentley craftspeople at Crewe.
The design has been completed by a specialist team of engineers from Bentley Motors supported by the Continental GT3 Technical Partner, M-Sport Ltd1. Managed from a dedicated motorsport facility base at Bentley’s Crewe factory, an additional design office was created at M-Sport for the detail design stages and build of the first car.