Although the car remains a work in progress, Bentley has announced plans to return to the world of international motorsport with a GT3-class racer based on its production Continental GT Speed Coupe. Seen in Paris for the first time, the Bentley Continental GT3 Concept will spawn a car eligible to compete in a number of different FIA-sanctioned series around the globe and is scheduled to make its racing debut by late 2013. The GT3 program marks the first time Bentley has been involved on a factory level since winning its historic sixth Le Mans 24 hour event back in 2003.
In commenting on the new GT3 undertaking, Dr Wolfgang Schreiber, Bentley's Chairman and Chief Executive, noted: "The clear message from our customers is that Bentley belongs on the racetrack, and the Continental GT3 is the realization of a dream we've had ever since the launch of the Continental GT. The new GT Speed is the perfect car for us to develop into a racer, and our work so far has shown huge potential. 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."
Development efforts for the new Bentley Continental GT3 will be headed up by Brian Gush, the firm's Director of Chassis, Powertrain and Motorsport. Gush brings his own impeccable "track record" to the program having served as the guiding light behind the success of a pair of Bentley Speed 8 LMP1 prototypes that finished 1-2 at the automaker's last Le Mans appearance. While Bentley provided no information on the car's final powertrain specs, it did note that GT3 rules will require a transition to rear-drive from the street-spec Speed GT's Quattro-based all-wheel-drive system. It also promised this bad-to-the-bone Bentley will begin shakedown testing early next year armed with a full array of the latest racing technology and a comprehensive aero package.