It might be just about the meatiest GT racer we’ve seen here at Motor-Vision, with its brutal wide-arch body kit, cutting and slashing aero extras and Jumbo-shaming rear wing, but this Bentley racer’s been dodging the ‘metal cakes’ and woofing the ‘carbon salad’ big time.
Of course, any racecar will perform better and better the more weight you trim from it. They say that for every kilo of fuel an F1 car burns it’s a tenth of a second quicker on the next lap. And all of those little tenths soon add up. So the Bentley has been fat-trimmed, and trimmed again.
Not known for their lightness, but dealing with their heft of road car luxury with huge power outputs, the Bentley Continental had a lot to loose. Every kilo that you don’t have to brake, turn and accelerate is a distinct advantage, and while the road car’s steel body remains, it’s had a seriously in-depth nip and tuck.
Carbon fibre is the king of racecar diets and the wonderful black weave has been shaped to replace the bonnet, doors and boot of the curving luxury coupe, while stacks of electronics and wiring have long since seen the skip as this Continental certainly won’t be needing its sat-nav, stereo and air-con. The double-glazed windows are also history with stronger and lighter racy plastic now keeping the flies out of the drivers teeth. Weight is only added for this one with the FIA-spec multi-point rollcage, a fire system and data-capture equipment.
Being a Continental, the builders had a choice of either the new 4-litre twin-turbo V8 motor, or the older but seriously thumping 6-litre V12. Wisely, and earning further weight-saving, and extra torque and fuel economy, the engineers spec’d the V8 to power the Continental GT3 to victory. And with over a tonne now sliced from the Bentley’s heft, that V8 can really put its 500bhp to good use.
She’s a classy-looking racer, alright – with handmade touches still remaining like the craftsman-trimmed carbon race seats and steering wheel – and if she looks this good standing still, she’ll be simply stunning at booming full chat on the back straight.
The new Bentley Continental GT3 racer will be on show at the Goodwood Festival of Speed next week and will hit the racetrack for real later this year.
By Dan Anslow