Luxury vehicle marque Bentley has announced it is planning to return to the world of motorsport in the coming years and to mark this intent the firm is set to unveil its new Continental GT3 concept at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Opening today (November 30th) and running until December 9th, the event is to be a showcase for some of the biggest names in the automotive sector and Bentley can certainly count itself among them.

Bentley Continental GT3 static

At this year’s show, the luxury vehicle maker plans to exhibit an array of new models for the awaiting crowds, with the GT3 concept taking centre stage alongside the new GT Speed – Bentley’s fastest-ever road car – and also the sporting derivative of the iconic Bentley Mulsanne.

Rolf Frech, member of the board for engineering at Bentley Motors, said: “For some time now our customers have been telling us that it is time to return to motorsport.  Our US customers are no exception and I am delighted to be showing the Continental GT3 concept race car in LA.

Bentley Continental GT3 on the track

“I am also pleased to introduce the new GT Speed to the US. The Speed has been a sales success story for Bentley ever since it was first unveiled in 2008 and we expect strong interest in the US region.”

With a top speed of 205 mph, the GT Speed harnesses 616 bhp from its W12 engine, achieving acceleration from zero to 62 mph in just four seconds. However, the model is not all about raw power, as improvements in the design of the engine, transmission and computer control systems mean the vehicle is now actually 13 per cent more fuel efficient than when first launched.

Shot from above the Bentley Continental GT3

Coming back to arguably the standout feature of the company’s exhibit in Los Angeles, Bentley’s Continental GT3 racer concept is based on the Speed, but features a number of subtle differences that could ultimately help it stand out from the crowd on the track.

Capitalising on the prodigious performance of the GT Speed, the GT3 features outstanding high-speed stability and has seen much of its design tailored specifically for the race track.

On the track Bentley Continental GT3

This includes state-of-the-art engine mapping, traction control and other driver aids to improve handling, grip, cornering speed and a host of other much-needed racing attributes, while the aerodynamic package of the Speed has been overhauled to further improve the car’s racing pedigree.

Set to come to the track at the end of next year at the earliest, this first glimpse of the model is set to set pulses racing for motorsport fans both in attendance and across the globe.

Bentley Continental GT3 over head

Meanwhile, an innovative new take on the Mulsanne is also being showcased at the Los Angeles Auto Show, with a number of new striking design features being incorporated into the ‘Flying B’, including sports-tuned suspension, 21-inch alloy wheels, the manufacturer’s Diamond Quilted leather interior and an upgrade to its powerhouse – the model’s highly-tuned 6.75-litre V8 engine.

However, all of this development and the fanfare of new product launches has done little to distract the boffins at Bentley, as the company’s financial performance continues to go from strength to strength.

Bentley Continental GT3 next to the GT Speed

Kevin Rose, member of the board for sales, marketing and aftersales at Bentley Motors, stated: “2012 looks set to be another strong year for Bentley and we are pleased to announce … that last week we exceeded the total sales figure from 2011.”

Overall, the company has achieved a 25 per cent upturn in sales by the end of the third quarter in comparison to the same time last year, with 5,969 cars delivered to customers.

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Posted by Mark Thompson

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