Bentley to offer a road-going version of the Continental GT3 race car

Article by Christian Andrei, on October 8, 2012

It’s likely that the road-going version of Bentley’s new Continental GT3 race car would come with four-wheel drive, a pared-down but luxury interior and maybe even a 700bhp W12 engine. The sporty model will be positioned in the same spot in Bentley’s range as the old Supersports model. It will also have the same price of slightly below £200,000.

The major details haven’t been finalized yet but it’s believed that Bentley will have a production run of about 300 cars to be assembled over a 12-month period circa 2014-2015. Bentley unveiled the GT3 race car at the Paris motor show. This marks the comeback of Bentley to front-line motorsport. Under the FIA’s GT3 rules, the car that’s allowed to participate has very different specifications from the road version.

Even if the Bentley racer has a rear-wheel-drive layout with a rear-mounted transaxle gearbox, it’s likely that the road car will keep the permanent four-wheel drive system that is featured on all its existing Continental models, according to a senior source. There are reports that it will have a power output of 700bhp, which implies that it will rival the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta. Sources said that most of them prefer to keep the twin-turbo 6.0-litre W12 for the GT3 since it’s the Continental’s flagship engine.

But then, the newer twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 is also possible since this action will form two sub-brands within the Continental range: W12 luxury and V8 performance (which is surpassed by a V8 GT3). Another insider said that there’s now the opportunity to examine these possibilities. The road car version will get a toned-down aerodynamic package. The race car’s extreme rear wing would also be made more subtle. Bentley is studying a plan to have a partially stripped-out interior but still with many luxurious features remaining. But then, it won’t have a roll cage since Bentley owners look at this feature as too extreme.

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