David Appleby Engineering will be the first Bentley Continental GT3 customer team when it receives the new race car in January 2014. David Appleby Engineering will race under the Generation Bentley Racing banner and will compete in the British GT Championship in 2014. The team was created to develop young talent in motorsport for drivers, engineers and mechanics.
The Bentley Continental GT3 will be piloted by James Appleby (and Steve Tandy in British GT) and is available to compete in the FIA Blancpain endurance series for interested teams. James Appleby commenced his racing career in the SEAT Cupra Championship in 2008. Since then, Appleby has competed regularly in the Aston Martin GT4 at a European level as a Junior Aston Martin Racing team driver. He received the star of the future award by Aston Martin Racing in 2010.
Tandy, meanwhile, commenced his career by racing classic sportscars in 2006. He is also familiar with the British GT Championship, having participated for the last two seasons in the GT3 class. During the period, he gained two overall wins and a number of podium finishes. Launched at Goodwood in July 2013, the Bentley Continental GT3 race car is powered by a 4.0 liter V8 twin turbo V8 that provides up to 600 bhp. It is based on the road-going Continental.
Bentley’s Director of Motorsport, Brian Gush, comments: “I am delighted that David and his team will be competing with the Continental GT3 in our home country in 2014. The team has a wealth of experience and I'm confident that their energy and professionalism will see some very encouraging results next year. We'll be supporting them every step of the way and I wish them every success in the British GT Championship.”
A double wishbone suspension configuration front and rear, equipped with four-way adjusting racing dampers, is installed instead of the road-car air springs. The steering system showcases hydraulic power-assistance, while braking is performed by means of ventilated iron discs integrated with six-piston calipers on the front and four-piston calipers on the rear.
The exterior of the vehicle includes a complete aerodynamic package, to optimize downforce with enhanced drag. A top-mounted carbon fiber rear wing gives rear downforce and stability, while a carbon fiber splitter adjusts the aerodynamic forces at the front of the vehicle. Changes have been done to the bonnet, bumpers, fenders and sills in order to enhance the vehicle’s drag coefficient and to aid with engine cooling.
With the elimination of the leather and wood interior trim, the production electrical systems and enhanced refinement materials that make the Continental GT such a proficient Grand Tourer, the Bentley Continental GT3 measures under its objective of 1300 kg. In spite of the race-specification, the GT3 is still a hand-crafted Bentley, with the steering wheel, door pulls and seat all hand-trimmed and sewn by Bentley’s craft workers at Crewe.
The design has been finished by a specialist group of engineers from Bentley Motors upheld by the Continental GT3 Technical Partner, M-Sport Ltd. Overseen from a dedicated motorsport office base at Bentley's Crewe processing plant, an extra design office was made at M-Sport for the detail design process and build of the first vehicle.
The Bentley Continental GT3 now begins its program of formative track work, focusing on enhancing the vehicle’s performance with regards to simulations and polishing the vehicle’s capacities. Once homologation with the FIA has been finished, the GT3 will enter its first development races before commencing full competition in the FIA Blancpain Series in 2014.