M-Sport Bentley creates another piece of racing history next weekend as the team prepares to return factory-affiliated Bentleys to a British racetrack for the first time in over 80 years. Looking to build on the strong finish and learnings from the opening round of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Monza in April, M-Sport Bentley will field two Continental GT3s driven by the six modern-day Bentley Boys at the Silverstone circuit.
With practice sessions on Saturday 24th May, and qualifying and the three-hour race following on Sunday 25th, the Silverstone round marks the return of Bentley Motorsport to the British Isles since the RAC Tourist Trophy race at Ards near Belfast on 23rd August 1930. In a race won by the legendary Tazio Nuvolari, the highest-placed Bentley finished 11th. Bentley’s Director of Motorsport, Brian Gush, is hoping for a better result at Silverstone:
“The team has come a long way since the first race. As a new team, we learnt a great deal over the race weekend at Monza and we’ve had time to work on every area for improvement. We’re expecting the Continental GT3 to be well-suited to the long, fast corners of Silverstone so I’m hopeful of another strong finish in the points.”
Bentley Boy Duncan Tappy, who shares the #8 Continental GT3 with Jérôme D’Ambrosio and Antoine Leclerc, comments:
“We’re definitely looking to improve on our 7th place finish from Monza. The team has worked incredibly hard on every detail of our race operation to give us the best chance of success, and I can’t wait to take the car racing in our home country. We’re expecting a good crowd, and particularly a large turnout from the Bentley factory in Crewe. It’s a real honour to be one of the drivers bringing Bentley back to racing in the UK again.”
The sister #7 Continental GT3 will once again be piloted by the all-British team of Guy Smith, Steven Kane and Andy Meyrick. They finished one place behind #8 at Monza, and the team is hoping to raise the bar at their home track. Andy Meyrick comments:
“The Silverstone race weekend is set to be really exciting for us as a team. If the car is fast here, it’ll give us real confidence for the rest of the season. Racing in the UK in any car is always fantastic – to do it in a Bentley makes it incredibly special. We really want to give the British fans something to cheer about.”
M-Sport Bentley’s progress over the weekend can be followed at @BentleyComms, where live updates will be posted from the track, while Motors TV will provide live television coverage.
- The Continental GT3 is built by the Bentley motorsport team in conjunction with M-Sport. The Bentley GT3 team is led by Bentley Director of Motorsport, Brian Gush and M-Sport’s Chief Engineer, Christian Loriaux. M-Sport was originally formed in 1979, and in 1994 M-Sport won national rally titles in Italy, Portugal, the Middle East and Britain, the latter with founder Malcolm Wilson himself behind the wheel. Since 1996, M-Sport has run Ford’s WRC campaigns, including winning two FIA World Rally Championships in 2006 and 2007.
- The Continental GT3 project is proud to be working with ExxonMobil, who have joined the team as a key sponsor. Using ExxonMobil’s proven success in motorsports and a track record of helping bring home championships, Bentley’s V8 race engine will be filled with Mobil 1™ synthetic motor oil, to ensure maximum engine protection and performance in the gruelling environment of endurance racing.
- In 2002, Bentley launched the Continental GT, then the most powerful Bentley ever built. Breitling lent the revolutionary new luxury car an extra personal touch, by participating in the design of the technical instruments and, importantly, creating the onboard clock. Following a successful collaboration during Bentley’s renowned Le Mans campaign from 2001 to 2003, Breitling has returned as a key sponsor of the Continental GT3 project.
- The Continental GT3 programme is also sponsored by premium British audio experts Naim. For both Bentley and Naim, an enduring relationship with customers is core to the philosophy. Both are proud of their British heritage and reputation for offering their customers the very best products in their respective industries. Naim’s highly specialised team of world-class engineers and designers have a passion and commitment to music that enables them to deliver what is considered by many audio enthusiasts – and their loyal customer base – to be the finest range of audio equipment available in the world today
- Bentley Motors employs around 3,700 people in Crewe which is home to all its operations including design, R&D, engineering and production. The combination of fine craftsmanship, using skills that have been handed down through generations, alongside engineering expertise and cutting-edge technology is unique to UK luxury vehicle manufacturers such as Bentley. It is also an example of high-value British manufacturing at its best. Bentley exports over £1bn worth of goods in 2012. The company is the third largest R&D investor in the UK’s automotive sector and the 18th largest nationally.