Bentley Continental GT3 Racer Makes its U.S. Debut at the LA Auto Show
Despite being renowned primarily for its luxury cars, Bentley has a rich history in endurance racing that dates back to 1928. It took 73 years for it to return to the tracks but when it did, it once again achieved victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the Speed 8 in 2003.
That win also marked the end of the British brand’s racing program. A decade later, Bentley decided to engage in motorsports once again, starting from the end of 2013. It will do so with the Continental GT3, which was launched in concept form in Paris and made its U.S. debut at the LA Auto Show.
Based on the Continental GT Speed, the fastest road car Bentley has ever made, the GT3 sports a full-on aerodynamic package and, although the company is still keeping mum on its powerplant, it is rear-wheel drive, as dictated by the class regulations, and not all-wheel drive like the regular production car.
“For some time now our customers have been telling us that it is time to return to motorsport”, said Bentley member of the Board for Engineering Rold Frech. “Our U.S. customers are no exception and I am delighted to be showing the Continental GT3 concept race car in LA”.
Another Bentley making its U.S. debut in LA was the 2013 Continental GT Speed. Boasting 616HP and 590 lb-ft (800) Nm of torque from its turbocharged W12 engine, all-wheel drive and an 8-speed auto, it sprints from a standstill to 60 mph (96 km/h) in 4.2 seconds and reaches a top speed of 330 km/h (205 mph).
Also on display was the Mulsanne saloon in MDS trim, sporting 21-inch alloys, Bentley Flying “B” wing vents and “diamond quilted” leather along with a sports-tuned suspension and steering.
Kevin Rose, member of the Board for sales, marketing and aftersales, commented: “We are pleased to announce today that last week we exceeded the total sales figure from 2011. The U.S. market is playing a crucial role in our success. At the end of Q3, we had seen a 25 percent increase in global sales with 5,969 cars delivered to customers. Of these, 1,750 of them were sold here in the U.S. That makes the Americas our largest market, with a 29 percent increase in sales year on year.”