The new Bentley Continental GT3 made its big debut this weekend at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed in the United Kingdom with a 600 bhp 4.0-litre turbo V8. This race car takes the iconic Bentley Continental GT and moves it from touring car to race car.
Changes include significant weight reductions, greater horsepower, and refined aerodynamics that make the vehicle much more suited to the track. In terms of weight, they’ve stripped 1000 kilograms from the original vehicle which brings the Bentley Continental GT3 down to just 1300 kg total.
Weight reductions were achieved through the removal of many of the features that make the Continental GT such a beloved grand tourer. Gone are the leather and wood interior trims, the production electrical systems and other advanced refinement materials.
Inside, this car now looks every bit a race car, but it still maintains the hand-crafted elements for which Bentley is so well-known. The steering wheel, door pulls and seat are all hand-trimmed and stitched by Bentley craftspeople at Crewe.
As for the engine, the car is powered by a dry-sump version of Bentley’s 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, with many components carried over from the original road-going engine. This V8 gives the Bentley Continental GT3 a competitive level of power in a compact and lightweight package.
The exterior of the car features refined aerodynamics that maximize downforce with optimized drag. There’s a carbon fibre rear wing for downforce and stability in the rear combined with a carbon fibre splitter to balance aerodynamics at the front. There have also been changes to the hood, bumpers, fenders and sills that improve the car’s drag coefficient and also assist with engine cooling.
Now that it’s made its grand debut, the Bentley Continental GT3 will be hitting the track for further development. It’s track work will focus on optimizing performance based on simulations and refining the car’s abilities. The goal is to have the Bentley Continental GT3 start full competition in the FIA Blancpain Series in 2014.
Nicole Wakelin fell in love with cars as a teenager when she got to go for a ride in a Ferrari. It was red and it was fast and that was all that mattered. Game over. She considers things a bit more carefully now, but still has a weakness for fast, beautiful cars. Nicole also writes for NerdApproved and GeekMom.