At the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed in England, Bentley took the veil off of the Continental GT3 race car ,which will tackle the hill climb challenge at the event and serve as a rolling example of Bentley’s latest racing technologies. The exterior of the Continental GT3 racer shares some of its DNA with its mainstream Continental siblings, but Bentley engineers have radically reworked its profile to make the race car as aerodynamically efficient as possible. A rear mounted carbon fiber wing sheds weight and also keeps the rear of the car stable and planted during high speed maneuvers while a front mounted carbon fiber splitter provides even more stability to the front of the car and also aides in balancing out the aerodynamic forces exerted on the GT3. In addition to these aerodynamic enhancements, Bentley engineers have also revised the hood, bumpers, fenders, and door sills to improve engine cooling and enhance the vehicles drag coefficient rating.
The interior of the Bentley Continental GT3 racer follows the theme set in place by the exterior, and features several revisions that aim to provide a comprehensive and race oriented layout. A big change is the removal of the elegant wood trim and leather seating surfaces as well as the majority of its electronic gadgets and sound deadening material – all part of a massive crash diet to cut even more weight. The end result is a cabin that is decidedly more driver oriented and features a healthy amount of carbon fiber and other race derived technologies that contribute to the car’s 1300 kg curb weight. The driver’s seat is now much more supportive and keeps the lone occupant tightly in place during spirited driving. The company is also quick to point out that despite the GT3’s intentions as a pure race car, it is still a handcrafted automobile with the door pulls, purpose built steering wheel, and the fore-mentioned seat trimmed and meticulously stitched by the company’s talented team of craftspeople at its facility in Crewe.
Performance for Continental GT3 comes from a highly modified version of the familiar 4.0 liter twin turbocharged V8 which now features a dry sump oiling system and is now capable of producing 600 horsepower thanks to a specially designed motorsport engine management system. The company claims that many of its components were carried over from its street legal sibling and that the V8 provides world class power while still remaining a relatively lightweight package. All of this muscle is channeled to the rear wheels through a carbon fiber prop shaft to a six speed sequential gearbox which was specially designed by Xtrac. The transmission also features a limited slip differential which has been mounted like a trans axle in a clever attempt to try and distribute weight evenly. Each lighting quick shift is controlled by pneumatically operated shift system which is operated by the driver via paddles located on the steering wheel.
Handling has also been sharpened with the stock air springs being shelved in favor of a double wishbone system which features four way adjustable race spec dampers which should please drivers looking for optimum handling. The steering system bucks the recent trend of electronic steering and features a hydraulic power steering system which should reward drivers with solid road feel, while ventilated iron disc brakes with six piston calipers (four pistons at the rear) provide the stopping power needed for bringing the festivities to a safe and stable halt.
After the Continental GT3 makes it official debut at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed this weekend, the company will put the car through a period of intense testing before its competitive debut at the FIA BlancSpain Series next year. In the meantime, the company has released a brief video of the Continental GT3 in action which can be seen below.