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To Sir, with shove

By Barry Park, 18 Jun 2014 News

To Sir, with shove

Bentley Continental GT3-R celebrates the brand’s first race win on British soil in almost a century

BENTLEY has celebrated its first factory-backed victory in Britain in 84 years in the only way it knows how – by building a road-going version of the car that also claims the title of the fastest-accelerating Flying B-badged car yet.

The Continental GT3-R, built to celebrate the British luxury marque’s victory at the second round of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Silverstone earlier this year, is the fastest-accelerating Bentley, sprinting from 0-100km/h in just 3.8sec – beating a special edition of the rag-top Continental built to celebrate the car maker’s claim on the ice speed record for a production vehicle by 0.2sec.

Only 300 of the two-seat sports cars will be made, and all will feature a race-honed version of the twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 tickled to produce a W12-rivalling 426kW of power – well up on the current bent-eight’s 373kW – and 700Nm of torque.

All that performance will feed to all four of the Bentley’s wheels, which will use torque vectoring for the first time to push the GT3-R around corners by forcing more drive to the outside rear wheel.

Deleting the rear seats contributes to a 100kg weight saving over the 2.3-tonne Continental GT and combines with shorter gearing on the eight-speed gearbox to bolster performance.

“Together with modified electronic stability control and a chassis tune optimised for outright cornering ability, the Continental GT3‑R is the most dynamic, responsive and involving Bentley road car ever,” the car maker said in a statement.

Bentley says the engine is fitted with precision-honed high-boost turbochargers and newly developed engine control software to liberate its 426kW at 6000rpm and 700Nm from 1700rpm.

“Recalibrated control software means that Drive and Sport modes are moved further apart, each with different characteristics and with Sport mode designed for more spirited driving,” it said.

“A soundtrack appropriate to the new levels of performance is provided by an all-new titanium exhaust, which not only provides a weight saving of 7kg but also has allowed Bentley’s acoustic engineers to give the GT3-R a unique baritone roar.”

The Continental GT3-R’s air springs and dampers use a development of the sports-tuned set-up from the Continental V8 S, and it wears lightweight forged 21-inch wheels with high-grip Pirelli tyres.

A more aggressive splitter under the front air dam and a bootlid-mounted wing – both made from lightweight carbonfibre – add to downforce, while a pair of vents cut into the bonnet help with feeding cooling air into the engine bay.

Stopping power is provided by a carbon silicon carbide braking system, with eight-piston calipers wrapped around 420mm front discs (356mm at the rear).

Inside, it is still a Bentley, although with racecar-inspired carbonfibre and leather highlights, including a pair of sports bucket seats with extra side bolstering.

If you’re sitting there counting your cash, don’t worry about colour selection. The Continental GT3-R will only come in white with British Racing Green highlights to mimic the winning racecar.