Bentley is hoping to add a third Pikes Peak record to its glass cabinet, eyeing the Time Attack 1 record in a modified version of its Continental GT3 racer running on eFuels.
Bentley’s racer has just been through an initial round of testing, where the GT3-derived V8 engine produced peak figures of 560kW and 1,000Nm at sea level, with intentions to raise this further to combat the thin air at the Peak’s higher altitudes. The engine itself is a similar race-proven 4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 as the standard racer, but has been tweaked to run on biofuel and remapped to allow for a peak 2.2bar of pressure for the new turbochargers. To combat the extra boost, Bentley’s also fitted new pistons and conrods, as well as a thicker carbonfibre intake manifold to handle the higher pressures. Short side-exit exhausts, rear window air scoops and a roll cage-mounted stopwatch are also new additions.
Bentley’s standard Continental GT3 has received other radical modifications in order to stand up to the harsh environment of the hillclimb. Developed in conjunction with Derbyshire-based racing team Fastr and M-Sport, the new package is focused on squeezing as much performance as possible from the powertrain and aero to suit the Peak’s unique terrain and conditions.
Both its aerodynamic package and intake systems have undergone substantial modifications to suit, including the fitment of the largest rear wing ever fitted to a Bentley. This is complemented by a new diffuser and an aggressive two-plane front splitter with separate dive planes. This has resulted in a 30 percent increase in total downforce, compared to the standard GT3 car.
Bentley’s striving for the ‘Time Attack 1’ record, a division for closed cockpit, production-based machines. The current record stands at 9 minutes in 36 seconds, achieved last year by the 515kW Porsche 911 GT2 RS Clubsport. To beat it, the Bentley will need to average over 125km/h while navigating all 156 corners during the 5000ft ascent.
This announcement comes shortly after Bentley’s commitment to a renewable fuels research and development programme. The firm says various blends are currently being tested in order to assess performance, but that greenhouse gas emissions could see an 85 per cent reduction over ordinary fossil fuels.
Set to hit the 12.42-mile course in late June, it will be driven by American racing driver Rhys Millen who also drove Bentley’s two existing Pikes Peak records. The car is currently undergoing final testing and development in the UK.