> New-for-2018 Continental GT3 heading to Japan
> News follows hot on the heels of Mercedes-AMG’s confirmation
> 47th Summer Endurance event set for August 25/26
Bentley has confirmed its new-for-2018 Continental GT3 will compete in the inaugural Suzuka 10 Hours next season as part of a wider Intercontinental GT Challenge assault.
The British manufacturer chose the unveiling of its second-generation GT3 to also reveal its 2018 factory plans, which include both the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup and four-round Intercontinental GT Challenge. The new race-spec Continental makes its competitive debut at Monza in April before travelling to Suzuka via several more European events, including the Total 24 Hours of Spa.
With the first customer cars not being delivered until June, the Suzuka 10 Hours – which takes place on August 25/26 – could be the first race anywhere in Asia to feature the new-for-2018 Continental GT3, which will compete against the likes of Honda, Lamborghini, Mercedes-AMG, Nissan and Toyota, all of whom have already confirmed their presence.
Bentley’s new challenger has a tough act to follow: the first-generation Continental GT3, launched in 2014, is a proven championship-winner that has racked up 120 podiums and 45 wins across 528 races around the world.
Nevertheless, Bentley’s Director of Motorsport – Brian Gush – believes the new car has all the ingredients to continue the Continental GT3’s success story.
“After four years of success with our Continental GT3, we’re excited to reveal our second-generation car,” he said. “The new car leaves no area or system untouched in the search for even better performance, and the early test results are promising. The new Continental GT road car has proved to be a great starting point for the development of a new racer, and the engineering development work is true to Bentley’s impeccable standards.”
Four iconic and historic venues stage Intercontinental GT Challenge rounds in 2018, starting at Mount Panorama in Australia where the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour once again opens the campaign. It’s then on to Blancpain GT Series’ showpiece, the Total 24 Hours of Spa, for Europe’s round before Suzuka stages Japan’s first ever Intercontinental GT Challenge race. The season concludes at Laguna Seca in America with the Mazda Raceway California 8 Hours.
Uniquely, Suzuka’s event will see traditional FIA GT3 cars go head-to-head against their JAF GT-spec counterparts on the same control Pirelli tyre as used around the world. Prize money totalling 100-million Yen has already been confirmed for a blue riband race that many more teams and manufacturers are expected to support in the coming months.
The race, which maintains the tradition of previous ‘Summer Endurance’ events at Suzuka, is being jointly co-ordinated by SRO Motorsports Group – best known for overseeing the Blancpain GT Series in Europe and Asia – SUPER GT organiser GTA, and Mobilityland who are all collaborating closely on the project.
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