“It would be a logical thing to do,” says Bentley Marketing boss Kevin Rose when asked about the likelihood of street going version of the Continental GT3 race car.
Speaking to AutoGuide at the car’s North American premiere at the LA Auto Show last week, Rose took that near-confirmation a step further. “I almost expect it,” he said.
What isn’t yet clear, Rose admits, is just what engine will power it. That decision will rest upon whichever motor is chosen for the race car, with both the brand’s staple twin-turbo 6.0-liter W12, as well as the new turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 on the table. He opines that the W12 is the more logical choice, as it’s already the powerplant for the Supersport model, and offering a GT3 car with a smaller and less powerful engine could confuse the hierarchy of the lineup.
Then again, if Bentley did choose the smaller engine, it wouldn’t be alone in doing so. After all, Porsche has long offered the 911 Turbo as a more potent street car, while the less powerful non-turbo GT3 sits well above it in the brand’s lineup as a machine for purists
Surprisingly, the choice between the two engines will eventually come down to whichever will offer the most advantages on the track, depending on how the project is evaluated by those in charge of setting the rules and regulations at the FIA. When asked if the W12 was at an inherent disadvantage due to weight, Rose surprised us with the statistic that the difference between the two powerplants is as little as 40 lbs.
Regardless, expect a GT3 street car and expect it to be impressive, as Bentley makes a concerted effort to tie its brand more closely with motorsports, says Rose.
Historically Bentley was known for adapting street cars for the track. Along with the obvious luxury, quality and attention to detail that a Bentley has provided in recent years, “inherent in a luxury brand is superior performance,” he says. And that’s exactly what a racing program, and a GT3 street car, will provide.