Renewable fuel-powered Bentley Continental GT3 readied for 2021 Pikes Peak
MANILA: Bentley recently unveiled the Continental GT3 Pikes Peak, set compete at the 99th edition of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 27. The Continental GT3 Pikes Peak is the first competition Bentley that will be powered by so-called renewable fuel.
The Continental GT3 Pikes Peak is built by customizing a Continental GT3 racer, which is Bentley’s championship-winning car. The vehicle will be showcasing its performance through the 12.42-mile course using biofuel-based gasoline. The development of the vehicle is part of the carmaker’s research and development program on the potential of biofuels and e-fuels to power Bentley vehicles in a sustainable way.
The Beyond100 program aims to make Bentley the world’s leading sustainable luxury car brand. To achieve this goal, the company targets to develop hybrid variants for the entire Bentley model range by 2023, then transform the brand to being BEV-only by 2030. The use of renewable fuel signifies the beginning of Bentley’s long-term objective. This shows the company’s progress towards carbon neutrality, which is a part of the Beyond100 program.
Bentley will still continue to develop combustion-engine models for the next nine years and to make them sustainable, the company plans to incorporate them with innovative fuel technologies. This will also allow customers to continue driving their current and classic Bentleys in the coming years.
In a statement, Bentley Board for Engineering Member Dr. Matthias Rabe said, “We are delighted to be returning to Pikes Peak for a third time — now powered by renewable fuel, as the launch project for another new element of our Beyond100 program. Our powertrain engineers are already researching both biofuels and e-fuels for use by our customers alongside our electrification program — with intermediate steps of adopting renewable fuels at the factory in Crewe and for our company fleet. In the meantime, the Continental GT3 Pikes Peak will show that renewable fuels can allow motorsport to continue in a responsible way, and hopefully it will capture the third and final record in our triple crown.”
Bentley is working on the Pikes Peak project in partnership with British Continental GT3 customer team Fastr. The technical teams of Bentley and Fastr have teamed up with experts from M-Sport in Cumbria to develop the Continental GT3 package and make the vehicle deliver its maximum possible performance in its upcoming competition in Colorado. The Continental GT3 Pikes Peak will be run in Colorado by the same team, with assistance from K-PAX Racing.
The Continental GT3 Pikes Peak will be competing for the Time Attack 1 record that requires finishing a nearly 5,000-ft climb with 156 corners in less than nine minutes and 36 seconds. In order to break the record, the car will to deliver an average speed of more than 78mph. The Continental GT3 Pikes Peak will be helmed by three-time Pikes Peak champion and former “King of the Mountain” Rhys Millen, who helped Bentley achieve its two existing Pikes Peak records. Millen attained the production SUV record in 2018 with a Bentayga W12 and the Production Car record in 2019 with a Continental GT.
The Pikes Peak’s start line will be situated at 9,300 ft and the course will be climbing to 14,100 ft, where the air is 1/3 weaker than at sea level. To adapt to this setting, the Continental GT3 Pikes Peak is developed with modified aerodynamics package and engine, making it the most extreme road-car-based Bentley in history.
The car is equipped with the biggest rear wing ever fitted to a Bentley. It is positioned at the top of a highly efficient rear diffuser that borders the transaxle gearbox. To stabilize the rear aerodynamic package, it is equipped with a two-plane splitter at the front, surrounded by individual dive planes.
The Continental GT3 Pikes Peak is motivated by a modified 4.0-liter turbo V8 engine and powered by carefully selected biofuel that deliver significant horsepower. The car is also equipped with short side-exit exhausts to produce a dramatic sound that will complement its striking look.
The vehicle is also modified with cooling air scoops in place of the rear windows. A stopwatch is also mounted on the roll cage beside the steering wheel so Millen can monitor his sector times while on the course.
Further details about the Continental GT3 Pikes Peak will be revealed in May, while technical specifications will be unveiled in due course.
Photo from Bentley