Bentley has joined a growing list of auto manufacturers to announce a significant change or end to its factory racing endeavors. The British marque, a regular presence in global sports car competition with the Continental GT3 model since 2013, will call time on its works program after the upcoming Intercontinental GT Challenge event in South Africa.
“The Kyalami 9 Hours will take place exactly seven years to the day since the first generation Continental GT3 made its competitive debut at the Gulf 12 Hours in Abu Dhabi,” the brand wrote. “It will also mark the final race for Bentley’s works drivers as the successful works-led GT3 program is set to come to a natural end at the end of 2021 in line with the brand’s sustainability plans set out in its Beyond 100 strategy.
“In the past seven years, Bentley has employed 16 world-class works drivers, and each is now firmly in the brand’s history books as having played a huge role in its motorsport history that spans almost 100 years. While the works drivers are being released from their contracts at the end of 2020, some of Bentley’s customer teams will continue in 2021 and potentially beyond.”
Bentley’s motorsport director Paul Williams expressed his appreciation for all that was achieved with the hulking twin-turbo V8-powered sedan.
“I want to start by saying thank you, on behalf of Bentley, to each of the 16 world-class drivers that have represented us over the last seven years,” he said. “But special thanks go to (drivers) Max Soulet, Jordan Pepper, Jules Gounon and Seb Morris who supported us when COVID put our works team program on stop and who stepped-up to work incredibly hard for our customer teams in a compacted season.
“The Bentley Continental GT3 was launched in 2013 to prove and promote the performance of the road-going Continental GT and, by beating the likes of Ferrari and McLaren on track, we did exactly this. As Bentley moves rapidly towards becoming the world’s leading luxury sustainable mobility brand, the GT3 category no longer supports the strategy but there are some exciting changes in the industry right now and we are closely evaluating how motorsport can support the brand in the future.”