Following its successive victories in the Blancpain Endurance Series, M-Sport Bentley is readying itself up for the Total 24 Hours of Spa at the Spa-Francorchamps track in Belgium on July 26th. The team is looking for both of its cars to finish in the points, and aiming to strengthen the championship lead of the Bentley Boys of the #7 Continental GT3 (Guy Smith, Andy Meyrick and Steven Kane).
The narrow victories scored at Silverstone and Paul Ricard have put the team into a strong position going into the fourth and most important round of the championship at Spa. Three sets of points are awarded over the course of the race, with teams scoring at the six and twelve-hour marks before the final finishing order completes the points allocation.
The team is targeting a top-ten finish for both Bentley machines. This task has been made more difficult due to a new Balance of Performance for the Continental GT3 which both increases weight and reduces engine performance. Despite this, Bentley’s Director of Motorsport, Brian Gush, is still hopeful of a strong result.
Expressing his optimistic views, Gush added, “We come to Spa with a great deal of excitement. Bentley’s motorsport heritage is built on 24-hour racing, and the last time we took part in a race of this length was our victory at Le Mans in 2003. The nature of racing over so many hours means that we not only need a reliable car with great performance, but a good deal of luck. We think the Continental GT3 will suit Spa, but our pace has been dealt a blow with a new Balance of Performance that will certainly restrict us. The thrill of 24-hour racing is that it could be anyone’s race, and we’ll be racing to give the British fans something to cheer about.”
Speaking about the race, Bentley Boy Steven Kane, who took the chequered flag in his Continental GT3 at the last two races said, “Spa will be a race like no other this season, as the only 24-hour marathon on the calendar. The first test race for the Bentley was the Gulf 12 Hours in Abu Dhabi, and we’ve done a 24-hour test too, so we know we have the reliability. Hopefully we can complement that with the speed needed to compete for major points. We also know that there’ll be a lot of Bentley fans watching the race and we don’t want to let them down!”
Belgian former F1 driver Jérôme D’Ambrosio knows the Spa-Francorchamps circuit better than most, and is very aware of the challenge it presents. Jérôme will be racing with Duncan Tappy and Antoine Leclerc in the second Continental GT.
D’Ambrosio said, “I’m thrilled to be racing with Bentley at Spa. It’s an historic track, including some of the best corners in the world, and to be racing in front of my home fans again will be fantastic. It’s a really tricky circuit, and while I’ve raced here in series from Formula Renault to F1, I’ve never driven it in the dark – that’s a really exciting new challenge. Duncan, Antoine and I will be looking for our best result of the season so far and I’m confident we can have a great race.”
Check out M-Sport Bentley’s progress over the weekend at @BentleyComms, where live updates will be posted from the track, while Eurosport and Motors TV will provide live television coverage.
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