Skip to main content

Bentley Continental GT smashes production-car record at Pikes Peak

The Bentley Continental GT is a fantastic slab of luxury, but its immense size makes it an unlikely candidate to set a record on one of the world’s toughest race courses. Yet that’s exactly what Bentley just did at the 2019 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, setting the record for production cars at the storied Colorado race. Driver Rhys Millen piloted a Continental GT up Pikes Peak in 10:18.4, beating the previous record by 8.4 seconds.

While it does sport a 626-horsepower, 6.0-liter W12 engine (Bentley also makes a V8 version), the Continental GT was designed for long-distance cruising, not attacking racetracks. Bentley does race highly modified Continentals on road courses, but the Pikes Peak car had to remain mostly stock (aside from safety equipment) in order to qualify for the production-car record on the 12.4-mile course. Drivers face blind corners, sheer drop-offs, and changing weather conditions on the way to the 14,115-foot summit of Pikes Peak. A decrease in oxygen near the summit also robs internal-combustion engines of power.

Pikes Peak divides cars into multiple classes, encompassing both production cars and purpose-built racers. The previous production car record of 10:26.9 was set by a Porsche 911 Turbo S in 2014. However, the overall record stands at 7:57.1. It was set by the Volkswagen I.D. R, an electric car built specifically for Pikes Peak, in 2018.

Bentley had a major advantage in the form of driver Rhys Millen. Nicknamed “King of the Mountain,” the New Zealander has won Pikes Peak five times. In 2018, he broke the record for production SUVs in a Bentley Bentayga. Millen’s time of 10:49.9 beat the previous record by nearly 2 minutes.

The Pikes Peak Continental GT wore the same electric green color as 2018’s record-breaking Bentayga, as well as the number 100, because 2019 is Bentley’s 100th birthday. A new Pikes Peak record was exactly the kind of birthday gift Bentley’s top brass was hoping for. Racing is an important part of the Bentley mythos, thanks to a string of Le Mans victories in the 1920s and one more in 2003. Most customers will likely never take their cars to a racetrack, but that history inspired Bentley to make the Continental GT sportier than it has any right to be.

Updated on July 1, 2019: Added confirmation of new record.

Editors' Recommendations

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally kicks up some dirt
Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally driving on a dirt road.

The Ford Mustang Mach-E electric SUV pushed the hallowed Mustang nameplate in a different direction, and it's doing that again with a new performance variant. Debuting in 2024, the Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally is designed for fun on both pavement and dirt.

Rallying is a form of motorsport where drivers compete to set the quickest time over a course — usually a closed road or trail — rather than a dedicated racetrack that includes a variety of surfaces like dirt, gravel, or even snow. Rallying has inspired some epic performance road cars over the years, including the Subaru WRX, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, and Ford's own Focus RS, but it's never really been associated with the Mustang.

Read more
BMW scraps its unpopular approach to heated seats
Driver's seat and dashboard of the 2023 BMW iX M60.

BMW caused much consternation last year when it launched a subscription-only option for heated car seats.

The idea of having to pay a monthly fee of $18 to keep your posterior warm during the winter months still seems as absurd as ever, but the good news is that the German automaker has now decided to scrap the fee. What particularly irked customers was that they felt they were being forced to cough up extra for functions that would previously have been expected as standard. The fiasco even prompted a community of hackers to offer their services to unlock the feature for those unwilling to pay extra for it.

Read more
Cruise says it’s nearing approval for mass production of futuristic robotaxi
Interior of Cruise's Origin vehicle.

Robotaxi company Cruise is “just days away” from getting regulatory approval that would pave the way for mass production of its purpose-built driverless vehicle, CEO Kyle Vogt said on Thursday in comments reported by the Detroit Free Press.

General Motors-backed Cruise unveiled the vehicle -- called Origin -- in early 2020, presenting the kind of driverless car that we all dreamed of when R&D in the sector kicked off years ago; a vehicle without a steering wheel and without pedals. A vehicle with passenger seats only.

Read more