Bentley Continental GT3-R may not be the most extreme Bentley for long

The current Bentley Continental GT3-R is the brand’s sportiest road car ever, a 572-horsepower road monster inspired by the Continental GT3 racer.

Yet Bentley may be working on an even more extreme Continental variant.

The company is considering a model even lighter an more powerful than the GT3-R, with rear-wheel drive, reports Autocar.

Would that be a GT3-RS?

The GT3, which Bentley campaigns in U.S. and European sports-car races, is rear-wheel drive, and it turns out that was originally the plan for the GT3-R road car.

However, Bentley wanted to launch the GT3-R by the end of its first racing season, and didn’t have time to engineer the rear-wheel drive conversion.

It will apparently rectify that with this new Continental hot rod, which will use the same 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 as the GT3-R, but with even more power.

Bentley will also focus on cutting weight. The new model will reportedly drop 440 pounds, with the rear-wheel drive setup accounting for about half of that.

That means Bentley could have to eliminate most of the Continental’s luxury features, which is just as well in a car that’s supposed to be focused on performance.

Bentley hasn’t confirmed any specifics yet, but the report claims the new performance model could be built in even fewer numbers than the GT3-R. Bentley made just 300 of those.

This focus on all-out performance may seem out of character for people only familiar with the brand’s recent models, but Bentley actually has a proud racing history.

Bentley won the 24 Hours of Le Mans five times between 1924 and 1930. This era of the “Bentley Boys” provided cachet long after the carmaker quit racing and essentially became a badge-engineered offshoot of Rolls-Royce.

It also won Le Mans in 2003, after corporate parent Volkswagen reshuffled most of the dominant Audi factory team to support its effort.

Yet despite its illustrious history, Bentley is till really more of an ultra-luxury carmaker with a sporting edge than a genuine performance brand.

Mass blunts performance, and Bentley’s current range of production models are quite massive indeed.

Engineers have worked wonders making the big, heavy Continental into an engaging driver’s car, but the laws os physics can only be pushed so far.


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