A road-going version of Bentley’s new Continental GT3 race car is most likely to feature four-wheel drive, a pared-down but luxury interior and possibly a 700bhp W12 engine.
The sporty model is set to occupy a similar spot in Bentley’s range to the old Supersports model and would command a similar price of just under £200,000.
Key details have yet to be finalised, but Bentley is understood to be looking at a production run of around 300 cars to be built over a 12-month period circa 2014-2015.
The GT3 race car was revealed at the Paris motor show and marks the return of Bentley to front-line motorsport.
The FIA’s GT3 rules allow a radically different race-car specification from the road version. Although the Bentley racer has a rear-wheel-drive layout with a rear-mounted transaxle gearbox, the road car is likely to retain the permanent four-wheel drive system that features on all current Continental models, a senior source revealed.
Insiders are talking about a Ferrari F12 Berlinetta-rivalling 700bhp as a potential power output.
Most insiders favour retaining the twin-turbo 6.0-litre W12 for the GT3 because it’s the Continental’s flagship engine. However, the newer twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 is also a possibility, a move that would create two sub-brands within the Continental range: W12 luxury and V8 performance, the latter topped by a V8 GT3.
“We now have a chance to look at all these possibilities,” said another senior source.
The race car’s extreme rear wing and the rest of the aerodynamic package would be toned down for road use.
Bentley is considering a partly stripped-out interior, but with plenty of luxury remaining. However, a roll cage wouldn’t feature, because it’s considered too extreme for Bentley owners.