Bentley’s renewable fuels research and development program will be spearheaded by its Continental GT3 Pikes Peak, the brand’s most extreme road car-based model in its history and is this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.
The Continental GT3 Pikes Peak was designed and built to compete for the Time Attack 1 record for this year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. It isn’t Bentley’s first time to challenge the record, having made its first record-setting run in 2018 using the fastest production SUV the Bentley Bentayga at the very challenging course. The following year, the Bentley Continental GT set the record for being the fastest production car ever on Pikes Peak. The Continental GT completed the 12.42-mile (19.99-kilometer) course in just 10:18.488, translating into an average of 70mph (112.6km/h).
Both vehicles were driven by Rhys Millen, a three-time champion and also known as former “King of the Mountain,” as Pikes Peak winners are called. Pikes Peak is in Colorado, US. The very twisty course has 156 corners and starts at 9,300 feet above sea level and climbs close to 5,000 feet to about 14,100 feet, an altitude with 1/3 less air density that at sea level. And to break the record, the car’s average speed should be above 78 mph to cross the finish line in less than nine minutes and 36 seconds.
The Continental GT3 Pikes Peak race car is currently undergoing a major test and development phase in the UK before it will be shipped to the US for altitude testing in time for the 99th edition of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 27th. This will be the first time a Bentley will compete on a race course and run on renewable fuel. The highly-modified Continental GT3 race car use a blend of biofuel-based gasoline with possible Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reductions of up to 85% over standard fossil fuel.
Bentley’s Member of the Board for Engineering, Dr Matthias Rabe said : “We are delighted to be returning to Pikes Peak for a third time – now powered by renewable fuel, as the launch project for another new element of our Beyond100 programme. Our powertrain engineers are already researching both biofuels and e-fuels for use by our customers alongside our electrification programme – with intermediate steps of adopting renewable fuels at the factory in Crewe and for our company fleet. In the meantime, the Continental GT3 Pikes Peak will show that renewable fuels can allow motorsport to continue in a responsible way, and hopefully it will capture the third and final record in our triple crown.”
Bentley’s pinnacle Pikes Peak project is being run in conjunction with British Continental GT3 customer team Fastr, a customer team that has successfully campaigned their Bentley race car in time attack competitions across the country. Bentley’s technical team and Fastr are working together with specialists from M-Sport in Cumbria to extract the maximum possible performance from the Continental GT3 package, which will be run in Colorado by the same team and with assistance from K-PAX Racing.
Bentley’s proven racing power unit was developed from the 4.0-litre turbo V8 engine fitted to the Continental GT V8. For the Continental GT3 Pikes Peak race car, engine modifications together with the use of carefully selected biofuel will ensure the engine develops significant horsepower despite the rarefied conditions it will operate in.
Alvin Uy wears many hats, foremost among them being an executive for a home improvement chain and real estate developer and part of a family-owned chemical business. Aside from writing about motoring news and car reviews, he loves to write about traveling, food and wine reviews, mechanical timepieces and classic cars.