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Bentley GT3-R: The gentleman’s road-racer

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Bentley Motors has lifted the covers of its fastest-accelerating car ever, the Continental GT3-R.

The new model – which is to appear for the first time in public at the Goodwood Festival of Speed later this month – has taken inspiration from the marque’s GT3 racing car, which has been making a name for itself in the championship series around the world.

While a heavy luxury coupe – that weighs in at a whopping 2.75 tonnes in its normal guise – wouldn’t seem the ideal starting point for a pared-back driver’s car, Bentley’s engineers have worked wonders in making the Continental GT3-R not only lighter and more powerful than its lesser stable-mates, but also more engaging to drive.

Despite using the twin-turbocharged V8 found in the entry-level Continental, the GT3-R develops 572bhp (72bhp more), enough to get it from 0-62mph in a Ferrari California-rivalling 3.8 seconds. Acceleration is enhanced by an eight-speed automatic gearbox, which has shorter gearing than in regular models.

That performance potential is also aided in no small part by the 100kg weight reduction over the standard V8 model. Inside, the rear seats have been removed and in the front there are carbon-fibre sports seats in place of the vast armchairs normally fitted.

Further liberal use of carbon-fibre around the interior contributes to the lightened kerb weight. A unique titanium exhaust system – which gives a “unique baritone roar” – saves a further 7kg.

Not that you’ll need to attract attention to yourself. Fitted with a huge fixed rear wing and gaping vents in its bonnet, the Continental GT3-R looks every inch the racetrack refugee.

Despite expectations that this racy model would be offered in a rear-wheel-drive-only configuration, Bentley has stuck to its guns and fitted the GT3-R with a development of its four-wheel-drive system, which now features a torque vectoring system for more effective cornering. Bentley claims the changes make the Continental GT3-R its most “responsive and involving road car ever”.

Just 300 examples are to be built and prices have yet to be announced. This hasn’t stopped prospective buyers, with the GT3-R receiving plenty of interest since order books opened earlier this week.

The first customer Continental GT3-Rs are expected for delivery late this year.

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