44 JULY 2014
The Bentley Continental GT3 is a lot
different to drive than I expected. I was
picturing more of a Trans-Am car, like I
drove 10 years ago – high horsepower,
fairly small tires – and then, like a typical
GT car, just a wing on the back and not
much aero. But it’s actually a very refined
and driver-friendly car to get on with.
The biggest surprise was how easy it is
to just get in and get something out of it. It
doesn’t have any sharp edges, where it’s
like, OK, OK…and then tries to kill you. It’s
all very progressive, which is testimony to
the work done during its development.
The philosophy behind GT3 is that the
cars should be bought and raced by
privateers and gentlemen drivers. In the
Continental GT3, Bentley has a car that
someone can buy and go quickly in right
away, and that’s crucial. If only a pro can get
the most out of it, that’s missed the point.
It’s more of a purebred racecar to drive
than I expected. I thought I’d have to be
doing everything in a straight line, coast
through the turn, then go for the power
whenever the car is squared up again. But
you’re able to carry more speed in and do
much more mid-corner than I expected.
I think a lot of it is the aero helping the
car’s strong mechanical base package.
They obviously spent a lot of time
optimizing the wing and diffuser to balance
the car. Road America, where I shook it
down for the first time, is a fast track, so
you’re able to feel the aero quite a bit.
The Pirellis seem well suited to the
the driver’s view
chassis. They reach a plateau where they go
on for a long time without degrading. For a
big car, it’s certainly pretty easy on its tires.
I’m really pleased with the entire package.
The Continental GT3’s very comfortable
being pushed to the limit, its performance is
excellent, and it’s only going to get better
as we as a team become more familiar
and more comfortable with this racecar.
Leitzinger has found the Continental
GT3’s cockpit to fit Bentley’s
reputation for tailored excellence.
“Because it’s Bentley, they took the
time to ensure everything has a
nice aesthetic to it,” he says. “The
dashboard is phenomenal; the data
comes from a Cosworth display with
eight or nine pages of information
on it. Positive switches. Everything’s
been labeled cleanly. It’s all very
user-friendly and upscale.”
Pennsylvanian is a
19-year veteran at
having first driven
for the team in the
1995 Rolex 24 at
then, he’s won 34
races with Dyson,
including two Rolex
24s (to add to a win
in 1994). He drove
for Bentley in the
2001 and ’02
24 Hours of Le Mans,
overall and winning
the GTP class in ’01.
BACK IN THE
Butch Leitzinger shook down Dyson Racing’s
newly-arrived Bentley Continental GT3
at Road America in early June and was duly
impressed by its drivability “out of the box.”
“bentley has a car that
someone can buy and
go quickly in right away,
and that’s crucial”