Miles up in the air, winning is hard. Winning three times on top of a snowcapped mountain with impending death encircling you while countless others try everything in their power to pass you is what Bentley is aspiring for. Winner of the Pikes Peak run two times— once in 2018 for fastest SUV time and then again in 2019 for the fastest production car record in the Continental GT. The SUV was set by the at the time new Bentayga, a testament to Bentley’s racing innovation. This year Bentley threw in a twist. Their ridiculous racecar will be powered solely by renewable fuel. The details behind the fuel haven’t been released yet but we can assume it’ll be similar to corn-based E85 or high octane race fuel. The Pikes Peak Bentley dubbed the Pikes Peak Project is based off the Bentley Continental GT3, which is aptly the fastest Bentley of all time. Faster than the fastest surely has to mean winning right?
The race is a true challenge by nature. This isn’t something your father can do at the weekend drag strip. Spanning nearly 5,000 feet in altitude from start to finish, the GT3 will have to average just under 78 MPH through narrow twists and turns in order to reach the summit and break the Time Attack 1 record. Bentley aims to add to the trophy case with previous records held for fastest production car (Continental GT) and the fastest SUV (Bentayga) to climb the mountain. Taking place south of Denver, Colorado, Pikes Peak is the highest summit in the United States Rockies— a feat many dare to ever accomplish. The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is set to take place June 27th, a time where the snow has dried up everywhere except the top of the mountain which makes the race progressively harder.
To keep up with the advancing times Bentley has thrown themselves for a loop. Aiming to cut carbon emissions and limit greenhouse gasses by nearly 85%, the folks out in Crewe decided to make the switch from traditional to renewable fuel. This only reminds me of Cars 2 where they use Allinol instead of race gas, but that may just be my inner kid spilling out. Bentley states that multiple different blends of fuel are being tested and there’s no set product or formula they’ll be using, however we can only assume it’ll do well on E85 or some similar blend because of its ability to do well at high altitudes. Bentley also made the jump to renewable to prove a point, “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.”
The GT3 itself is a explosion of styling and engineering. Ignoring the massive snowplow in the front, which looks ridiculous in its own right, the GT3 features some impressive cues. It has the largest wing ever fitted to a Bentley. With high speeds of over 100 MPH on straights and sharp, winding turns, the wing looks like chump change for what you’d think it needs. The front pizza shaped splitter also adds to the entourage of downforce features. Right underneath that picnic table of a wing lays the rear diffuser which creates even more downforce and protects the transaxle box from road scrape. Side splitters and a Black Gold livery finish off the look.
The modified GT3 also features Bentley’s tried and tested powerhouse. The famed 4.0 L turbo V8 sits underneath the carbon fiber hood. Tuned for pure performance alongside its biofuel counterpart it aspires to put out some serious horsepower. No figures have been released yet, but one can only speculate the power to weight ratio. The modifications don’t exactly stop there. A shortened exhaust system sans resonators and mufflers will now dump out the side like a hot rod instead of the traditional dual pipes out the rear. Further modifications include cooling air scoops in place of the rear windows, and the obligatory stopwatch mounted to the roll cage next to the steering wheel, to allow famed Bentley driver Rhys Millen to keep track of his sector times up the mountain.
As we just said, Rhys Millen will be piloting the GT3 up the Colorado peak. Millen captured Bentley’s two previous titles and has been dubbed as the “King of the Mountain”. In addition, Bentley teamed up with the performance group Fastr in order to tune and build maximum power from the V8 workhorse. K-PAX Racing and the M-Sport team also join in on the fun in order to try to break the record of 9:36.
By building a renewable fuel racecar Bentley shows a purpose on their run. Motor racing can be kept alive with internal combustion engines. With Bentley pledging to keep gasoline motors alive for 9 more years, it’s imperative they prove that they can perform without race fuel and high carbon emissions. The race begins on June 27th in Pikes Peak, Colorado.