Speaking on the eve of the L.A. Auto Show, where the Bentley Continental GT3 is being given its first official North American airing, engineering boss Rolf Frech told Autocar that production of the marque's race and road cars is closely linked.
"One of the major reasons for doing this project is to give our road car engineers some exposure to the quick-fire processes involved in building and racing cars," he said. "They can bring knowledge from the road car side to the project, but it is also clear they can take back some of the knowledge of racing to the production line. Ten years after winning Le Mans in 2003, this kind of quick thinking and problem solving is something that is very relevant to the company."
The GT3 racecar was first revealed at the Paris motor show and marks the return of Bentley to front-line GT and sports car racing. A road-going version of Bentley's new Continental GT3 race car is likely to follow. It could feature four-wheel drive, a pared-down but luxury interior and possibly a 700hp W12 engine.
Autocar reports that the first racing versions of the Continental GT3 will be ready by next autumn, and will be entered by the manufacturer in endurance events such as the Spa 24 Hours. After that, the cars will be handed over to customers ahead of the 2014 racing season.
Although official sources are tight-lipped, it is rumored that M-Sport, the company run by rally guru Malcolm Wilson, is assisting the factory with the build and development of the Continental GT3.