Bentley has unveiled the Continental GT3 car with which it plans to make its motorsport return at this year's Paris Motor Show.
Based upon the roadgoing GT Speed model, and currently being developed at the Crewe factory, it is Bentley's first race car offering since the Speed 8 with which it claimed a sixth Le Mans crown in 2006.
The luxury car manufacturer says its new GT3 model will be eligible to compete across a range of series and formats, including 24-hour endurance races.
Development of the car will continue throughout 2012, with a view to beginning a full test program in 2013.
Dr Wolfgang Schreiber, Bentley chairman and chief executive, said the project had already shown massive promise.
"The clear message from our customers is that Bentley belongs on the racetrack, and the Continental GT3 is the realisation of a dream we've had ever since the launch of the Continental GT," he said.
"The new GT Speed is the perfect car for us to develop into a racer, and our work so far has shown huge potential.
"The Continental GT3 is set to show the world what the Continental GT is capable of in its most extreme form, and establishes a solid foundation for Bentley's long-term motorsport plans."
Development of the car will be headed by Bentley's motorsport director Brian Gush, who led the marque's 2003 Le Mans program.
Its two cars finished the race first and second, with the lead Speed 8 of Tom Kristensen, Rinaldo Capello and Guy Smith leading from lights to flag. It was the marque's first win at the Circuit de la Sarthe since 1930.