Bentley Motorsport has confirmed their plans to complete the full 2020 Intercontinental GT Challenge using their customer teams, boosted by factory drivers, to challenge for the outright manufacturers’ title and continuing the championship-leading campaign for the driver’s title too.
Bentley Motorsport lead the standings courtesy of the win at the 2020 Bathurst 12 Hour with then works team Bentley Team M-Sport and drivers Maxime Soulet, Jordan Pepper and Jules Gounon.
The IGTC has been on hold since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and in the same period, Bentley reassessed its programme with technical partners M-Sport and agreed to prioritise its growing customer racing programme and sideline the 2020 works team Intercontinental GT Challenge campaign.
With racing now back underway, Bentley’s customer racing programme has seen further success with a race win for Team Parker Racing (British GT- above), a pole position for Team Lazarus (GT Open) and a podium for T3 Motorsport (ADAC GT Masters) already achieved, two of the three teams in their first season with the Continental GT3.
With the support of Bentley Motorsport, K-PAX Racing has made a smooth transition to racing in Europe. Keen to contest a major race on home soil, the Sonoma-based team has now entered the second round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, the Indianapolis 8 Hours.
In order to enable Soulet, Pepper and Gounon to challenge for the drivers’ title, the Bathurst-winning trio will fly to the USA to represent the team in its single-car effort.
The third round of the series, the 24 Hours of Spa, includes five Continental GT3s from three teams all benefiting from M-Sport’s pre-event testing and technical support. K-PAX Racing, CMR and Team Parker Racing will all be nominated to score points for Bentley, making this a true customer racing campaign.
Soulet, Gounon and Pepper will once again race together at K-PAX Racing so that they can remain on equal points throughout the series.
In December, M-Sport, which has spent the season assisting the network of teams – including three new Bentley customers – and developing the Continental GT3 will return to the track taking two cars to Kyalami in South Africa for the 9-hour finale.
Bentley’s Director of Motorsport, Paul Williams: “The Intercontinental GT Challenge is the pinnacle of global GT racing and, as a manufacturer, it’s where we should be competing. We are now able to continue to fight for the title but utilising our expanding family of elite customer racing teams. To have four teams all potentially contributing to the title battle is really exciting – it would be a fantastic achievement for our customer racing programme if we could win this together.
“K-PAX Racing have adjusted to competing in Europe well but it also feels right for them to contest the USA round of the series. Our works drivers deserve to continue their championship-title bid so we are grateful that they agreed to take all three rather than field their own squad.
“I think everyone will be delighted that M-Sport will be racing two Continental GT3s at Kyalami. We couldn’t have grown this customer racing programme without their support and sacrifice, so to see them back on the grid as a customer team at the end of the year is something that we at Bentley didn’t expect and that I’m sure the fans at home will be excited about. Let’s hope they can end the season in the same way it started!”
The inaugural Indianapolis 8 Hour, which replaces the California 8 Hour in the calendar, takes place on 4 October. The 24 Hours of Spa, which actually takes place over 25 hours this year due to the clocks going back during the race, begins on 24 October and the season concludes at Kyalami 9 Hour on 12 December.