Bentley Continental GT3-R | Spotted

Two-seat, two-door, limited-run road racers don't just come from Porsche, you know…

By Matt Bird / Monday, March 8, 2021 / Loading comments

There wasn't a single motorsport fan, surely, who didn't welcome the return of Bentley to the world's circuits in 2014. Because as well as all the history and the trophies and the names that had been involved, having Bentley back on track meant only one thing: a Continental GT race car. Which seemed like quite the task, given the marked differences between the Conti's road requirements and this new role – but incongruous race cars are the most lovable ones, aren't they?

And succeed the Bentley did, the first generation of GT3-spec Conti securing 120 podiums globally before being replaced in 2018. Perhaps more than that, though, it captured the imagination of all who watched it compete, the big Bentley thundering around with 911s, R8s, Z4s, Vantages and the like, seemingly as wide as every track it raced at, just a joy to see.

Keen to capitalise on its newfound favour, Bentley did the logical thing and made a road car inspired by its motorsport exploits: the Continental GT3-R. That was 'R' for 'Road' by the way; Bentley's take on the track-ready sports car perhaps a little less compromised than most. And quite a lot heavier, too: 100kg was taken out, but the GT3 remained well in excess of two tonnes.

Still, it was far more than a racy paint job and beautifully upholstered space where the rear seats used to be. The GT3-R was the first time Bentley had used brake vectoring in a car, it received an Akrapovic titanium exhaust and a shorter final drive as well – 3.50:1 in place of 2.85:1. That meant a top speed of 'just' 170mph, but a 0-62mph dash of less than four seconds. The modifications really worked, too; when PH drove the GT3-R in January 2015 the verdict was unequivocal: "Body control is superb and, especially when you consider that extravagant, SUV-like kerb weight. Balanced and poised to attack from any throttle position or setting, the GT3-R demolishes set-piece hairpins and flicks between alternating bends like a heavyweight boxer bouncing from toe to toe." Common consensus was that the GT3-R was the best Continental yet to drive, and by some margin as well.

But it was also by far the most expensive Continental, too, at almost a quarter of a million pounds. Which, when you consider how much the comparable road racers cost at the time – an SLS Black cost similar money not long before – seemed hard to justify. Especially with the standard V8 S being as good as it was.

Still, the 300 GT3-Rs found buyers, and a few years later the GT3-R looks a more appealing prospect. Firstly, since so few were ever actually allocated to Britain – the number is believed to be around 50 – and also as it's shed a chunk of its value, rather bucking the trend for cars of this ilk. After 13,000 miles and six years, this GT3-R is on offer at almost £100,000 less than what the first owner would have paid: £139,950. Which is a fairly significant saving, even if still quite a lot – a brand new V8 starts at £150k, and it's possible to buy a V8 S of the same age as this car with similar mileage for £80,000. But arguably it's a much more agreeable premium now than it once would have been, particularly with rarity on the GT3's side. So, is it enticing enough? Does limited edition status and some motorsport fairy dust justify the R's cost? Or would a V8 S suffice? The floors is yours…


SPECIFICATION | BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT3-R

Engine: 3,993cc V8 twin-turbo
Transmission: 8-speed auto, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): [email protected],000rpm, 600hp on overboost for 15 sec
Torque (lb ft): [email protected],700rpm, 553lb ft on overboost for 15sec
MPG: 22.3 (NEDC combined)
CO2: 295g/km
Recorded mileage: 13,000
Year registered: 2015
Price new: £237,500, before options
Yours for: £139,950

See the original advert here.

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