Bentley Continental GT3 Pikes Peak Driven: Welcome to the Rocket Sled


Bentley Continental GT3 Pikes Peak Driven: Welcome to the Rocket Sled

A Bentley Bentayga driven by Rhys Millen set the production-SUV record during the 2018 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. In 2019, the same team set the production-car record with a Bentley Continental GT. Pandemic restrictions in 2020 limited travel to the U.S. and to the hill climb, but Bentley and Millen were back this year with a wildly modified version of the company’s GT3 race car: the Continental GT3 Pikes Peak. We were there, too.

The aim was to win the Time Attack 1 class, smashing the existing record. Three Pikes Peak events, three wins, three records. Call it an inevitable hat trick, one that would be Bentley’s final official entry at Pikes Peak. That was the plan, anyway, for June 27, 2021. Can you hear God laughing?

Calling Pikes Peak “a challenging test” is like calling a redwood a “big tree.” The run begins at 9,395 feet above sea level and then climbs all the way to 14,115 feet. There are more than 150 corners in less than 12.5 miles. It’s an extreme, grueling gut check of a course. Never mind the treachery of the road itself, nor the extreme weather inherent to such a massive Colorado mountain; the thin air (about 60 percent as dense as at sea level) causes the bulk of any technical issues. As a car climbs to those heights, its aerodynamics, power, and cooling (both brakes and engines, or batteries in electric cars) all decrease. You get one shot at a run. Caveats out of the way, Bentley appeared to have brought the right tool for the job. For the full story, check out this article from Motor Trend.

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