Bentley Motorsport has unveiled a special Continental GT in preparation of the 2020 GP Ice Race in Zell am See, Austria, one powered by the range-topping 6.0 litre W12 engine. It makes 635 PS and 900 Nm of torque, enough to sprint from 0-100 km/h in 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 333 km/h.
While output figures remain unchanged, some modifications have been made to the car’s three chamber air springs, 48-volt active anti-roll control system and iron brakes so they cope better on the purpose-built ice track. Besides that, the Ice Race Continental GT wears a livery that pays tribute to its record-breaking counterpart from the the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb last year.
Besides that, the car is mechanically close to production standard as possible, save for the rear roll cage, on-board fire suppression system, racing bucket seats and harnesses. Other tweaks include a slight increase in ride height for better ground clearance, flared arch to accommodate the 15 mm growth in track width, studded Pirelli Scorpion tyres, Lazer high-performance lights, and a customised Akrapovic exhaust system. The roof also features a bespoke rack, fitted with a pair of Bomber for Bentley Centenary Edition skis.
Tasked with piloting this behemoth is junior World Rally Championship driver Catie Munnings. She was an FIA European Rally Championship Ladies Trophy winner, former host of the CBeebies television programme Catie’s Amazing Machines and daughter of former rally driver Chris Munnings. She will also be the first female driver in recent history to competitively race for Bentley Motorsport.
“The opportunity to race with Bentley at Zell am See is one that I couldn’t miss. I’m completely blown away by the car, and I actually still can’t believe I’m getting let loose in a Bentley to do an ice race. I spent some time on ice in the car just before Christmas. At first I thought it would feel heavy, but I was amazed by how dynamic, nimble and responsive it is. It can dance like a lightweight rally car, and I can’t wait to race it at such an iconic event,” she said.
Bentley’s Director of Motorsport, Paul Williams said: “I first drove the prototype Continental GTs on snow during winter testing before the launch of the car. The stability and control this car has on these surfaces is unbelievable and I look forward to seeing it race in those conditions.”
The GP Ice Race takes place this weekend in unpredictable wintry conditions, and the racing event was first introduced in 1937 before being revived last year. Drivers in an array of cars will compete over several categories, and they all will race over a 600-metre frozen racetrack carved from snow.
There will be two tests involved – standard racing, and skijoring exhibition. Skijoring is a competition where a skier is towed by a car over a track of snow and ice, and the sporting event dates back to the Olympic Winter Games 1928 in St. Moritz where skiers were drawn by riderless horses.