Monday, 13 January 2020 22:33

Bentley Team M-Sport return to Intercontinental GT Challenge

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Bentley and its factory M-Sport squad will contest Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered Pirelli for a fifth consecutive season in 2020.

The British manufacturer, which has raced in the series since its inaugural 2016 campaign, has again committed two Continental GT3s for all five rounds, starting at the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour on January 31 – February 2.

M-Sport’s racing activities will be solely focused on the world’s only global GT3 championship after previously contesting the Blancpain GT Series on Bentley’s behalf.

The team has also made several changes and additions to its Bentley Boy roster and pairings. Maxime Soulet returns for a sixth season, albeit with new co-drivers in the form of established factory aces Jules Gounon and Jordan Pepper.

Meanwhile, Oliver Jarvis – a Bentley Boy in 2017 who represented KCMG and Nissan last season – is joined by Alex Buncombe and Seb Morris. The latter has gained full factory status following four years with the manufacturer’s customer teams. Both he and Buncombe also enjoyed several Intercontinental outings with M-Sport in 2019.

“It’s actually been a textbook route from customer racing into the works team for me,” said Morris, who won the British GT title in 2017. “I first raced the Bentley Continental GT3 in 2016 for Team Parker Racing in British GT, which we went on to win.

“I then stepped up to the Blancpain GT Series with Team Parker, while still contesting the British series with JRM. Thanks to race wins with both, I was selected last year to join the works team at the Total 24 Hours of Spa and then again at Suzuka 10 Hours. Now, I stand here in 2020 as a fully-fledged works team driver. Bentley promised to nurture talent through its programmes, and I can’t wait to start my career as a Bentley Boy.”

Bentley’s Director of Motorsport, Paul Williams, added: “We’ve been very careful to grow and adapt our programme in a way that is sustainable for us and beneficial to both our new and old customers, and I am very pleased that we have attracted teams that operate at the highest level. Bentley Team M-Sport has been instrumental in enabling us to grow our customer programme and build the Continental GT3s required for 2020, while also preparing for Bathurst 12 Hours and planning an extensive test schedule that will benefit all of our teams.”

Bentley are the fifth manufacturer to confirm a full-season Intercontinental programme following announcements by Audi, Honda, Lamborghini and Porsche. More are expected ahead of the championship’s opening round at Bathurst later this month.

Visits to four more iconic circuits on as many continents then follow Australia’s international enduro: the Total 24 Hours of Spa (Europe), Suzuka 10 Hours (Asia), inaugural Indianapolis 8 Hour (USA) and Kyalami 9 Hour (Africa).

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