If you were taken by surprise last year with Bentley’s run up the hill at Pikes Peak, you weren’t alone. The opulent automaker sent a Bentley Bentayga SUV racing up the mountain, and it wasn’t just there for show. With noted Pikes Peak veteran Rhys Millen at the wheel, the big people mover actually set a new production SUV record. Now, Bentley is planning a return to the Colorado mountain later this year with its sights set on another record, only this time the goal is a bit more ambitious. The ultra-luxury brand hopes to set a new production car record with its big grand touring machine, the Continental GT.
If that sounds strange, again, you’re not alone. The Continental GT certainly has power to spare, courtesy of its twin-turbo W12 producing 626 horsepower (467 kilowatts). That power goes to all four wheels through an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, and at full blast, the big GT will do 207 mph. However, the key word in that sentence is big, because the Continental boasts a long wheelbase that carries no less than 2.5 tons of two-door elegance. That’s not an insignificant amount of mass to carry up a mountain, but the plush GT car will have an advantage behind the wheel as Millen is slated to return as the Continental’s driver.
Gallery: Bentley Continental GT Pikes Peak
“Bentley’s success last year along with the experience we gained will prove to be instrumental in preparing for our return to the mountain,” said Brian Gush, Bentley’s motorsport director. “The challenge to set the outright record for production cars is not one we underestimate, but we are confident in the combination of our W12 engine, the dynamic ability of the new Continental GT and the outstanding skill of Rhys Millen.”
Details on the car or the planned run aren’t available as-of-yet, but presumably, the Continental GT will be in near-stock trim similar to the Bentayga with the only changes being for safety. As for the specific record, it’s unclear exactly what kind of time Bentley will be shooting for, as very few manufacturers are interested in setting such records at Colorado. We can’t help but think there are other all-wheel-drive production vehicles that could outrun the big Bentley up the hill – the Lamborghini Aventador immediately comes to mind – so the Continental could gain the title simply by showing up to the party.
Then again, we can’t think of a snazzier way to climb a mountain than nestled into the comfortable confines of a Bentley.
CONTINENTAL GT TO SUMMIT PIKES PEAK
- Bentley returns to legendary Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
- W12-powered Continental GT seeks production car record
- Two-time champion Rhys Millen returns to Bentley
- Follows successful securing of Production SUV record in 2018
(Crewe, 25 March 2019) Bentley Motors is set to return to the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on 30th June 2019, aiming to capture the production car record with the Continental GT.
Powered by the world’s most advanced 12-cylinder engine, the Continental GT will aim to set an outright record as it summits the 12.42-mile, 156-corner course in Colorado Springs, USA.
Developing 626 bhp and 900 Nm of torque, the new Continental GT’s hand built W12 engine effortlessly accelerates from 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds, complimented by an advanced 48-volt roll control system for extraordinary dynamic ability. Twin-scroll turbochargers minimising turbo response time coupled with high and low pressure direct fuel injection optimise power and torque delivery.
Joining forces with Bentley, former “King of the Mountain” Rhys Millen’s unrivalled experience and ability at Pikes Peak will push the Continental GT to the limit at one of the world’s most challenging motorsport events.
Rhys commented: “When I learned of Bentley’s plans to compete at Pikes Peak for a second time, the decision to work together again was an easy one. The Continental GT and its W12 provide us with the perfect platform to begin chasing a new record, and I am looking forward to once again being part of the Bentley Motorsport team that will prepare the car over the coming months.”
Following Millen’s record-setting run in the Bentley Bentayga at Pikes Peak in 2018, Bentley’s motorsport department - based at the company’s headquarters in Crewe, England - has already begun preparing the new Continental GT for the 2019 record attempt.
Bentley’s Director of Motorsport, Brian Gush, comments:
“Bentley’s success last year along with the experience we gained will prove to be instrumental in preparing for our return to the mountain. The challenge to set the outright record for production cars is not one we underestimate, but we are confident in the combination of our W12 engine, the dynamic ability of the new Continental GT and the outstanding skill of Rhys Millen.”
Further details about the project will be announced in due course. More information about the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb can be found at http://ppihc.org/fans/.