Bentley Continental GT3 Takes First Blancpain Win
There are some cars that – by road-going appearances alone – should not be race winners. This year’s Bentley Continental GT3 is one of those cars, but where its road car brethren are heavy hard-chargers, the GT3 is proving to be one of the best silhouette racers of the 2014 Blancpain Endurance Series. In only its second race of the year at the Three Hours of Silverstone, the M-Sport Bentley team brought both its Continental GT3 cars to impressive finishes, the most notable being a first place for the #7 car. Drivers Guy Smith, Andy Meyrick and Steven Kane took the #7 on a Cinderella run from starting fourth on the grid to take the checkered flag. The #8 car, driven by Jerome d’Ambrosio, Duncan Tappy, and Antoine Leclerc encountered a bit more trouble, but worked its way into 15th at the race’s end.
Guy Smith jumped two positions in the #7 car after the start, to claim second position, however a few laps later backmarkers in the way of Smith’s Continental allowed a McLaren to sneak by. Smith’s electric start was further hampered when both Bentley’s were given drive-through penalties for improving sector times under local yellow flags, which dropped Smith to seventh. Quick pit stops allowed both cars to advance in the order.
On the third stint in the #7, Steven Kane made his move on the race-leading #99 McLaren after a safety car compressed the field. With 15 minutes remaining, the M-Sport Continental GT3 took a decisive dive by the McLaren on the inside of Brooklands, nabbing the trophy.
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The #8 car had an equally strong drive, but due to a run-in with a BMW Z4 GT3, the team lost a significant amount of time on its slow in-lap and pit stop. Down in 42nd place, the #8 in the hands of Tappy and Leclerc worked its way resolutely through the field to 15th.
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