Bentley’s new Continental GT3 racecar makes its eagerly-anticipated Gulf 12 Hours debut today at the famous Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi.

This is a test race for the Continental GT3 as part of a comprehensive development programme in preparation for the 2014 Blancpain Endurance Series.  Bentley’s is eyeing a return to mainstream racing for the first time since the celebrated Speed 8 won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2003.

“After four months of hard work and development testing, we definitely feel ready to start focusing on our race performance. Running the car against the competition for the first time is really exciting, and I’m thrilled to be back behind the wheel of a Bentley race car,” said British racer Guy Smith, who won Le Mans for Bentley and leads this new team of Bentley Boys. 

He is joined by Northern Irishman Steven Kane, who brings a wealth of recent GT3 experience. Steven has also been involved in the car’s development since its unveil at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July and says.

Completing the all-Brit Bentley cast is Andy Meyrick. After a successful season competing in the Blancpain Endurance Series and racing the revolutionary DeltaWing in the USA, Andy joins Team M-Sport Bentley for the Gulf 12 Hours.

“It’s been a very busy year for the team but we’re on schedule and exactly where we wanted to be – at our first test race with a car that has serious pace and strong reliability, as should be the case for any Bentley. Racing with the Continental GT is a dream I’ve had ever since we launched the first generation in 2003 and while our focus in Abu Dhabi is on gaining more data during our testing phase, it feels great to be back in a competitive race environment,” said Brian Gush, Bentley’s Director of Motorsport and head of the Continental GT3 programme.

Bentley’s new racer has been developed with the help of motorsport technical partner M-Sport Ltd using decades of motorsport experience to help turn the road-going Continental GT into a thoroughbred race car.