Bentley Unveils Pikes Peak Racer & New Fuel Initiative
The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb event, held in the mountainous ranges of Colorado in the U.S., along a tortuous 20km course, is a beacon to car manufacturers wanting to stretch their performance muscles.
Bentley has done so, successfully, several times, and is doing so again this year, but with more than just a mighty sports car and thoughts of record-breaking times in mind.
Instead, its assault on the hill climb course will be part of a new sustainability initiative, with the company announcing a renewable fuels research and development program to be spearheaded by its new Continental GT3 Pikes Peak race car – a car it says is the most extreme road-car-based Bentley in its history.
The car will be the first competition Bentley to run on renewable fuel, ahead of a goal to offer sustainable fuels to Bentley’s customers around the world.
The GT3 will run the course on a biofuel-based gasoline. Various blends of fuels are currently being tested and evaluated and Bentley says this first step marks the start of a longer project that will investigate both biofuels and e-fuels for their potential to power the Bentleys of past and present in a sustainable way.
Bentley has already announced – via its Beyond 100 project – that its entire model range will be offered with Hybrid variants by 2023, and that the company will manufacture only Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) models by 2030.
Combustion-engine Bentleys will still be produced for the next nine years and with more than 80 per cent of all Bentleys ever built still on the road, the company says that a genuinely sustainable renewable fuel offering will allow customers to enjoy their current and classic vehicles responsibly for years to come.
The engine in the GT3 Pikes Peak is a racing power unit, developed from the 4.0-litre turbo V8 fitted to the Continental GT V8. Engine modifications, together with the use of biofuel will, Bentley says, ensure the engine develops significant horsepower despite the rarefied conditions it will operate in on the Pikes Peak course.
Testing and development of the car is continuing ahead of the Hill Climb event in June.
13 May 2021