Marking a first in the series’ 22-year history, the Bentley marque will enter British GT with the Generation Bentley Racing customer squad, the first Bentley Continental GT3 customer team to be announced since the launch of the exciting new 4.0 litre V8 twin turbo race car in July this year at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Drivers for the new 600+bhp Bentley are the potent pairing of James Appleby and Steve Tandy.
Appleby, 24, from Banbury, initially began his racing career in the SEAT Cupra Championship in 2008. James has since competed regularly in the Aston Martin GT4 at a European level as a Junior Aston Martin Racing team driver and was presented the star of the future award by Aston Martin Racing in 2010.
"From my point of view it’s great to return to racing in the UK again after competing in the European GT4 championship in 2011," said Appleby.
"After having a quiet couple of years since European GT4, it's great to be jumping into the best looking GT3 car on the grid! Myself and Ant Scragg dipped our toe into BGT in 2010 but having not tested on the Avons before the race we struggled to get them working correctly. Since then we've witnessed the British GT championship really flourish with stronger drivers and better presented teams. We have an extensive pre-season testing schedule planned and I think it should stand us in good stead for the season."
Tandy, 60, from Gloucestershire, started his career racing classic sportscars in 2006, becoming a regular in the Group C Championship for prototypes of the 80s and early 90s. In the past two seasons Tandy has made a name for himself in British GT as one of the fastest and most consistent ‘Gentleman’ racers, taking two wins in 2012 with Trackspeed and three podiums in 2013 with 888Optimum.
“It’s a very exciting project to be involved with,” said Tandy. “Bentley has a fantastic heritage and the experience M-Sport has is incredible, they’re such an impressive team that is able to adapt, I have a lot of confidence in what we’re trying to do here. To get in on this project so early is a great opportunity. James is a young, quick driver, David doesn’t cut corners, and the car has gone well in testing. We’ll see how it all goes in the next twelve months, but I’m viewing this as a longer term project anyway and hopefully we can create a special challenger with the Bentley.”
Finally, we spoke with David Appleby, Managing Director, David Appleby Engineering: "Having had enormous success in GT4, we are very excited to be taking it to the next level. The Continental GT3 is a fantastic package of British design and engineering, and it's eligibility for both British GT and Blancpain makes it a perfect race car for us."