Bent­ley plays down spec­u­la­tion over LMP2 pro­gramme

Motor Sport News - - Racing News -

Bent­ley Mo­tor­sport man­ager Brian Gush has poured cold wa­ter on spec­u­la­tion that the Bri­tish firm is close to sign­ing off on an LMP2 pro­gramme with which it would make its sportscar re­turn.

The Crewe mar­que was linked this week with a re­turn to sportscar com­pe­ti­tion in the LMP2 divi­sion. Com­ments made by Bent­ley head Wolf­gang Durheimer led to re­ports that the team had be­gun re­search and was close to test­ing a mod­i­fied ver­sion of the four-litre twin-turbo V8 it runs within the Con­ti­nen­tal GT3 race cars, with a view to pow­er­ing one of the spec chas­sis that are be­ing brought in for LMP2 from 2017 on­wards.

Bent­ley’s fo­cus was pri­mar­ily said to be on the IMSA United Sportscar Cham­pi­onship in Amer­ica along with out­ings in the Euro­pean Le Mans Se­ries. Both se­ries would have al­lowed Bent­ley to run its own en­gine along with cus­tomised bodywork to brand the car.

It would have marked Bent­ley’s first foray into sportscar com­pe­ti­tion since it last won Le Mans in 2003 with the Speed 8 LMGTP ma­chine. How­ever, Gush told MN’S sis­ter pub­li­ca­tion Au­tosport: “Yes we would like to do it and, yes, it would make a lot of sense be­cause it is a good fit, but it re­mains on the back­burner. We don’t have the plan­ets aligned just yet.”

Gush cited the cur­rent fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties with Bent­ley’s par­ent com­pany, the Volk­swa­gen Group, amid its emis­sions scan­dal as a prime rea­son any plans had stalled at this cur­rent time.

“There are a lot of things we can’t dis­cuss, but ev­ery­one is look­ing at what is go­ing on with the group,” added Gush. “At the mo­ment we are happy to con­cen­trate on GT3.”

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