Bentley is planning to re-enter the prototype racing scene once again, this time using an LMP2 car which is currently under development. The car will be eligible to race in various prototype series across the world including the European Le Mans Series, FIA WEC and the IMSA sanctioned SportsCar Championship in North America.
The test car is currently fitted with a Ginetta LMP3 chassis and Bentley’s own V8 twin-turbo engine. That qualifies it for the newly formed IMSA DP-i category which allows LMP2 cars to use a wide variety of engines, as opposed to current rules which only allow a single engine supplier – Gibson Technology is the current engine supplier for LMP2 cars in IMSA. The new rules will take effect from 2017 onwards.
That said, Bentley’s new LMP2 will begin its racing campaign in 2017 when the new rules take effect. As for the chassis, the Ginetta LMP3 platform is only being used during the testing phase. DP-i cars will receive a new chassis developed by any of the four constructors approved by FIA, IMSA and Automobile Club l’Ouest (ACO). The constructors are Dallara, Onroak Automotive, ORECA and Riley/Multimatic.
Bentley has already enjoyed success in GT racing with the Continental GT3 car but this is the first attempt in prototype racing in over a decade. The last prototype race for Bentley was in 2003 where they won Le Mans 24 Hours with the Bentley Speed 8.
Each time Bentley makes a comeback into racing or a racing category, they have always succeeded with notable victories as seen with the Continental GT3. Likewise, when the Bentley Speed 8 was introduced in 2001, this was the first race for Bentley in 73 years, the 2003 Le Mans win sealed a successful campaign with the Speed 8 which was then retired after that season.