CEO says it would be “hard to imagine” Bentley never racing again, with return to endurance racing possible
Bentley will continue to evaluate motorsport opportunities for the future, despite confirming last week that it will end its factory GT3 programme with the Continental at the end of this season, chairman and CEO Adrian Hallmark has told Autocar.
“For us to never race again would be hard to imagine,” said Hallmark. “In the first 11 years of the company, racing was one of the key foundations of the Bentley brand, and for [company founder] WO, it was central to what he set out to achieve.
“We will be constantly scanning the racing environment for opportunities. We only really want to do it if it is using renewable tech that is applicable for the road, as the learnings have to be connected, but we will see what’s out there. Watch this space – and trust that we are not oblivious to the benefits of going racing.”
One route in would potentially be via new endurance racing rules that allow for manufacturers to either develop their own pure-bred hypercars – as Toyota and Peugeot are doing – or develop road car-derived bodywork over one of four standard bodies, utlilising complex hybrid tech, as Porsche and Audi have indicated they will do from 2023. The latter regulations will also be allowed in US racing championships, potentially giving the cars a broader appeal.
“We have to look at the technology involved,” said Hallmark, citing Bentley’s plans to launch its first EV in 2025 and offer a fully electrified range from 2030. “A 24-hour race for electric cars feels some way off, but relevant technology will always be appraised.”
Hallmark talked down the chance of hydrogen being a relevant technology, though, saying: “The economics of it just don’t make sense at the moment. Mass hydrogenation is not practical at the moment, although that may change.”