30 October 2021 |

GT World Challenge Australia could welcome Bentley

Popular GT3 marque Bentley could potentially join the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia grid as soon as the next round, but this depends on a test at Bathurst.

GT Trophy competitor Mike Bailey recently purchased the ex-Maranello Motorsport Bentley Continental GT3 previously driven by John Bowe, David Brabham and owner Peter Edwards.

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“The Bentley is something I’ve always loved, as soon as I saw it at Bathurst it sounded like a bloody Merlin engine was going past,” Bailey said.

“When I found out there was one over here sat dormant, it curdled my heart.

“I said to (Bespoke Motor Cars’) Jordan (Roddy), ‘find it, get it’.

“We call it the ‘Jolly Green Giant’ because it is absolutely stunning.”

Compared to his usual Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 he has already noticed distinct differences even though he is yet to test the Bentley.

“I’m a fairly big fellow and in the Aston it’s quite hard to really sit in and not be overly hot, so I think driving around the big Bentley will give me a bit more room to swing my elbows around,” Bailey described.

“I think I got the bug being at Bathurst the last time, so I’ll have to do it even harder.

“The Bentley doesn’t feel as connected as the Aston, which is very much fly by the seat of your pants. You can feel every bump, nook and cranny, plus the drama of the noise, but in the Jolly Green Giant it’s not as noisy.

“At this stage, I reckon it’s more of an endurance car, but the Bentley is definitely a grand tourer.

“I mean the Bentley is a serious tool, but it is more comfortable to drive.”

Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series driver Dylan O’Keeffe will handle the shakedown duties next week before Bailey gets his first sample of the Bentley at Challenge Bathurst.

After the event, Bailey will make a decision to contest the final round either in his usual Aston Martin or the Bentley.

“It depends how Challenge Bathurst goes,” Bailey said.

“If I like it, I might stick with it.”

The final round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS will be at Bathurst on November 30-December 5.