SET to wear a special one-off livery and carry the number 100 to celebrate the brand’s centenary, Bentley’s Continental GT is ready for its assault on the outright production car record at Pikes Peak on June 30.
Known as the race to the clouds, the legendary Pikes Peak hill climb is now in its 97th year, with a total of 69 cars and 29 motorcycles this year chasing various records across the event, in a range of categories.
Having set the record for a production SUV at Pikes Peak last year with a Bentley Bentaya, Bentley Motors is set to attempt to break the outright production car record in a brand new Continental GT later this month.
The current record and time to beat is 10min 26.9 seconds. For the record, its SUV covered the climb in 10min 49.9 seconds – taking nearly two minutes off the previous record.
“We have taken much learning from our successful visit to Pikes Peak last year with the Bentley Bentayga and applied it to our preparations this time around,” Bentley’s director of motor sport, Brian Gush said.
“The extreme conditions of Pikes Peak pose a significant challenge. With the start line being at 9,300ft and climbing to 14,100ft the air is 1/3rd less dense than at sea level,” he said.
“The weather will also play a vital role in the run as 90 degree [Fahrenheit] temperatures and clear skies can change to snow in a matter of minutes.”
The lack of oxygen will also impact driver Rhys Millen, who will have an on-board oxygen system fed into his helmet to reduce any effect of altitude sickness. Millen is a veteran of the event, and a former ‘king of the mountain’.
“In the Pikes Peak environment it [Continental GT] really checks every box as the most competitive vehicle you could arm yourself,” Millen said. “This is one run, one day of the year. You have to be calm, be focused and process everything that you have to.”
The Continental GT is equipped with the highly-capable and dynamic W12 engine has undergone extensive testing in order to prepare both car and driver for the record attempt.
Other vehicles taking on the mountain, in various categories, include a 2019 Nissan Leaf and 2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody (Time Attack), and a 2019 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat (in the same Exhibition category as the Bentley.
The field also includes an array of one-off custom offerings, in both the car and motorcycle categories, as well as number of high performance bikes. The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will be held on June 30.