This Bentley Continental GT was built for ice racing

feedback@motor1.com (Jeff Perez)
Bentley Continental GT Ice Racing

It'll compete at the GP Ice Race in Austria in just a few days.

The normal Bentley Continental GT is no race car. The fancy coupe feels more at home on the Autobahn than it does carving up any track. But this one is a bit different. Specially prepared to compete in the second-annual GP Ice Race in Austria, the one-off Conti has all the right pieces in place for carving up ice and snow.

But the updates to this Continental are mostly skin deep. It wears a Pikes Peak-inspired black-and-baby-blue livery, an appropriate bespoke Bentley ski rack (with branded Bomber for Bentley Centenary Edition skis), a large LED light bar on its roof, and new studded Pirelli Scorpion tyres to help with grip. Otherwise, the factory twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre W12 good for 626 bhp (467 kilowatts) and 664 pound-feet (900 Newton-meters) of torque carries over.

Bentley Continental GT Ice Racing
Bentley Continental GT Ice Racing
Bentley Continental GT Ice Racing

That factory motor should be more than enough in these conditions, though. The Continental GT hits 60 miles per hour (96 kilometres per hour) in just 3.6 seconds and will continue on to a top speed of 207 mph (321 kmh) – not that we'll see anything close to those speeds at this event. The only things that change mechanically are the exhaust – an aftermarket Akrapovic kit gives this Conti GT a meaner sound – and the ride height. In order to cope with the snow, Bentley lifted the car by 15 millimetres (0.6 inches). While in-car, Bentley fitted a rear roll cage, an on-board fire suppression system, and racing seats and harnesses.

Behind the wheel of the Continental GT when it hits the ice will be Junior World Rally Championship driver and a daughter of a former rally driver, Catie Munnings. Munnings has an FIA European Rally Championship Ladies Trophy under her belt and even used to host the TV program, "Catie's Amazing Machines," on CBeebies show here in the U.K.

"The opportunity to race with Bentley at Zell am See is one that I couldn't miss. I'm completely blown away by the car, and I actually still can't believe I'm getting let loose in a Bentley to do an ice race. I spent some time on ice in the car just before Christmas. At first I thought it would feel heavy, but I was amazed by how dynamic, nimble and responsive it is. It can dance like a lightweight rally car, and I can't wait to race it at such an iconic event."

This is the second-annual GP Ice Race, following the event's revival last year, and kicks off in Austria on 2 February. The race uses a 600-metre (1,960-foot) frozen track carved from snow and includes two events: standard racing and an exhibition of "skijoring," in which the car tackles the track with a skier behind it.

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