Bentley will make their first steps into motorsport since the end of the 24 Hours of Le Mans Speed 8 program in the burgeoning GT3 category with a car based on the new Continental GT Speed road car.

In development at Bentley’s Crewe factory the project is being led by Bentley’s Director of Chassis, Powertrain and Motorsport, Brian Gush the same man who masterminded the team behind Bentley’s 1-2 finish at La Sarthe in 2003.

“The clear message from our customers is that Bentley belongs on the racetrack, and the Continental GT3 is the realisation of a dream we’ve had ever since the launch of the Continental GT,” said Dr Wolfgang Schreiber, Bentley’s Chairman and Chief Executive.

“The new GT Speed is the perfect car for us to develop into a racer, and our work so far has shown huge potential. The Continental GT3 is set to show the world what the Continental GT is capable of in its most extreme form, and establishes a solid foundation for Bentley’s long-term motorsport plans.”

The concept now having received the backing of the FIA the team will now embark on a full development and testing program through the 2013 season with the intention of making a racing debut late in the year.

In GT3 specification the car can compete in a number of series, most notably the Avon Tyres British GT Championship and the Blancpain Endurance Series. The car would also be eligible for some of the most prestigious 24 Hour crowns, including races at Spa-Francorchamps and the Nurburgring.