Bentley Boy Guy Smith has announced that the upcoming Blancpain GT Series round at Silverstone will be his last for Bentley Team M-Sport. Following a plan made with the team at the end of the 2017 season, Smith will draw an impressive career as a works-team racing driver to a close at the home of British motorsport – a fitting finale for the British Le Mans winner.
Reflecting on his long association with the venerable British manufacturer, Smith said, “This was not an easy decision to make, but the time is right for me to step back and allow some younger talent into my Bentley seat.
“At the end of last year, I decided that I wanted to see the new second-generation Continental GT3 through its first race after being part of its development from the start – and we achieved that at Monza a few weeks ago. It feels right that my final race with the team should be at Silverstone, which has been one of the most important circuits of my career.”
While stepping back from his role in car #7 with Bentley Team M-Sport, Smith will retain his role supporting other Bentley customer teams around the world and remains a Bentley Motorsport test and development driver. After a 17-year association with the brand, including an outright victory at the 2003 Le Mans 24 Hours with the Bentley Speed 8, Smith will also continue to be an ambassador for Bentley.
Smith then concluded, “It’ll be an emotional race for me, but I’m hoping to be with the team at the other endurance races this year, and I’m looking forward to focusing on my business projects and supporting our customer teams. I’d like to thank everyone at the outstanding operation that is Bentley Team M-Sport for all the hard work and results we’ve achieved together in GT3 over the last five years.”.
Smith’s seat in the #7 car will be taken by South African racer Jordan Pepper, who has previously raced for Bentley customer teams in Europe where he demonstrated remarkable pace and racecraft.
“I’ve been working with Guy for almost 20 years, and he’s always been the epitome of the professional racer. While we’ll all be sorry to see him step back from Bentley Team M-Sport, I’m delighted that he stays a member of the Bentley Motorsport family and that he’s taken this decision at the time that feels right for him,” said Bentley’s Director of Motorsport, Brian Gush.
“I look forward both to working with Guy in the future and to welcoming Jordan Pepper to Bentley Team M-Sport, we are confident he will race well with his new car #7 team-mates Steven Kane and Jules Gounon.”
Guy Smith will begin the last race of his career in the feature race at the Blancpain GT Series 3 Hours of Silverstone this weekend.