On the occasion of his 40th birthday, Bentley Boy Guy Smith handed a present to Bentley – its first-ever race win in North America. Additionally, he also helped prove the Bentley Continental GT3 as a winner by delvering the fastest lap in morning practice, pole position in the afternoon and a race win in the evening. Smith also set the fastest race lap of the day which gives him pole position for tomorrow’s season-ending Pirelli World Challenge at Miller Motorsports Park. In a day of firsts, it was also his inaugural win in the Pirelli World Challenge in just his third race – and third pole position – in the series.
“I quite like being 40 – it seems to be a good age for me,” said Smith. “Thanks to Dyson Racing Team Bentley and Bentley for giving me such a good car. It was great this morning in practice and qualifying.”
Upon the start of the race, Smith fell to sixth at the first corner, but the race went full-course yellow after an incident on the starting grid and stayed that way for the first 13 minutes of the 50-minute event. The rolling restart played to Smith’s and the Continental GT3’s strengths. “I did the restart just like I do in Europe – foot on the brakes and hold it in second gear coming down to the green,” Smith said. “And when we got the green I just pushed it to the limit of the car.”
Bentley Motors, Inc. President and CEO, Christophe Georges commented, “With the fastest lap and a first-place finish today, the Continental GT3 is now a proven winner in both North America and Europe. We’re elated with today’s results. The team put in a tremendous effort for this final competition of our inaugural season and I’m proud to share this excitement with our friends and fans.”
It is a big day for everyone at Bentley and the team,” noted Chris Dyson, Vice President and Sporting Director for the team. “We are absolutely thrilled that this win comes on Guy’s 40th birthday. He is such a big part of the Bentley culture and Bentley folklore and for us to be part of it here in North America is very gratifying.
“And you have one of our longest-serving drivers, Butch Leitzinger, coming in third for his second podium in three races, which only adds icing to the cake” Dyson continued. “This is a great day all the way around for Bentley and we are very happy for them.”
Leitzinger had an equally exciting to his position on the podium. He fell from third to eighth at the start, but over the course of the race used his speed and experience to put the second Bentley Continental GT3 back up to third at the finish, less than a tenth of a second behind the runner-up, Johnny O’Connell. On the penultimate lap Leitzinger passed O’Connell’s Cadillac teammate, Andy Pilgrim, after a duel that lasted for much of the race.
“It was great racing with Andy Pilgrim,” Leitzinger said. “He gave a master class in defending his position, cleanly and in a way that kept me at bay for a long time. I always like racing with Johnny. We had a dice on the last lap and he could have been aggressive with me but he was fair.
“This is a great day for Bentley. Guy drove a fantastic race. It was great fun and I was very glad to be on the podium with him. Guy did a brilliant job and I am glad to be part of this historic day for Bentley.”
Source. Dyson Racing