Team M-Sport Bentley opened their 2014 racing account with a strong performance at the first race of the Blancpain Endurance Series in Monza, Italy. The Series features Grand Tourer genre of racing cars, which are modified versions of their production models under Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile's (FIA) GT3 and GT4 regulations. After three hours of racing in tough conditions at the famous circuit, the two Continental GT3s crossed winning line in 7th and 8th positions. Car 8, driven by Antoine Leclerc, Jérôme D’Ambrosio and Duncan Tappy moved from 13th on the grid to finish 7th, just ahead of Car 7 piloted by Andy Meyrick, Guy Smith and Steven Kane.
Brian Gush, Bentley’s Director of Motorsport, said, “This weekend has been a very good opening test of our cars and team. We’ve learnt a great deal and have many areas where we can make small improvements, but the whole team worked extremely hard and we’re very pleased with two top ten finishes in our first competition race. During the race the cars were strong and our drivers put in great performances, and I’m looking forward to being able to build from here at the next race at Silverstone.”
The race, which is already been known as a tough championship, became even more arduous after Saturday's qualifying session. With Steven Kane having set the fourth fastest lap time, on his final lap just before the end of the session he carried too much speed in to the Ascari chicane and hit the wall nose-first. Fortunately, a combination of the strength of the Continental GT body from which the GT3 is built and the skill of the mechanics from M-Sport Bentley meant an overnight rebuild was possible, and by 10am on Sunday morning the car was ready to race.