BENTLEY TEAM ABSOLUTE PREPARES FOR PIRELLI WORLD CHALLENGE DEBUT
[fusion_text]DALLAS, Texas (March 2, 2016) – Bentley Team Absolute will make its U.S. debut this weekend at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, in the Pirelli World Challenge season opener. Drivers Andrew Palmer (US) and Adderly Fong (HK) will pilot the team’s No. 87 and No. 88 Bentley Continental GT3s.
A staple on the Asian racing scene, with success in the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, GT Asia and Audi R8 LMS Cup Series, Absolute Racing now embarks on an expansion into U.S. motorsports. The team brings with it a strong partnership with Bentley Motorsport. This partnership started in October 2014 with a podium finish in the GT Asia Series at Shanghai and, in the following year, they won the 2015 GT Asia Series team championship.
Powered by a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine, the Bentley Continental GT3 was introduced to race tracks around the globe in 2014. Since then, it has collected sprint and endurance race victories in America, Europe and Asia as well as securing the Blancpain Sprint Series drivers’ title in 2015.
In the Pirelli World Challenge GT category, Bentley Team Absolute will be up against the likes of Porsche, Ferrari, Cadillac, McLaren and Nissan to name a few. The GT class combines on-track with the GTA and GT Cup classes, making for grids in excess of 30 cars. The series travels to 11 circuits across the U.S. and Canada for a total of 20 rounds and employs a mix of standing and rolling starts. Races are 50 minutes in length.
To take on this mammoth challenge, Bentley Team Absolute have recruited a talented pair of drivers in Palmer and Fong. In 2014, Palmer became the youngest Pirelli World Challenge race winner ever (age 19) and followed it up with a phenomenal season in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship winning the 24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans in the Prototype Challenge class. With experience in Formula 3, the GP3 series and even a test role in Formula 1, Fong earned the Audi R8 LMS Cup champion accolade in 2013. Fong’s race-winning performance in the 2015 GT Asia series was key to Bentley Team Absolute’s team title.
Bentley Team Absolute’s quest for victory in the Pirelli World Challenge GT Championship begins with a double-header this weekend at COTA. Palmer has raced at COTA previously, driving a Porsche 997 in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge in 2014. Like all of the circuits on the 2016 Pirelli World Challenge schedule, COTA will be a new experience for Fong.
Live coverage of the Pirelli World Challenge season opener is available on www.world-challenge.com. Saturday’s race is scheduled for 3:30pm ET. Sunday’s race will kick off at 3:15pm ET. The races will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network on Sunday, March 13 at 10:30am ET.
ANDREW PALMER (USA) #87 BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT3
“There is no way around the fact that the car is quick. It has done everything I have wanted it to do coming up to speed. Sitting on the right is a new perspective and I’m proud to say I haven’t tried to get in on the passenger side once! Our shakedown went well and I think we are ready for COTA. The level of our team is very high. I think a lot of the U.S. teams will see this right away. We have already become a family.
“The level of competition in World Challenge is extremely high. I think this year is the best overall group of drivers and cars there has been. In 2014, when I competed, the level was already very high, so I look forward to going toe-to-toe with some of the best GT drivers in the world.”
ADDERLY FONG (HK) #88 BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT3“I’ve been working with Absolute Racing a few years now, and driven the Bentley Continental GT3 for a full season in 2015. It’s the first time Absolute Racing is expanding their GT program into the U.S. In the team for Pirelli World Challenge, we have the addition of a few team members who are from the US: Joe, Shelby, Matt and David. I’ve come to click with these new team members very quickly, so I am looking forward to racing with them in the 2016 season.”
FABIEN FIOR (FRA) TEAM DIRECTOR
“World Challenge has grown a lot in recent years and is now a well-recognized series internationally. It’s the perfect opportunity for Absolute Racing to enter the American racing scene and a perfect challenge to go head-to-head with world-class teams and drivers.
“Absolute Racing has enjoyed a successful relationship with Bentley since 2014 and we hope to continue that success as we set up our new American base in Texas.”[/fusion_text]