Bentley is throwing its hat in the ring for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb first time, saying it’s targeting a new SUV race record with its Bentayga. The British luxury marque will enter the W12 version, not the slightly less-powerful V8 version that it recently unveiled, when the Race to the Clouds takes place June 24.
The brand’s motorsports department in Crewe, England, is working to develop the vehicle for the 12.42-mile assault under the direction of motorsports director Brian Gush. They’ll be working with a 2017 model and its 6.0-liter W12 engine, which makes 600 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque and goes 0 to 60 in 4 seconds, its all-wheel-drive transmission, four-mode adjustable air suspension and its 48-volt active anti-roll system. A driver will be announced later.
Bentley’s motorsports efforts have mostly focused on GT3 versions of its Continental GT coupe, which have a 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 powering the rear wheels and goes on sale in June, and on special-edition models like the Continental 24. So it’ll be interesting to see how the motorsports crew tunes the Bentayga, which debuted back in 2015 as the brand’s first production SUV and the fastest, most powerful entrant in its segment.
The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is a grueling race up the famed mountain near Colorado Springs, featuring 156 corners and a finish line at 14,115 feet above sea level. This year will be the event’s 96th running.