Will the formidable Bentley Continental GT3, the only British contender, succeed in asserting its exclusive lineage amongst the other cars in the Pirelli-tyred FIA GT3 category?
Despite its imposing size the Continental GT3 appears to be even more competitive and driver-friendly than its predecessor, which you may recall won the Blancpain Endurance Cup in 2017 with Bentley Team M-Sport: a car that has, to date, snapped up more than 120 podium finishes and nearly 50 outright victories.
Thanks to additional fine-tuning of the previous model, this year the beast from Crewe - the British marque's historic home - has benefited on the racetrack from a major upgrade to the cooling system, now positioned right behind the large and distinctive front grille.
Still under the bonnet is the 4.0 V8 biturbo engine which, even with the air restrictor imposed by the organisers to balance the performance of the competing cars, delivers power in the region of 600 horsepower. The exact figure is impossible to find out. It is rumoured that, with the appropriate adjustments and in the absence of restrictions, this engine could almost touch 1000 horsepower.
The car weighs less than 1300 kg, roughly one ton less than the comfortable road version. The air shock absorbers and sumptuous interiors have been eliminated to make room for an abundance of carbon fibre and ultra-light composite materials: necessary steps to make the Continental GT3 as frugal as possible on its Pirelli Corsa tyres and also more agile around the most packed and winding circuits.