After the initial success of the 1st generation Bentley, during 2017 it was clear that the opponents had move to much more aggressive designs, Not even a favourable BoP to the engine power could help the big Bentley against the Blancpain GT series dominators.
Enter the 2nd generation, based on the brand new road model. Completely redesigned to every single part, focusing to maintain the strong points of the old car while improving on everything else, especially some of the most evident shortcomings.
The new car has a transaxle configuration of engine and gearbox. This means that the gearbox has moved back to the rear axle leaving room for the front mounted engine to be installed more rearwards and lower. This lowers the CoG and moves the weight bias backwards, closer to a 50:50 distribution, greatly benefiting traction and handling. It also permits for all the front radiators to move even more backwards, massively improving the aerodynamic design of the front end. Speaking of front end, it now has a much shorter overhang permitting the car to ride lower without risking of breaking the front splitter over kerbs which was one of the big shortcomings of the original car. Even though the car has a shorter front splitter, it manages to achieve the same high levels of downforce while also controlling the flow to the rest of the body of the car.
The rear placed gearbox is not without compromises. The size and depth of rear diffuser is a tiny bit smaller than the old model, but perfect design and development guarantees similar or better downforce levels. The big difference and main focus of the aerodynamic design was to minimise drag. We all know that the Bentley is a massive car with a big frontal area. Many hours in aero testing have been used to make the car as aerodynamic efficient as possible. Incredibly enough, not only they achieve great improvement but they even improved the looks, which was actually a requirement of the manufacturer as they wanted to maintain the elegant looks for their racing clients. Indeed the car is a stunner!
The 2nd generation Bentley also maintains the same twin turbo engine. A well tested engine, reliable, efficient and powerful in all the power band. It now sports even better electronic control and much improved Traction Control, one of the big issues of the old model. It also keeps the costs controlled as there was no need on developing from scratch a brand new engine.
Being a Bentley it remains a very big car, the wheelbase is almost 3 meters long! The improved weight balance, the lower CoG and the downforce, will definitely let you feel the grip in turn in, mid corner lateral grip and traction out of the corners, but the agility is not the best there is. Still, in GT racing, the gained stability from such a long wheelbase is always an advantage, making the car easy to push and exploit its full potential, especially on long fast sweeps.
The chassis is brand new, with improved stiffness while remaining light. The improved suspension geometry helps to get the most out of the big engine. It pays to setup the car in a way to take advantage of its high levels of grip and stability. You can even get alone with more neutral or even oversteery setups and control the car with the steering wheel and accelerator, out of the corners. Try to take round lines with high mid corner speed. You can force the turn in with a bit of trail braking which in the case of the Bentley will slowly over rotate the car. Don’t exaggerate of course, you still have slicks and high downforce to keep under control. The length of the car and the higher inertia will help you to control better a bit of sliding. Point the car to the exit and unleash the generous V8. As with the first Bentley, the new model also has an excellent behaviour over kerbs. Obviously the car isn’t agile and sometimes you need to be aware where the rear end will be after the turn in (sounds like a truck advice), but you can still jump over the kerbs without the car getting too much out of shape
Same powerful engine as the older model, much improved aerodynamics, brakes, chassis, electronics and suspension, one would think that the Bentley was about to dominate the new season. Balance of Performance has a different idea…
In the testing it got evident how the car was improved all around while the big engine could finally push the car in much higher speeds because of the lower aero drag. As you can imagine, the BoP acts precisely to lower the engine output and bring the acceleration and top speed of the car, back to the levels of the rest of the field. It is actually the first “big” frontal area car that has much less than 550bhp (which usually all the big cars are allowed).
Combining the unexpected BoP and the fact that the car was brand new so the team had to explore its potential, it’s not surprising the during 2018 the car performed well but not exceptionally. An updated BoP update at Barcelona, with even less turbo boost for the final race, hints that the team was finding much pace with the car, but the organisation wanted to limit them for the last race and possibly for the future… 2019 is underway and the car already performs very well.
Original article HERE.
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