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Bentley is a company steeped in, nay built upon, motorsports. A brand that first grew its reputation at Le Mans, and continues to compete in sports car racing to this day. But off-road racing? That's a new one on us...
Nevertheless, Bentley is going to put its W12-engined Bentayga SUV to the ultimate challenge - the 4,302-metre, 156-corner Pikes Peak hillclimb in Colorado.
It's a legend of US motor sports, Pikes Peak, and has been won over the years by such various superstars as Mario Andretti (in a modified version of his 1967 Indycar), Ari Vatanen (in the legendary Pikes Peak 405 T16), and Sebastian Loeb (in an 875hp Peugeot 208).
We're not sure yet just how modified the Bentayga to be used at the Peak will be, but we do know that it will keep the standard 600hp, 900Nm W12 twin-turbo engine, and the 48-volt active anti-roll system. The Peak was, some years ago, transformed from its original dirt-road layout to a fully tarmac road course, so traction and off-road ability are not as important as once they were - this a contest of sheer grunt now. Bravery, too, for the driver has to somehow blot out those precipitous drops - half way to airliner altitude at the highest points - as they keep the hammer firmly down.
Leading the project is Bentley's Director of Motorsport, Brian Gush, who comments: "Since its launch, the Bentayga has set the luxury SUV benchmark with its unique combination of bespoke British craftsmanship, performance and grand touring ability. We hope to set another benchmark at the 2018 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb by conquering the most demanding mountain road course in the world."
The car will be prepared at Bentley's HQ in Crewe, in the UK, and more details on the car and the team behind it will be given in due course ahead of the running of the event on the 24th of June.