Team Parker Racing travelled to the Nürburgring with its Bentley Continental GT3 for round two of the GT World Challenge Endurance Cup at the weekend (September 4-6), but contact from another car in the opening laps cost any chance of a good result.
After a brake failure hampered the chances of Bentley Motorsport Academy members Frank Bird, Euan McKay, and Nicolai Kjærgaard at Imola last time out, hopes were high for a strong performance to get their Silver Cup class campaign back on track.
With Nicolai starting the six-hour race, he kept out of trouble on the opening lap before the Safety Car was called to recover several stricken machines. Ready to take the restart a couple of laps later, he noticed cars ahead accelerate then brake, so also slowed down, but the car behind didn’t do so in time, making heavy contact with the diffuser and rear wheel.
The Danish racer brought the Bentley back to the pits and hard work by the team to repair the damage meant the Bentley returned to the race, but some six laps down, removing any chance of making significant progress.
Despite the setback, Nicolai, Euan, and Frank dug deep and put in competitive lap times which, under normal circumstances, might have left the trio in with a chance of a podium finish, with their efforts paying off in the final stages as they claimed eighth place in the Silver Cup.
Penrith-born Bird and the other two drivers will return to action in the Bentley Motorsport Academy Continental GT3 on September 29/30, when they take part in the official two-day test ahead of this year’s 24 Hours of Spa, which is set for October 22-25.
Frank Bird: “It was a tough weekend. We struggled a little in sector one but were competitive in sectors twoand three and the team were fantastic and worked flat-out all weekend. Nicolai started the race and was hit from behind on the Safety Car restart, but the team fixed the diffuser really quickly and he drove well after that. Euan did a nice and consistent stint and it was going well for me before I had a little spin at the chicane. I set good lap times and even passed the Silver Cup leader and kept the car behind me, which was good, but overall, it was a frustrating weekend. We have the Spa test next and the circuit should suit the Bentley a bit more so I’m looking forward to it and hopefully we can get some good data for the 24 Hours.”
Pictures courtesy of Drew Gibson/Bentley Motorsport