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Bentley questions Spa 24h BoP after missing Superpole

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Bentley questions Spa 24h BoP after missing Superpole
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Co-author: Heiko Stritzke
Jul 27, 2019, 9:16 AM

Bentley has hit out at the Balance of Performance for this weekend's Spa 24 Hours after none of its four factory cars qualified in the top 20.

Bentley motorsport boss Brian Gush questioned a 20kg swing in minimum weight for this weekend's blue-riband round of the Blancpain GT Series between the British marque's Continental GT3 and the Mercedes-AMG GT3 and the Audi R8 LMS.

"It is is a little bit difficult to understand, because when we won at Paul Ricard last month, we didn't have the quickest car," he told Motorsport.com. "We've gone up 10kg and the Mercedes and the Audi have gone down 10kg, and a 20kg is a lot around Spa."

Jules Gounon, the quickest driver in the #107 Bentley that qualified 21st, claimed that the BoP change had made a significant difference. 

"The BoP has really hurt us here — the car feels good but we don't have the pace," he said. 

Gounon's best time was seven tenths off the fastest lap qualifying lap on Thursday by Yelmer Buurman in the factory Black Falcon Mercedes, which went on to take pole on Friday in the Superpole session in the hands of Maro Engel.

The other M-Sport Bentleys will start the race in 32nd, 36th and 49th positions, with the #110 car that ended up 49th suffering from an ABS problem in qualifying.

#110 M-Sport Team Bentley Bentley Continental GT3: Andy Soucek, Lucas Ordonez, Pipo Derani

#110 M-Sport Team Bentley Bentley Continental GT3: Andy Soucek, Lucas Ordonez, Pipo Derani

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

Gush conceded that the hot weather on Thursday evening when the four Continentals failed to make it through to the Superpole session were a contributing factor in the lack of pace.

Turbocharged cars such as the Bentley were handicapped, with SRO technical director Claude Surmont estimating that the heat cost Bentley and BMW, which also failed to get a car into Superpole, approximately 10bhp. 

He stressed that not all turbo cars were affected in the same way, which explained why two Ferrari 488 GT3s and one Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 made it into Superpole.

"Claude will say it's all down to the barometric pressure and I'll say its all down to the weight," said Gush. "The truth is somewhere in the middle; the weight is a big part of the seven tenths we were missing."

BMW also suffers in the heat

Augusto Farfus, one of the drivers in the Schnitzer BMW M6 GT3 that qualified 31st, told Motorsport.com that the intense heat on Thursday night hurt both the Bavarian marque's handling and engine performance.

"Our car is very sensitive to the temperature," explained Farfus. "This is one of the hottest races we’ve experience, this does not help us, it does not give us any hope when it’s that hot.

"Due to the size of the car, the concept of the car, when you get hot temperatures, purely on a grip level we struggle more than the others. This is the first problem. Second, the engine struggles. Our engine is more sensitive to hot temperatures, especially [compared to] a normally-aspirated engine.

"So we lost a little bit on handling, but also on pure engine performance due to the heat. But the race will be about surviving. If you see the forecast, it’s gonna be crazy rain."

#42 BMW Team Schnitzer BMW M6 GT3: John Edwards, Martin Tomczyk, Augusto Farfus

#42 BMW Team Schnitzer BMW M6 GT3: John Edwards, Martin Tomczyk, Augusto Farfus

Photo by: Erik Junius

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About this article

Series Blancpain Endurance
Event 24 Hours of Spa
Teams M-Sport
Author Gary Watkins