Belfast Telegraph

Kane remains a crucial component as Bentley expand their horizons

 

By Sammy Hamill

Steven Kane will remain a Bentley Boy for a fifth successive season with an expanded programme of GT races in 2018.

Ballynahinch-born Kane is one of six drivers signed by Bentley Motorsport to contest the Blancpain European GT Endurance Cup and the International GT Challenge.

They have retained Kane and four of last season's drivers - Guy Smith, Andy Soucek, Maxime Soulet and Vince Abril - and added Spa 24-hours race winner Jules Gounon to the squad that will take part in the Blancpain series with two second generation Bentley Continental GT3s which are being built by the M-Sport organisation, more famous as World Rally Championship constructors champions.

Next year the Bentley team will also complete the entire Intercontinental GT Challenge for the first time, kicking off with the Bathurst 12-hour race in Australia in February.

For homologation reasons, the current Continental GT3 will be used at Bathurst before the updated car, based on the new Continental GT road car, will make its debut in Monza for the opening round of the Blancpain series and will be used to complete the GT Challenge races at Spa, Laguna Seca and Suzuka.

Joining Bentley on the Bathurst grid will be a Strakka Racing team which in 2017 included two other Ulster drivers, Jonny Kane and Andrew Watson.

But after a troubled season in partnership with McLaren Racing, Strakka owner Nick Leventis has called it quits and is switching to Mercedes in 2018. They will field a trio of GT3 Mercedes AMGs in the International GT Challenge and Blancpain series.

Jonny Kane - no relation to Steven - is a long-standing member of the Strakka team and is expected to be retained, but joined via his McLaren Academy connections. Strakka say their line-up will be announced shortly.

Belfast Telegraph

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