Bentley Bentayga claims 2018 Pikes Peak record

Bentley Bentayga Pikes Peak honours the British marque’s victory at the international hill climb event.

Rhys Millen has set a new production SUV record in a Bentley Bentayga W12, setting a time of 10min 49.902secs. The previous record was held by Land Rover’s Range Rover Sport, which completed the course in 12min 35.610sec four years ago.

Millen’s Bentayga is a standard, road registered production car built by Bentley’s motorsport department in Crewe. The only modification made to the car, aside from the fitment of a safety cage, was to the front bumper to allow for additional cooling to the 600bhp, twin-turbo 6.0-litre engine. The W12 was also fitted carbon-ceramic brakes, which are an option on Bentayga models, and an Akrapovic exhaust system.

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> Bentley Bentayga review

Commenting on his run, Millen said: “When I reached the first double-apex right hand corner after the start and felt the grip from the tyres and the surface I knew we were on a good run. From there I knew how hard I could push and how fast I could go.

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“Higher up the course you could see where the track was cooling because the weather was coming in, but there was still plenty of grip and I only had to go off-line on two occasions to find the best grip.

“I had a couple of moments higher up the course, maybe lost a couple of seconds in total but I didn’t leave anything on the table. That was my fastest run of the week.”

> Volkswagen ID R smashes Pikes Peak

Bentley is expected to commemorate its Pikes Peak success with a limited edition Bentayga model, with Pikes Peak the racer also expected to be present at next month’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. VW is also expected to bring the I.D R Pikes Peak to the UK event.

> Click here for our review of the Bentley Bentayga W12

Under the lurid satin Radium Green wrap of the Pikes Peak car is a standard production specification Bentayga, bar a few small details. Admittedly, some of those small details mean the loss of 300kg off the kerbweight, because that’s how much is saved by gutting the interior of its electrically-adjusted leather armchairs and thick carpeting. In their place is a full competition bucket seat for Millen and a very sturdy roll cage - the latter a necessity given the potential dangers of the Pikes Peak course, which rises to 14,000 feet with sheer drops down the mountainside as competitors climb higher up the course.  

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The Bentayga used a homologated road tyre and 22-inch wheels from the production range. During preparations the team experimented with anti-roll bars and suspension settings, but gear ratios and engine power will remained untouched to preserve the link with the production car. Having been lent a road-going Bentayga out in the US, Millen developed his own, larger paddles for the eight-speed auto ‘box at Crewe; he drove the car in Sport and manual mode, and his own team will be leading the operation on the ground.

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