SUVs

Bentley preps Bentayga SUV for Pikes Peak assault

Rhys Millen will drive in hopes of capturing a production SUV record.

Bentley

There's never a shortage of action at Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. Previously, manufacturers like Mitsubishi, Acura and Faraday Future have made the trip up the mountain, while Volkswagen has announced that it will enter this year's event with the I.D. R electric prototype. We can now add Bentley to the 2018 entry list with its Bentayga that aims to capture the production SUV record.

To pilot the big Bentayga up the 156-corner course, Bentley has hired two-time Pikes Peak champion Rhys Millen. "The opportunity to race with Bentley at Pikes Peak is one that I couldn't pass up. I visited the Bentley factory in Crewe, England, last month and was amazed at the level of skill that goes in to handcrafting these cars. I also had the chance to drive the race-prepared car for the first time and was blown away by the performance that's already available."

Bentley's Pikes Peak challenger is a mostly stock Bentayga with the exception of important safety equipment including a roll cage, race seat, race harness and fire suppression system. A custom exhaust system has also equipped to help the stock W12 engine with 600 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque exhale easier. The air suspension with electronic antiroll system and the Pirelli tires are exactly the same as what's installed on a Bentayga currently on sale at Bentley dealers.

The Radium Satin-painted racer with carbon fiber body kit is currently undergoing high-speed testing in the US before heading to Colorado. For the trip to be a success Millen must cane the Bentayga up the 12.42-mile course in less than 12 minutes 35.61 seconds, which is the current production SUV record held by a 2014 Range Rover Sport with Paul Dallenbach behind the wheel.

Race day for the 2018 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will take place on Sunday, June 24.

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