The Volkswagen Group is going all-out at Pikes Peak this year. First, Volkswagen itself will be chasing the electric car record on the American hillclimb, while subsidiary Bentley will also be after a record of its own.
The Crewe manufacturer is aiming for the production SUV record at the Colorado event, with legendary drifter, racer, and Pikes Peak competitor Rhys Millen behind the wheel of a lightly-modified Bentayga. When we say 'lightly-modified', the car of course has a roll cage, fire suppression system and racing seat as any other competition car would, but the rules also stipulate that some of the interior trim has to be temporarily removed, so that's gone – a staggering 660 lbs (300 kg) of it in fact, giving a good idea of just how much has gone into the interior of the Bentayga. The tyres are also specially selected from Pirelli’s DOT-marked range.
Engine-wise it's the same 600 bhp W12 from the road car, while the road-spec adaptive air suspension and 48V electric active anti-roll control are also fitted, along with a sports exhaust from Akrapovic completes and the factory option Bentley Styling Specification kit – which adds a carbon fibre front splitter, diffuser, side skirts and aerodynamic rear spoiler.
'We’ve honed the Bentayga’s incredible abilities and ensured we have a car for Pikes Peak that’s both safe and fast through two very productive test sessions with the Bentley Motorsport team,' said Millen, who was the 2012 and 2015 overall winner and modified electric record holder at Pikes Peak. 'The course is one you can only attack with a car that can gain and lose speed very quickly, because it’s so tight and twisty. The combination of 600bhp, 664 lb ft and carbon ceramic brakes means that the Bentayga can accelerate and decelerate incredibly hard – and that’s what I’ll be counting on for my run. I can’t wait to get started at the mountain later this week.'