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Bentley has announced Spa 24 Hours winner Jules Gounon as the replacement for Oliver Jarvis in the team’s Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup and Intercontinental GT Challenge line-ups for 2018.
The son of nine-time grand prix starter Jean-Marc, Gounon partnered Markus Winkelhock and Christopher Haase to victory in the Blancpain series’ staple race in a Sainteloc Audi R8, and also won the ADAC GT title in Germany driving for the Callaway Corvette team.
The Frenchman will share Bentley’s second generation Continental GT3 with British pair Guy Smith and Steven Kane, after Jarvis signed to race for Mazda Team Joest in the IMSA SportsCar Championship.
Bentley has retained Andy Soucek, Maxime Soulet and Vincent Abril to drive the second M-Sport-run car after finishing runners-up in the Endurance Cup this season.
Bentley’s director of motorsport, Brian Gush said: “Consistency is key for endurance racing so to have five of our drivers back to continue their long-standing relationships with us allows us to get stronger year-on-year and is testament to the loyalty within our team.
“Jules has shown that he has the pace and maturity to fit in to a leading team, despite only being 22 years old, and we’re looking forward to supporting him as he develops his career.
“We’re all looking forward to arriving in Bathurst in February and getting 2018 underway.”
Bentley confirmed that it will continue with the original Continental GT3 for Bathurst, the first round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge in February, before the new car debuts at Monza for the start of the Blancpain GT Series season.