Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Frank Bird and Nicolai Kjærgaard make the switch to GT3 as Bentley Motorsport Academy Drivers

Infinity Sports Management are excited to announce two of their talented young racers, Frank Bird and Nicolai Kjærgaard have been selected as first-ever members of the Bentley Motorsport Academy, ahead of their first full season in GT3.

Following a Portimao test session and off-track assessments, which saw the British and Danish drivers impress judges to earn their place in the elite academy. Making the step up to GT racing, Frank and Nicolai will form the GT3 squad for Team Parker Racing, in all five endurance rounds of GT World Challenge Europe. This exciting step benefits them the support of Bentley Motorsport and its existing driver ambassadors, as they aim to become the next generation of Bentley drivers.

Carving his craft in single-seaters, Nicolai finished vice-champion in the BRDC British F3 Championship in 2018, before earning five podiums in Euroformula Open last season. This year will see the Dane make his GT racing debut, after impressing at the test with his ability to adapt to the new machinery, showcasing great improvements over a short period of time.

Nicolai spoke ahead of this exciting year:

“At Portimão there were six drivers, so it was quite challenging, especially for me as it was the first time in the car. It was very exciting to try out the Bentley and now I have been chosen I am very happy.
Going into GT racing it is very good to have a manufacturer like Bentley to learn from, especially in PR and fitness but also in driving the car. They seem to have a good understanding and are good at explaining what you need to do to drive the car quickly. Personally, winning this drive is a big recognition that I am doing a good job, and someone believed I could become a professional racing driver. Professionally it is a great opportunity to learn from some really good guys with a lot of experience, how the endurance world works, and how to drive a GT car.”

Alongside Nicolai and fellow teammate Euan McKay, Frank will race his first full season behind the wheel of a GT3 car. Having raced single-seaters through from Formula 4, Frank has already shown his talents in GT racing by taking victory at the 2018 Hankook 24H Dubai, whilst also earning success in rallying.

Frank commented on the honour:

“It was a huge honour to even be selected to take part in the test. There were three of us on each day, but we weren’t allowed to see lap times or data or anything like that, so we were really in the dark. After the test we had to wait a month to find out if we had done enough and luckily, I did. I can’t believe it really; it is a huge opportunity, so I have to thank Team Parker Racing and Bentley for this.
It is a whole new discipline for me; I have to work with two other drivers. We’re all quite different so hopefully, we can work together, bring the most out of each other and work with the team to produce it on track. Nicolai and I were team-mates three years ago in F4, but I first met Euan at the test. We’ve all got on really well so I think there is a good team dynamic and we’ll work well through the season. Bentley is really passionate about the whole package, not just the driving, and I am really lucky to get this opportunity.”

The season begins with test days at Paul Ricard in France on March 12-13, ahead of the opening round at Monza in Italy one month later. The calendar, which includes the prestigious 24 Hours of Spa, ends at the Nürburgring in Germany in September.

Speaking on this exciting step for both drivers, Infinity Sports Management’s Gary Catt said:

“It’s a huge achievement for both Frank and Nicolai to be inducted into Bentley’s Motorsport Academy programme. Having watched both drivers develop on track, whilst also improving their off-track knowledge by working closely with engineers, this opportunity is an exciting step for their career.
Whilst Frank has shown his natural ability for GT racing previously, Nicolai has also shown great potential at the tests. Together with Team Parker Racing, we’re excited to watch them progress and grow through the year”