Team Parker Racing has named the drivers selected to take part in the newly-launched Bentley Motorsport Academy programme this season.
British racers Frank Bird and Euan McKay will be joined by Denmark's Nicolai Kjærgaard in the squad's Continental GT3, competing for Silver Cup honours in the five-round Endurance championship.
The successful trio were chosen following a test at Portimão in December, which saw six finalists assessed by the British brand. The programme's long-term aim is to unearth the next generation of Bentley factory racers.
24-year-old McKay is the most experienced of the trio, having contested Endurance Cup with Oman Racing by TF Sport in 2018 before switching to the GT4 European Series last term. 20-year-old Bird steps up from Formula Renault Eurocup, which runs in support of GT World Challenge Europe. Kjærgaard, who is also 20, finished as BRDC British F3 runner-up in 2018 before switching to Euroformula Open last term.
French racer Pierre-Alexandre Jean will also take part in the Academy’s training programme. The 18-year-old was recently confirmed as part of Bentley squad CMR's full-season plans for the season ahead.
“We’re over the moon with the three drivers," said team boss Stuart Parker. "We think there’s great potential individually, and particularly as a collective, so it is a very exciting time. That part of the programme is over, and we can’t wait to get the real work started now.
“The simplest factor is speed in the car and all three showed well during the assessment with that, but there was also the ability to learn and listen to what they were told by the engineers and how they interacted with the team. These guys stood out and it was a unanimous decision in the end. Everybody felt the same way and we genuinely feel there is potential for all three to work together."
All of the brand's new recruits will be present for the GT World Challenge Europe test days at Circuit Paul Ricard on 12-13 March. The season-opening race takes place at Monza over the weekend of 18-19 April.