Modern Bentley drivers Derek Bell, Guy Smith and Juha Kankkunen were among the crowd favourites in the recently ended 2012 Goodwood Festival of Speed. Just as Bentley showcased its entire vehicle line-up from the past to the future, the trio made sure that festival attendees kept on visiting the carmaker’s stand.
The trio also did not pass on the rare chance to challenge the Goodwood uphill, driving a range of Bentley models. Derek Bell, a five-time Le Mans victor, demonstrated the sporty yet dynamic persona of the high-efficient 500bhp, twin-turbo Continental GT V8 coupe. Guy Smith, who drove the Bentley to victory at the 2003 24 Hours of Le Mans race, relished the moments of his victory by again piloting the Bentley Speed 8 race car.
The highlight of the show belongs to four-time World Rally champion Juha Kankkunen, who was blessed to drive Bentley’s new performance flagship, the 616bhp, twin-turbo W12-engined Continental GT Speed coupe on its international debut. The Continental GT Speed coupe proved its worth as the “fastest ever production Bentley” by challenging the uphill.
Bentley chairman and chief executive, Wolfgang Dürheimer, also took the challenge and cruised up the hill in the 1929 Bentley Blower Team Car. Also present at Bentley’s stand was the new Mulsanne Mulliner Driving Specification (MDS), a driver-focused edition of the Bentley flagship, and the Bentley EXP 9 F SUV Concept. The concept is a preview of the Grand Touring Bentley.
Commenting on the success of Bentley’s presence at the Festival, in its first year as a main sponsor, Mr Dürheimer said: “The atmosphere at Goodwood is unrivalled with the allure of motoring in its many forms uniting car enthusiasts, customers and racing heroes alike. The interest in our cars and our Bentley Boys both on the Bentley stand, in the Paddock and racing up the Hill was incredible. With the exhibition of new models and show cars next to the hill climb event, it is the most entertaining car show I know. On a personal note, the opportunity to drive the Blower, one of the most famous cars in Bentley’s history, was impossible to resist. To be behind the wheel of such a special racer was indeed a privilege.”