Bentley displays 2 iconic racing cars -- 4.5 Litre ‘Blower’ and Continental GT3

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 10, 2015

To celebrate the completion of the 2015 motorsport season and its remarkable run, Bentley is bringing together the Continental GT3 and the 4.5 Litre ‘Blower’. The current version of the GT3 met its 1929 counterpart at the British Racing Drivers’ Club at Silverstone. This Drivers’ Club was founded by Bentley Boy Dudley Benjafield, a Le Mans winner, in 1928.

While the two may have more than 80 years between them, they both have the brand’s passion when it comes to competition, innovation, and most importantly, speed. The Continental GT3 is just in its sophomore year of competing in GT races but Bentley has shown that its motorsports programme has been gaining strength over the year. Teams who participate are expected to race on four different continents.

For the 2015 season, the Continental GT3 has managed to attain multiple pole positions, race wins and podiums. One of Bentley’s biggest wins was the Blancpain Sprint Series and it even obtained the overall team title during the GT Asia Series. Other season highlights include the brand’s best-ever finish during the 24 Hours of Spa. It also led a four-car assault at the Nürburgring 24 Hours and managed to complete the Bathurst 12 Hours. Car performance is one reason for wins. Another important factor comprises the drivers, of which the Bentley had quite a good line-up to choose from.

There is for instance Guy Smith who was Le Mans winner. Then there was Steven Kane who was formerly BRDC Young Driver of the Year. Finally there is Vincent Abril who was the champion for the 2015 Blancpain Sprint Series. With this choice of drivers, Bentley expects that the 2016 season will likely have more successes. According to Brian Gush, the brand’s Director of Motorsport, the team is currently preparing for the upcoming 2016 season.

At the same time, they’re celebrating what they’ve achieved in 2015 with an appreciative look at how far they’ve come. Gush shares that the company has managed to race on four continents and participate in many of the most competitive races.

Bentley has managed to race from Bathurst to Silverstone and even Macau to Monterey, one of the best that racing has to offer, Gush concludes.

Bentley has only made five cars for racing. One of this was the Blower which was raced by the Bentley Boys. Though it was made in the late 1920s, it can still perform and run even today. One of the most memorable races that Bentley has been part of was the Le Mans 85 years ago in 1930.

Driving the Blower during that race was Tim Birkin. Birkin was then toe-to-toe with Mercedes and its driver Rudi Carracciola. However when they reached the Hunaudières straight, Birkin managed to pass Carracciola with his wheels almost on the grass.

Though Birkin had to retire from the race despite only having six hours left, he managed to make Mercedes reach its breaking point. The race was eventually won by Woolf Barnato and Glen Kidston with the Speed Six.

While Birkin did not win, his performance embodied what it meant to be race during this period. The Blower had the four-seat Vanden Plas Open Sports body with the model being described by Autocar magazine in its September 1930 issues as having the appeal of enormous power that it linked with docility.

The British Racing Drivers’ Club was established by Joseph Dudley Benjafield who had a passion for motorsport racing. Benjafield started racing in 1924 after buying the Bentley 3 Litre. Due to his talent, he was offered by the brand to be its official racer. His achievements include completing the 24 Hours of Le Mans at least seven times and even winning the 1927 race where he drove with Sammy Davis, another Bentley Boy.

The Drivers’ Club was started in 1928 and was mainly a way for Benjafield to socialize with other drivers. However, when the Club was officially inaugurated, the 25 original members had come up with objectives. One of these was to extend the hospitality to include race drivers from other countries. At present, the Drivers’ Club is considered as motor racing’s most exclusive club. There are only 800 members which includes racing drivers from Great Britain and even the Commonwealth. The only way to become a member is to meet the rigorous entry criteria or to have contributed in making other drivers meet them.

Press Release

GENERATIONS OF SPEED: BENTLEY CONTINENTAL GT3 AND THE BIRKIN ‘BLOWER’

With the chequered flag set to fall on the 2015 motorsport season, Bentley is celebrating a remarkable run of results by bringing together two generations of racer – the Continental GT3 and legendary 4.5 Litre ‘Blower’.

The current GT3 and its illustrious forebear from 1929 met at Silverstone in front of the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC), the motorsport organisation founded in 1928 by Bentley Boy and Le Mans winner, Dudley Benjafield.

They may be separated by more than eight decades but the two racing cars share Bentley’s indefatigable passion for innovation, competition and, above all, speed.

Bentley Continental GT3 in 2015 – A Season to Remember

In just its second year of competition in GT racing, the Bentley motorsports programme has gone from strength to strength in 2015.

With teams competing on four continents, the Continental GT3 scored multiple pole positions, race wins, podiums and, at the end of the season, won the highly-competitive Blancpain Sprint Series and took the overall team title in the GT Asia Series.

Other highlights from the season include a best-ever finish at the 24 Hours of Spa, a four-car assault on the Nürburgring 24 Hours and successful completion of the grueling Bathurst 12 Hours.

With a driver line-up featuring Le Mans winner, Guy Smith, former BRDC Young Driver of the Year, Steven Kane, and 2015 Blancpain Sprint Series champion, Vincent Abril, next year’s racing promises to be even more fruitful.

Bentley’s Director of Motorsport, Brian Gush, said: “As the team prepares for another exciting racing season in 2016, it’s rewarding to look back on 2015 and to see how far we’ve come. We’re racing on four continents in the world’s largest and most competitive GT races and series. From Bathurst to Silverstone and Macau to Monterey, we’re competing with the best that GT racing has to offer.”

The Birkin ‘Blower’

One of just five ever made for racing, the Blower was used by the original Bentley racing team – the Bentley Boys – of the late 1920s, and is still performing over eight decades later.

This year marks the 85th anniversary of the Woolf Barnato and Glen Kidston Le Mans victory in 1930. While the supercharged Blower wasn’t the winning car that day, with Tim Birkin at the wheel its heroic performance embodies the true spirit of the vintage racing era.

In the 1930 race, Birkin and his Blower diced for the lead with Mercedes ace, Rudi Carracciola, passing him flat out down the Hunaudières straight with his nearside wheels on the grass. Birkin successfully pushed the Mercedes to breaking point, but also had to retire with six hours to go, and the race was eventually won by Barnato and Kidston in their Speed Six.

Featuring its original Vanden Plas Open Sports four-seat body, the Blower was described by Autocar magazine in September 1930 as having ‘the appeal of immense power, linked with great docility’.

Bentley and the British Racing Drivers’ Club

Joseph Dudley Benjafield had a lifelong passion for motorsports. He began racing after purchasing a Bentley 3 Litre in 1924. He had talent, and was quickly offered a drive in Bentley’s company racer. He competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans seven times, and won the event in 1927 with co-driver and fellow Bentley Boy, Sammy Davis.

Benjafield founded the BRDC in 1928. It began primarily as a socialising club for him and his fellow drivers, but by the time of its inauguration the 25 original members had devised a set of objectives for the club, including ‘to extend hospitality to racing drivers from overseas’.

Today the BRDC is, arguably, the most exclusive club in motor racing. With a membership that numbers only 800, it is home to the most successful racing drivers from Great Britain and the Commonwealth. Those who have met the exacting entry criteria have achieved at the highest levels of the sport, or made a significant contribution to enable others to do so.

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