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.