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Bentley Brooklands Celebrates Circuit’s Centenary



17th June, 2007

2007 Bentley Brooklands and 1930 Bentley Speed Six

This week, as the Brooklands track celebrates its centenary, the most famous of the vintage Bentley racing cars are reunited at the circuit for the first time in the company of the very latest Bentley Brooklands coupe.

Bentley’s proud sporting pedigree, forged by the exploits of the immortal Bentley Boys on this famous racetrack in the 1920s and 30s, was the inspiration for the new Bentley Brooklands coupe, capturing all the style, power and splendour of that era.

During this period, Brooklands was the scene of some of Bentley’s greatest triumphs, as the Bentley Boys raced their machines on the treacherous Members’ Banking.

Two of the most successful Bentley racers at Brooklands were Speed Six models with special Vanden Plas bodies, known affectionately as ‘Old Number Two’ and ’Old Number Three’. These were the only cars produced by Bentley specifically for competition purposes.

‘Old Number Two’ was victorious in its first outing, winning the 1930 Brooklands Double Twelve (a 24-hour race run over two days), driven by Bentley Boys Frank Clement and Woolf Barnato at an average speed of over 85 mph. ‘Old Number Three’, driven by Sammy Davis and Jack Dunfee, came second. Old Number Two went on that year to take second place at Le Mans behind another famous Bentley, ‘Old Number One’.

Bentley’s performance at Brooklands was outstanding with its cars placed in the top three in 172 races out of 672 entered. Of these, Bentley achieved 73 outright wins.

Famous Bentley models

Speeds on the outer circuit were exceptional, with cars like ‘Tim’ Birkin’s Single Seat Blower Bentley taking the lap record twice, raising it to over 137 mph. Of the 84 drivers earning a ‘120 mph’ badge, 15 drove a Bentley.

The highly coveted ‘130 mph’ badge was earned by a mere 16 cars, three of which were Bentleys. In the late 30s, the Barnato-Hassan Bentley driven by Oliver Bertram became one of only three cars to exceed 140 mph when in 1938 it achieved 142.6 mph.

Margaret Allan, driving a Marker Bentley affectionately known as ‘Old Mother Gun’, proved that women were equally courageous and skilled at the wheel, when she achieved 134.97 mph at Brooklands in 1938.

In this centenary year, Bentley is celebrating its proud racing history with the introduction of a thoroughly contemporary new coupe, the Bentley Brooklands.

The new coupe is the ultimate Bentley: a stylish, four-seat, grand touring coupe with classic British proportions and muscular performance. Hand-assembled, employing traditional coachbuilding techniques, it will go on sale in early 2008. To ensure exclusivity, lifetime production will be strictly limited to just 550 cars.

In keeping with its sporting pedigree, the new Bentley Brooklands coupe possesses the most powerful V8 the company has ever produced – a 530 bhp, twin-turbocharged 6.75-litre unit that also develops a enormous 1,050 Nm (774 lb ft) of torque for truly effortless performance.

Commenting on the new Bentley Brooklands coupe, Dr Franz-Josef Paefgen said: “Bentley is one of the most successful racing teams in the illustrious history of the Brooklands circuit and it is this proud sporting pedigree that was the inspiration for the new Bentley Brooklands coupe.”

Other Bentley content: here.

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