We’ve been sitting on this photo set for a while. We don’t know why and thought now was as good a time as any to bring them out.
With the Continental GT3 set to take the racing world by storm, Bentley trotted out one of the most legendary Bentleys of all time for an inspiration photo shoot: the 4.5 liter Blower Bentley. The current Continental GT3 and its predecessor from 1929 got together 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.
Separated by 80 years, the two race cars both look purpose-built in their own ways. For Bentley Motorsport, the hope is to bring their cars back to the dominating fashion of the originally cars that won Le Mans four times in the 1920’s.
One of just five ever made for racing, the Blower Bentley 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’s Brian Gush: “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.”
*These pics were dated before Bentley released them as the 2016 Continental GT3 is running different livery, though the rest of the car is virtually unchanged from the 2015 race car.