The new Bentley Boys

A continuing story: the New Bentley Boys

Just as the original Bentley Boys of the 1920s made the most of W.O. Bentley’s feats of automotive engineering, a new generation of drivers are bringing their unique talents to the powerful and technologically advanced Bentleys of today. Meet the 21st century Bentley Boys.

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The original Bentley Boys were renowned for their victories in the gruelling 24-hour race at Le Mans, and today’s Bentley racing drivers are equally keen on endurance events around the world. The teams race the second-generation Continental GT3 – a car that combines the race-proven engine of its predecessor with the dynamic bodyshell of the road-going new Continental GT, leading to some incredible results.

2019 is Bentley’s Centenary, and looks set to be a particularly good year. At the time of writing, Jordan Pepper, Steven Kane and Jules Gournon had already won the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup Paul Ricard 1000km for Bentley Team M-Sport. Seb Morris and Rick Parfitt Jnr also won the opening round of the British GT Championship for customer racing team JRM. Across the Atlantic, Andy Soucek, Alvaro Parente, Maxime Soulet and Rodrigo Baptista scored a string of wins for K-PAX Racing in the Blancpain GT World Challenge America.

You can follow their progress here on our Twitter and Instagram feeds.

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Over the last 20 years, Rhys Millen has carved out a reputation as one of the most sought-after performance and stunt drivers. The son of renowned rally and off-road racer Rod Millen, he was an early adopter of the new motorsport of drifting, going on to take the 2005 Formula Drift championship crown and many other titles.

In 2018, he attempted to break the production SUV record at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in a Bentley Bentayga. To have any chance of success, he needed to average a minimum of 60 mph up the exceptionally twisty 156-corner course in Colorado that climbs almost 5,000 feet over 12.52 miles. On the day, he averaged 66.5 mph, completing the course in 10:49.9 and breaking the record by nearly two minutes.

The following year, he returned to Pikes Peak with the even more ambitious goal of breaking the outright production car record – this time in a Bentley Continental GT. Racing under the number 100 to mark 100 years of Bentley, he conquered the course in 10:18.488, knocking 8.4 seconds off the previous record and helping us celebrate our Centenary in style.

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Four-time World Rally Champion Juha Kankkunen set a new world record at the wheel of a Bentley Continental GT on the 70 cm thick ice of the Bay of Bothnia in Finland, achieving 199.83 mph (321.6 km/h). On 15 February 2011 he came back for more, armed with a Continental Supersports Convertible. Driving a 14 km track between two banks of piled snow, he set another new record. His two-way speed was recorded at 205.48 mph (330.695 km/h), quite an achievement when battling some of the harshest conditions on earth.

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Following in the footsteps of the original Bentley Boys, three men worked together to put Bentley back on the top of the Le Mans podium in 2003.

Sharing the number 7 Bentley Speed 8, Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Guy Smith won the Le Mans 24 Hour race for Bentley. They were followed by their teammates in car number 8, Johnny Herbert, David Brabham and Mark Blundell. It was exactly 73 years to the day since Woolf Barnato and Glen Kidston had headed home a Bentley 1-2 in their Bentley Speed Six. The new generation of Bentley Boys celebrated at the Savoy in true Bentley style, with the same cocktails and menu served to the originals back in 1927.

The winning Speed 8 returned to Le Mans in 2019 for Bentley’s Centenary celebrations, leading a line-up of cars from Bentley’s first 100 years on a pre-race Parade Lap. To commemorate the occasion, the city of Le Mans renamed one of its streets Rue des Bentley Boys

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Le Mans luminary: Derek Bell MBE

A long-time Bentley brand ambassador and five-time Le Mans winner, Derek Bell MBE is a living Bentley legend. Returning to the iconic French race circuit in July, 2012, he helped to spearhead a unique motorsport challenge. Racing an original 4½ Litre Bentley Blower at the Le Mans Classic (in partnership with the car’s owner, Martin Overington) Bell was supported by a three-man pit crew provided by Mission Motorsport, the UK charity that rehabilitates those affected by military operations by providing opportunities through Motorsport.

Find out more about Bentley’s extraordinary story here.

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