March 2016 // 2016 Formula One, Australian grand prix, Melbourne, Victoria.

The new Bentley Boys

A continuing story: the New Bentley Boys

Bentley - where extraordinary cars meet extraordinary people. Thanks to the Bentley engineers and racing drivers who dare to push themselves and our cars to the limit, the marque continues to be a byword for power and luxury. The brand was initially built on its relationship with extraordinary men and women. The 21st century has produced new Bentley Boys of its own, each of them bringing their unique and extraordinary talents to the table.

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Ice & Speed Master

Four-time World Rally Champion Juha Kankkunen set a new world record at the wheel of a Bentley Continental GT on the 70cm-thick ice of the Bay of Bothnia in Finland, achieving 199.83 mph (321.6 km/h) in. On 15 February 2011 he came back for more, armed with a Continental Supersports Convertible. Driving a 14km 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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Back on the podium

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.

Repeating history
Sharing the number 7 Bentley Speed 8, Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Guy Smith won the Le Mans 24 Hour race for Bentley in 2003. 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.

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Bentley Continental GT3 racing in the Gulf 12h at Yas Marina circuit, Abu Dhabi, 13 December 2013Photograph: James Lipman //

Another return to form

Bentley returned to top flight international endurance racing in 2013, when the Continental GT3 made its debut at Abu Dhabi. The following year a team of two cars and six drivers entered the Blancpain Endurance Series – including Guy Smith. Driving for Bentley for the first time since his Le Mans win in 2003, Guy is one of the world’s foremost endurance racing drivers, having subsequently taken second place at Le Mans with Audi in 2004, before a spell with Dyson Racing in the US, where he claimed the ALMS titles in 2011. The new line-up yielded results almost instantly, with Bentley securing two outright victories in the 2014 Blancpain Endurance Series.

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2016 Blancpain Endurance Series round 1, Monza, Italy

Behind the wheel of the Continental GT3

The 2016 Blancpain Endurance Series season has seen Vince Abril, a winning Blancpain Sprint Series driver in 2015, join Guy Smith and Steven Kane on the number 7 car team. In the number 8 car, meanwhile, Andy Soucek and Maxime Soulet have been joined by Wolfgang Reip, a victorious Blancpain Endurance Series driver last year.

Together, both teams have gone from strength to strength, building on the Bentley Motorsport performances in 2014 and 2015 with a win at Misano in the Blancpain Sprint Series and a podium finish at Monza, two weeks later. It’s the start of a campaign that will enable the teams to compete for the full Blancpain GT Series, now that the cars are competing in both the Sprint and Endurance competitions.

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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.

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The fastest man on earth

Andy Green is the current World Land Speed Record holder. On October 15, 1997, 50 years and a day after the sound barrier was broken in the air by Chuck Yeager, Green reached 763.035 miles per hour (1,227.986 km/h), the first supersonic record (Mach 1.016) in Thrust SSC. As a Mulsanne Visionary, Andy has taken a Bentley Mulsanne up to 190mph at Bonneville. Looking to the future, his latest adventure is the Bloodhound project – an attempt to exceed 1,000mph on land and, in doing so, to inspire a new generation with the wonders of science and engineering.

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Idris Elba at Pendine Sands in Wales for the Land Speed Record with mentor Ari Vatanen and friend Steve 'Baggsy' Biagioni.

Past meets present

In the true tradition of the Bentley Boys, actor Idris Elba has pushed himself and his Bentley Continental GT Speed to its limits. In May 2015, Elba broke the historic ‘Flying Mile’ UK land speed record originally set by Sir Malcolm Campbell in 1927. You can read more about his historic record-breaking drive here.

Find out more about Bentley’s extraordinary story here.

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