On June 15th 2007, as the Brooklands
track celebrated its centenary, the most famous of the
vintage Bentley racing cars were 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. During this period, Brooklands
was the scene of some of Bentley's greatest triumphs,
as the Bentley Boys raced their machines on the treacherous
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 created 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
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.
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 134.97mph at Brooklands in 1938.
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."