Bentley is creating twelve special cars based on the 1929 Blower model that became popular due to Sir Henry Ralph Stanley “Tim” Birkin. This car is named after its powerful 4.5-liter engine and was not as successful as Bentley’s standard cars during the ‘golden age’ of racing in the 1920s and 1930s. These twelve continuation cars will compete in several famous races in 2023.
Bentley is bringing back the Blower race car! A prototype, called Car Zero, was built specifically for testing before the other twelve cars were made. There are three races planned for this car: Donington Park circuit in the UK on April 29-30, Circuit de la Sarthe which holds 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 29-July 3, and Spa-Francorchamps on September 28-30.
This year, Bentley is returning to the Le Mans race and they will be entering their cars. Even though this time it won’t be a real factory team, eight cars that have been built for customers will join the race. This will be their first appearance in the race since 2003 when they last won.
Bentley scanned an old car from their heritage collection, called “Team Car #2,” to build a Blower for the first time in almost a century. They created a digital model of the car and asked specialist firms to make new parts. The assembly process is being managed by Bentley’s Mulliner customization division.
The Blower Car Zero race car has been upgraded for the 21st century, receiving a rain light, mirrors, towing points, a fire extinguisher and a battery switch. This upgrade allows the car to get special permission that lets it compete in officially recognized races held by the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile). The drivers of this car will be both professional racers and journalists with prior racing experience according to Bentley.
Car Zero recently went through a 6-hour trial at Goodwood. The driver, Stuart Morley, drove it 380 miles while keeping an average speed of 83 mph. Bentley hopes that the car will perform similarly in racing events so they can demonstrate their expert skills and prove how good their work is.
“Blower Car Zero will compete in a race and that way, we’ll be showing people the awesome performance and durability of our Continuation Series,” said Mulliner CTO Paul Williams. He added, “This will help customers to trust that they can take their own Continuation cars racing too.”