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'Blower' Bentley returns to racing. Image by Bentley.

'Blower' Bentley returns to racing
The Blower Continuation Series has been created specially for the reborn 1929 Bentley
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What's all this about?

No, this is not an episode of Dr Who and we have not turned the clock back 90 years – as appealing as that might be for some. No, what’s actually happened is that Bentley is re-entering its recreated ‘Blower’ 4.5-litre supercharged car in racing in 2023.

Brilliant. I’m bored watching Max Verstappen win everything.

Ah, sadly Bentley will not be entering the Blower in Formula One. Instead, a specific one-make racing series has been created for the newly-built Blowers. Based on the 1929 racing car designed for and raced by the great Sir Henry ‘Tim’ Birkin, the Continuation Series cars were built from plans made by minutely scanning every single component from the original car, from its vast supercharger right down to the rivets on the panels.

What else will be racing?

The The Blower Continuation Series, which Bentley reckons is the first time that a specific series has been created for re-born original racing cars, should consist of Car Zero — Bentley’s on prototype of the rebuild cars — and it’s hoped that the other 12 customer cars (eight delivered, four still being finished) will take part too.

Where can I watch?

There will be three races taking place: Donington Park on April 29 and 30; Le Mans from June 29 to July 3; and Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, from September 28-30.

Bentley’s own car will take the number 2 on its flanks, just as Birkin’s car did, and will be racing to win, says the British luxury car brand. That would be a first — the original Blower never won at Le Mans, suffering mechanical failure and letting Bentley’s other cars through to take the podium, but only after Birkin’s searing pace had driven the rival Mercedes cars into destruction.

At Le Mans this year, Car Zero will compete alongside customer Continuation cars, and original racing Bentleys from the 1920s.

Are these cars safe to race?

Sure they are. Well, mostly so, and the FIA — the governing body of world motorsport — has mandated some changes to make them race-legal, including the installation of a rain light, wing mirrors, towing points, a fire extinguisher and a battery isolation switch. It also means that the Continuation cars get a Historic Technical Passport (HTP), which certifies the car as eligible to compete in FIA-sanctioned events for historic vehicles — a controversial move in some circles which regard these, and similar, cars are replicas, even if they were built by the original manufacturer.

“By going racing with Blower Car Zero, we will prove the performance, authenticity and durability of our Continuation Series by taking on the original competition, and give our customers confidence that they too can take their continuation cars to the track. We’ve already proved the quality of the engineering within the car by completing a tough test of several hours at race pace around Goodwood, and it’s now time for the car to be unleashed for real racing. We’ll take the learnings from this race programme and apply them to the upcoming Speed Six Continuation Series, for which the first engineering car is in build now” said Paul Williams, Chief Technical Officer of Mulliner, Bentley’s bespoke and classic build skunkworks.

Bentley’s serious about its racing too — Car Zero recently completed a six-hour endurance test at full race pace, at the Goodwood Motor Circuit. Driven by well-known historic British racing driver Stuart Morley, the car performed flawlessly throughout the test, covering 380 miles and averaging 83 miles per hour.

Neil Briscoe - 23 Mar 2023

Bentley Blower Replica 'Car Zero'. Image by Bentley.Bentley Blower Replica 'Car Zero'. Image by Bentley.Bentley Blower Replica 'Car Zero'. Image by Bentley.Bentley Blower Replica 'Car Zero'. Image by Bentley.Bentley Blower Replica 'Car Zero'. Image by Bentley.

Bentley Blower Replica 'Car Zero'. Image by Bentley.Bentley Blower Replica 'Car Zero'. Image by Bentley.Bentley Blower Replica 'Car Zero'. Image by Bentley.Bentley Blower Replica 'Car Zero'. Image by Bentley.    - Bentley road tests
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