Bentley Drivers Club 60th Anniversary Meeting
The Bentley Drivers Club held its first race meeting at Silverstone back in 1949, the year after the circuit opened – and has continued with an unbroken run of annual BDC events every year since then. Traditionally, it has always been a single day event but, to celebrate its 60th year of racing at Silverstone, this year’s Bentley Drivers Club meeting will run for two days, from 8th to 9th August 2009.
Everything from Vintage Bentleys to modern-day machines (and by no means just Bentleys!) will take to the track in what is widely acknowledged as some of the very best ‘proper’ club racing in Britain – highly competitive on-track, but relaxed and friendly off-track.
Among the highlights at the 60th Anniversary Meeting will be the traditional Bentley handicap race, a unique feature of BDC meetings and a firm favourite with both participants and spectators. The handicap race allows Bentleys of every era to take part in a genuinely competitive battle for victory. Since each car is started from the pit-lane, a 1925 Bentley 3 Litre might have a full two-lap head start on a more modern Turbo R, and the fight is on – right down to the chequered flag.
Equally popular is the Bentley Drivers Club ‘All-Comers’ race. Here, as well as a large helping of Bentleys, you can expect to see cars varying from a humble Lotus Sunbeam or Triumph GT6, through to a modern McLaren or Lola T70.
“While there are a number of races exclusive to the Bentley marque, we’re also delighted that the Aston Martin Owners’ Club will be racing at the two-day BDC meeting, along with a round of the Morgan Championship, the Masters Top Hat historic saloons and Cloth Cap pre-’66 sports GTs – plus the Equipe GTS for sports and GT cars,” says Sebastian Welch, Competitions Captain of the BDC. “This looks set to be the most exciting – and certainly the most extensive – race meeting the Bentley Drivers Club has ever run.”
Meanwhile, there will also be the traditional Bentley Parade on the Saturday, which invites any club member who turns up in a Bentley, new or old, to drive three laps of the Silverstone circuit – topped off by a taste of ultimate performance, with a track demonstration of the 2003 Le Mans-winning Bentley Speed 8.
Off-track, spectators can wander through an impressive display of significant Bentley race cars, including past Le Mans winners, Brooklands cars, and Bentleys that have raced at BDC events throughout the past 60 years.
Text: Charis Whitcombe
Photos: Patty Kraus
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