It’s 100 years since Bentley won their first race win and the legendary EXP2 returned to Brooklands Racetrack in Surrey over the weekend to lead a cavalcade of 3-Litre Bentleys to celebrate the centenary of its victory.
The stylish EXP2 is the oldest Bentley in the world, and only the second car ever built by W.O. Bentley’s fledgling company in 1921. EXP2 led a field of 24 3-Litres from across the country, which formed up on the remaining section of the banked Brooklands circuit where Bentley took its first win on 16 May 1921.
On that day, the car took victory in the Whitsun Junior Sprint Handicap at the hands of ‘works’ driver Frank Clement, starting a series of race wins for the 3-Litre model that culminated in two victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans – Bentley’s first in 1924, driven by Clement and John Duff, and again in 1927. Between those successes, in 1925 Duff also used a 3-Litre to secure a total of 21 world records over the course of 24 hours.
These early victories for the 3-Litre engrained motorsport in the foundations of Bentley, and paved for the way for more than 1,600 3-Litre models to be produced and sold.
The collection of 3-Litres and the event itself was organised by the Bentley Drivers’ Club, whose chairman Richard Parkinson comments:
“Motorsport success is a huge part of Bentley’s heritage, as it is for the Bentley Drivers Club. We were therefore determined to mark the centenary of the first Bentley racing win on 16 May 1921 at Brooklands on the very same date this year with the actual car, EXP2 itself, kindly provided by Bentley Motors.
“We will continue as a Club to celebrate ‘100 years of Bentley Racing Success’ at our Annual Silverstone Meeting on 7 August which I am delighted to say Bentley Motors is supporting with a display of significant cars from the Heritage Collection.”
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