The 50th anniversary of the Times Trophy race will be the centrepiece of what should be another cracking day’s racing at the BDC’s 73rd annual race meeting at Silverstone, the home of the British Grand Prix, on Saturday 7 August.
The Times Trophy encounter, a Bentley Scratch race incorporating a contest for Pre-War cars, is the meeting’s blue riband event and will be the undoubted high point of an 11-race programme – the biggest in recent years.
The list of multiple Times Trophy winners down the years reads like a who’s who of the BDC’s most celebrated drivers: Alan Padgett, Tim Llewellyn, Ian Bentall, Adam Stacy-Marks, Peter Morley and Hawkeye Wijkander.
In recent times, brothers Simon and Stuart Worthington have also claimed the coveted silver rose bowl on multiple occasions, flying the flag for Bentley’s modern-day saloon models, while the current champion is four-time winner Michael Higginbotham who has remained undefeated since 2017 in his imposing black Mk VI Special; indeed, The Gadget itself hasn’t actually been beaten since 2016 when Michael’s father Mike Haig triumphed.
The Times Trophy race typically provides the day’s most closely fought action, and this year the competition should be hotter than ever, with a staggered start being introduced to allow the older cars a greater chance of winning against the more modern machinery.
Complementing the Bentley Scratch encounter will be the traditional Bentley Handicap race which starts from the pit lane.
The popular ‘garden-party’ style club meeting will also feature two races each for the Aero Racing Morgan Challenge and MGB GTV8s along with grids for FISCAR (Fifties Sports Car racing Club), Ecurie Classic Racing, BDC Classic Challenge (incorporating the Morgan Techniques Trophy) and Allcomers scratch plus TVRCC Challenge.
This year is an historic one in the annals of Bentley motorsport as the marque celebrates the centenary of its maiden victory. In May 1921, famed Bentley Boy Frank Clement, driving the works 3-litre EXP2 at Brooklands, won the Junior Short Handicap and thus started the long and successful history of Bentleys in competition which still continues today.
To add its own colour to the celebrations, Bentley Motors will showcase a mouthwatering selection of models from its Heritage Collection, including:
• the aforementioned EXP2 – world’s oldest surviving Bentley;
• Birkin Team Car No2 – Blower which led the 1930 Le Mans 24 Hours and one of the world’s most valuable Bentleys
• Speed 8 – 2003 Le Mans-winning machine
• Pikes Peak Continental GT – production car record holder at the US hill climb course from 2019
• Continental GT3 – second-generation race car
Adding further spice to the day will be the always well-subscribed Bentley parade, in which up to 200 Club Members’ glorious models of all ages will enjoy three laps of the Northamptonshire track. Places are available on a pre-book basis only and cost £20 per car. It's also hoped that, time permitting, the Heritage Collection cars will also parade around the track.
It is also planned to serve special buffet lunches for around 120 Members and guests in the paddock; cost is £35 per head with places available on a pre-book basis only.
If you fancy testing your driving skills around the Silverstone track, why not have a go on the always popular Pirelli F1 simulator.
And adding atmosphere to the occasion, and keeping spectators entertained and informed, will be Peter Snowdon, our roving commentator in the pits and paddock areas.
BDC Competitions Captain Mike Haig said: “We are hoping our largest racecard of recent years will help provide the perfect setting in which to celebrate two major milestones: the centenary of Bentley’s first win and the golden jubilee of the Times Trophy race. And after holding the meeting behind closed doors last year we look forward to welcoming back spectators once again.”
Ticket prices for the meeting will be announced in due course – please check the Silverstone website. The meeting will be subject to the Government’s latest Covid-19 guidelines.