Bentley GT racing drivers ready to compete in charity esports challenge on Sunday

Bentley SRO Charity Esports Race

Although most physical motorsport may be postponed or cancelled, various esports challenges are keeping drivers and fans entertained. 

This weekend will see the first SRO E-Sports GT Series Charity Challenge take place, featuring real-world and sim racing drivers facing off against each other.

Bentley will be fielding four drivers in the event, which aims to raise money for charities helping the coronavirus response.

Works driver Al Buncombe, K-PAX Racing’s Andy Soucek, CMR’s Arjun Maini, and JRM’s Martin Plowman will represent Bentley and its customer teams.

Bentley SRO Charity Esports Race

A total of 50 virtual racing cars will be on track for the E-Sports GT Series Charity Challenge, with competitors using the Assetto Corsa Competizione game. 

Whilst real-world drivers GT have been able to enter automatically, sim racing drivers have had to qualify through setting fastest laps throughout the week.

All have had to make a minimum charity donation of €15.

As the official game of the SRO GT World Challenge, Assetto Corsa Competizione features the correct cars and circuits to make the experience as realistic as possible.

Monza was due to be the first round of the GT World Challenge Europe, meaning drivers will head to a virtual rendition of the Italian circuit instead. 

Bentley SRO Charity Esports Race

Al Buncombe, Bentley works racing driver commented that: “It’s fantastic that SRO has put on a charity event like this. We are a very tight-knit community and, as well as giving us our motorsport fix, it’s allowing us all to come together and give our very loyal fans some racing to enjoy.”

The drivers have been taking the competition seriously, with Buncombe adding: “We’ve worked really hard on the set-up this week – the level of preparation and effort has made it feel like a real world race week! Let’s hope we can reap the rewards on Sunday.”

All the action will take place on Sunday, 29th March, beginning with a free practice session at 9:00 CET. Semi-final heats will begin from 11:15 CET, with the one-hour Grand Final beginning at 17:00 CET.

Races will be streamed live on social media, with commentary included. The GT World YouTube page will be responsible for hosting the main video coverage of the event. 

Bentley Continental GTC Equestrian Edition

Bentley special edition is inspired by Cheltenham races

Bentley Continental GTC Equestrian Edition

Bentley has unveiled a one-off Continental GT Convertible inspired by what it calls ‘the greatest racecourse in the world’.

The Equestrian Edition was commissioned by Bentley Bristol and built by Bentley Mulliner in Crewe. Although a price hasn’t been revealed, we suspect you’ll need the pockets of a racehorse owner to be able to afford it.

Either that or some luck at this week’s Cheltenham Festival.

You’ll find horse and rider silhouettes on all four seats, which are finished, aptly, in sustainable saddle hide. The same silhouette can be found on the front fascia, along with a walnut veneer and gold detailing.

Bentley horse and rider

Elsewhere, the diamond quilting is crafted using a tweed fabric contrasted with a light blue stitch. Bentley Mulliner treadplates greet you when you open the door.

On the outside, the Equestrian Edition is finished in deep shade of green, with black trim replacing the bright chrome. Huge 22-inch gloss black alloy wheels complete the equestrian-inspired overhaul.

Bentley Mulliner now has a three-portfolio structure comprising Bentley Mulliner Collections, Bentley Mulliner Classic and Bentley Mulliner Coachbuilt.

Bentley Mulliner Collections Equestrian Edition

The Continental GT Convertible Equestrian Edition is the first member of the Collections portfolio, which offers bespoke servicing based on the existing model range. Customers can personalise their new Bentley, with options including unique colour-matched paint, plus hide and thread combinations.

Meanwhile, Classic will deliver classic car restorations and continuation models. The service was introduced last year with the news that the iconic Team Blower is to be reborn with a new build of 12 supercharged 4.5-litre examples. The company also completed a restoration on a 1939 Bentley Corniche.

Finally, Coachbuilt will offer rare coach-built cars to a select number of customers. Earlier this month, the company unveiled the Bacalar – a two-door Bentley inspired by the EXP 100 GT concept car.

Just 12 examples will be built, each one commanding a price of £1.5 million. Predictably, all 12 have been spoken for.

‘One step further’

Bentley Continental GT Convertible Equestrian Edition

Tracy Crump, Bentley Mulliner’s head of commercial operations, said: “While Bentley’s motto is ‘Be Extraordinary’, at Bentley Mulliner we look to take it one step further, ‘Beyond Extraordinary’.

“With the new Bacalar we have been able to do exactly that, providing a select number of customers with the opportunity to express their personal taste in a truly remarkable grand tourer. Meanwhile, Bentley Mulliner Classic will breathe new life into the most iconic cars from our past, while our Collections team continue their work to offer a bespoking service to each and every Bentley customer.”

2020 Bentley Flying Spur

The cheap alternatives to the ‘world’s best luxury sedan’

2020 Bentley Flying Spur

‘Deliveries of world’s best luxury sedan underway.’ Bentley isn’t backward in coming forward as it announces the first customer deliveries of the all-new Flying Spur.

There are two things to pick out from this. First, ‘sedan’ isn’t a word we tend to use to describe four-door saloons. They’re saloons, plain and simple.

Second, that’s quite a claim. Self-proclaiming something to be the ‘world’s best‘ at anything is a little too high street for our tastes. ‘World’s best cup of coffee’, ‘world’s best kebab’ or ‘world’s best fish and chips’ – all fine, if a little hard to substantiate. But ‘world’s best sedan’ – has anybody consulted Rolls-Royce?

‘The all-new Bentley Flying Spur is the ultimate luxury Grand Touring sedan, offering the perfect fusion of performance-orientated agility and exclusive four-door, limousine-style comfort,’ says Bentley.

Notice the use of ‘ultimate luxury’ – Bentley is determined to ram home the ‘world’s best‘ angle. Still, you might expect the ultimate luxury for £168,300.

But what if you haven’t got the equivalent of a mortgage to spend on a luxury saloon? What if you haven’t even got 10 percent of the cash you’d need for an entry-level Flying Spur? 

We can’t offer the perfect fusion of anything, but here’s a selection of four-door saloons that are available for less than £1,683. That’s 1 percent of the value of a Flying Spur. And you won’t even have to visit a Bentley dealer or apply any self-tanning lotion.

Toyota Camry V6

Toyota Camry V6

The Toyota Camry is one of the world’s most successful saloons. It’s particularly popular in America, where the combination of a smooth engine, ice-cold air conditioning, large cupholders and near-faultless reliability make it the choice of a nation. Or at least those who don’t drive a pick-up. Or an SUV. Or an Accord.

Over here, old versions of the Toyota Camry were more of an acquired taste. Company car drivers like to go around corners and avoid daily visits to the petrol station, which meant the Camry failed to feature on many fleet lists. The only thing faster than the depreciation was the Camry V6’s fuel needle.

Today, the combination of general apathy, crippling fuel economy and the anonymous styling means you can buy a really tidy Camry V6 for £1,000. Others cost even less… 

Buy a used Toyota Camry on Auto Trader

Lexus IS 200

Lexus IS 200

If the Lexus LS 400 is the ‘Japanese S-Class’, the IS 200 must be the ‘Japanese 3 Series’. It offers rear-wheel-drive dynamics, a smooth six-cylinder engine, a rather special cabin and some eye-catching dials designed to resemble a chronometer. The rear lights are also rather cool, although they spawned some aftermarket copy-cats of questionable taste.

It’s as nice to drive as a BMW 3 Series, while the build quality is more than a match for its contemporary German rivals. Only the Alan Partridge connection might deter some buyers.

Prices start from £500 for an MOT failure, but £1,000 should secure a serviceable example. A-ha!

Buy a used Lexus IS 200 on Auto Trader

Volvo S80

Volvo S80

If you’re someone who hates leaving the comfort of the living room, the Volvo S80 is the car for you. The seats are more nicer than anything you’d find in the DFS sale, while the carpets are sumptuous enough for you to consider driving barefoot. To criticise the S80 for being boring would be missing the point – this car was designed to waft.

Because you’re only paying pennies for your ultimate luxury saloon, we’d recommend the 4.4-litre V8, which is powerful enough to propel the Swedish lounge to 62mph in 6.5 seconds. At least you’ll be feeling relaxed and refreshed as you enter the petrol station for the umpteenth time this week.

Prices start from £1,000, although you won’t find any 3.2 or 4.4-litre models for one percent of the price of a Flying Spur.

Buy a used Volvo S80 on Auto Trader

Chevrolet Epica

Chevrolet Epica

There are fewer than 150 Chevrolet Epicas on the roads of Britain. That’s around a quarter of the number of Bentley Flying Spurs, so some degree of exclusivity is guaranteed. Stick that in your machine-polished pipe and smoke it.

You don’t need to tell anyone at the tanning salon that it’s little more than a rebadged Daewoo. Opt for the straight-six petrol engine unless you fancy touring the streets of Knutsford like a low-rent taxi. Get the LT spec, as this adds climate control, rear parking sensors, heated leather seats, auto wipers, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, a CD auto-changer, 17-inch rims and an electric driver’s seat to an already long list of standard equipment.

Prices start from £1,250. Why buy a Flying Spur when you drive something Epica?

Buy a used Chevrolet Epica on Auto Trader

Hyundai Sonata

Hyundai Sonata V6

The Hyundai Sonata is in the news thanks to that Super Bowl ad starring John Krasinski. The new sedan looks kinda cool, but although it’s cheaper than a new Flying Spur, it doesn’t fit our Super Budget. Besides, it’s been a while since the Sonata was available in the UK.

Back at the turn of the millennium, you’d invariably find the Sonata in one of two places: in a garden centre car park or parked on a driveway outside a bungalow in a provincial seaside town. Although there are other engines available, the V6 is the one you want if you’re hoping to fuse some performance-orientated agility.

If you like the feeling of saggy leather and fake wood, the Sonata is more desirable than a new Bentley. Prices start from around £600, which is the cost of a Bentley travel bag. You pays yer money and takes yer choice.

Buy a used Hyundai Sonata on Auto Trader

Not convinced by our left-field and alternative saloons? Auto Trader is awash with BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and Audi saloons available for 1 percent of the price of a new Flying Spur. Take a look for yourself.

Bentley is going ice racing with a Continental GT

Bentley Continental ice racing

Bentley already races its stately Continental GT super-coupe in GT3, but wants to take on other types of motorsport. To that end, it’s already a regular at the Pikes Peak hillclimb – and is now taking the Conti racing on ice.

Yes, you read that right. The car most comfortable on Park Lane, or cruising the French Riviera, will enter the 2020 GP Ice Race in Zell-am-See.

Bentley Continental ice racing

The specially-prepared Continantal GT will be piloted by junior World Rally Championship driver Catie Munnings. She’ll be the first female driver to race for Bentley in the modern era.

To ready the car for competition on the purpose-built ice track, Bentley has fitted a rear roll cage, on-board fire suppression, racing seats and harnesses.

It rides a touch higher, and has a 15mm increase in track width. Studded Pirelli Scorpion tyres will put the 635hp W12’s power onto the ice, while lighting Catie’s way will be high performance laser roof-lights.

Bentley Continental ice racing

“I first drove the prototype Continental GTs on snow during winter testing before the launch of the car,” said Bentley’s director of motorsport, Paul Williams.

“The stability and control this car has on these surfaces is unbelievable and I look forward to seeing it race in those conditions.”

Bentley Continental ice racing

Along with the conventional race, there is also a competitive round of skijoring. The latter is a race while towing someone on skis.

The Bentley will be towing skier Sven Rauber in 2020’s skijoring event.

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Bentley launches a ski-drive holiday – but it isn’t cheap

Bentley and Bomber ski experience

Bentley and Bomber Ski have joined forces to create a skiing and driving holiday experience.

Set in the Rocky Mountains, Bentley and Bomber will host a group of ski enthusiasts at a six-day, five-night experience. Eighteen places are available on this ‘once-in-a-lifetime experience’.

Six-time Olympic medallist and five-time World Champion skier Bode Miller will be on hand to provide expert guidance and coaching to skiers of all abilities.

Skiers are promised access to areas only accessible by Snowcat, allowing them to ‘catch the first glimpse of the sunrise before skiing untouched, pristine powder’.

Additional activities include snow-shoeing, a helicopter ride over the Rocky Mountain range and fine dining in the best restaurants.

Guests can expect a morning visit from the in-house ski valet when they stay at the five-star Lumiere Hotel in Telluride. Later, a private aviation transfer will fly the 18 guests to the Montage Deer Valley in Utah, where the trip will conclude.

The Bomber for Bentley Ski & Drive Experience follows the debut of the Limited Edition Centenary Ski and the Black Diamond Edition Ski that were launched last month.

Each design features diamond motifs, textures and patterns, inspired by Bentley’s EXP 100 GT concept car launched in July 2019.

‘Curated global experiences’

Bentley skiing holiday

Developed with Chris Cooke, head of product design at Bentley Motors, the ‘Bomber for Bentley’ skis are handcrafted in Bomber’s boutique factory in Italy, with each pair of skis taking roughly 32 hours to complete.

Predictably, the Bentley skiing and driving holiday isn’t cheap. The price of double occupancy is $28,950 (£22,257) or $17,950 (£13,800) for single occupancy.

Don’t worry if you can’t make the inaugural event which takes place from 4 to 9 March 2020. Bentley is promising additional ‘curated global experiences’ throughout the year.

Time to start saving… 

Limited-run Bentley celebrates American hillclimb record

Bentley Continental GT Pikes Peak

Fifteen special Bentley Continental GTs are being made to commemorate the Pikes Peak Hillclimb record the company’s staple coupe took back in June.

You’ll have to be a dedicated Bentley and Pikes Peak fan to swallow the color. It borrows the Radium green paint scheme that the record-breaking car wore on its run up the mountain, along with splashes of black front-to-back.

The brake calipers and even the Pirelli P Zero tires get flashes of green, too. Happily, the car itself is also available in black.

Bentley Continental GT Pikes Peak

A carbon fiber body kit adds some aggression, as do the ‘Mulliner Driving Specification’ 22-inch wheels in black. Optional is the ‘100’ marker on the grille, in the marque’s traditional racing style, to commemorate its centenary.

The green extends to the cabin, too. Green stitching is everywhere, while the outline of the mountain is embroidered on the headrests. The course itself is also outlined on the carbon fiber cabin trim.

Bentley Continental GT Pikes Peak

“The new Limited Edition Continental GT is distinguished by a number of carefully curated features to honor that outstanding record run,” said Chris Craft of Bentley Motors.

“It reflects Bentley’s spirit of endeavor, one that has been a constant throughout the last 100 years and remains at the beating heart of the company.”

Bentley Continental GT Pikes Peak

From the Pacific Coast Highway to Pikes Peak, you’d think the Continental GT would be well outside of its cosseting grand touring comfort zone. Still, the 630-horsepower Continental shaved 8.4 seconds off the existing record for the 12.42-mile hill course.

Former ‘King of the Mountain’ Rhys Millen took the Continental up the 156-bend 5,000-ft course in 10 minutes 18.04 seconds. If this unique, rare and special Continental is your flavor, it’s available to order now.

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2020 Bentley Flying Spur review: Spur of the moment

Bentley Flying Spur

I’ve been upstaged. As I waft into Monaco harbour aboard a chauffeured Bentley, a Russian billionaire has just dropped anchor in the world’s largest superyacht. Still, both means of transport seem apt for a principality that squeezes 12,261 millionaires into less than one square mile. And compared with the £650 million my oligarch rival has spent, the £168,300 Flying Spur looks a bit of a bargain.

Monaco may reek of unfettered wealth, but it’s also cramped, noisy and unwelcoming. An army of white-suited police officers – one per 100 residents – keeps out the riff-raff, but they wave Flying Spur through without so much as a Gallic shrug. Ensconced in a cocoon of deep-pile carpet and pillowy-soft leather, I’m enjoying the most densely-populated state on Earth in glorious isolation.

Read more Motoring Research reviews FIRST on City AM

This is how many owners will experience the Flying Spur: from the back while someone else does the driving. And it’s a gloriously decadent way to travel, with acres of legroom, electric window blinds, massaging armchair-style seats and a champagne cooler (only stocked with mineral water today, sadly). A smartphone-style remote control lets you adjust cabin temperature, surf the net, slide the front passenger seat forward and even retract the ‘Flying B’ on the bonnet.

Bentley Flying Spur

As wonderful as this is, by the time we arrive in Casino Square (part of the Monaco Grand Prix circuit), I’m itching to get behind the wheel. After all, the Flying Spur has a 6.0-litre W12 engine behind its prodigious prow. The camera-toting tourists look nonplussed as I emerge outside the famous Hotel de Paris, my home for one night only. In the morning, the sinuous Route Napoleon awaits, and I’ve given the chauffeur a day off.

As the valet hands me the keys, I feel slightly trepidatious. Monaco’s narrow hairpin bends aren’t ideal for a large limousine, but the Bentley’s four-wheel steering – which swivels the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the fronts at city speeds – makes it surprisingly manoeuvrable. The elevated driving position, half-way between ‘normal’ car and SUV, also helps. The cops give me a cursory nod and I cross the border into France, heading for the hills.

Onto the autoroute, I gun the 635hp ft W12 for the first time. Previously silent, it erupts with a cultured snarl and 2.4 tonnes of British craftsmanship rockets onward. The Jekyll-and-Hyde contrast of hushed refinement and concussive speed is remarkable – as is the utterly seamless way it switches to six cylinders to save fuel. Bentley says this is ‘probably the most advanced internal combustion engine available’ and I’m ready to believe it.

Bentley Flying Spur

There’s some very clever chassis tech, too. The available 664lb ft of torque is constantly variable between all four wheels, while Dynamic Ride decouples the anti-roll bars for softness in a straight line, then primes them for active roll-resistance when cornering. As the road climbs into the foothills of the Alps, the result is agility belies the Bentley’s bulk. Indeed, it feels little different to the Continental GT coupé, with direct steering, confidence-inspiring brakes and a pleasingly rear-biased feel if you switch to Sport mode.

After a few hours of fun, it’s time to return to Nice airport. Closer to the coast, the roads are choked with traffic, yet the Flying Spur soothes like few other cars can. There’s also joy to be found in its details: the rich wood veneer, diamond knurling on the door handles and analogue dials on the reverse of the media screen (ideal for a ‘digital detox’, reckons Bentley). I’m tempted to forget my flight and set the sat nav for Calais.

A couple of decades ago, cars such as the Flying Spur would have handled like yachts at sea. Now they deliver both comfort and dynamic prowess. You can keep your £650 million floating gin palace – and you can keep Monaco. But can I keep the Bentley?

Price: £168,300

0-62mph: 3.8 secs

Top speed: 207mph

CO2 G/KM: 337

MPG combined: 19.1

2020 Bentley Flying Spur: in pictures

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Bentley coat

Bentley Motors loses trademark battle with… Bentley Clothing

Bentley coat

Bentley Motors will not be able to use the word ‘Bentley’ on its clothing range sold in the UK after losing a High Court battle with Bentley Clothing. 

The car firm will also only be allowed to sell a limited range of clothing: jackets, silk ties, caps and scarves.

It will not be allowed to sell other types of clothing as part of its profitable lifestyle goods range. 

Bentley badge

Manchester’s Bentley Clothing, established in 1962, registered a trademark of the name Bentley in 1982. The car firm began selling its own clothing in 1987, a move described as ‘honest concurrent use’.

However, the judge said evidence gave the ‘strong impression’ that, from 2000, Bentley Motors made a “conscious decision” to develop its Bentley-branded clothing range.

This amounted to “steady encroachment on Bentley Clothing’s goodwill”.

Bentley Clothing first approached the car firm about the matter in 1998, and launched the High Court action in 2017.

The Crewe-based car firm may now have to pay damages – and, reports, the BBC, could also be forced to “either hand over or destroy any items in its possession which infringe the trademark”.

Bentley Motors said it is considering an appeal and is “extremely disappointed” by the decision.

“We have been selling clothing for more than 30 years in the UK and at no point has there been any evidence of confusion with another company’s trademark.”

Bentley Motors reportedly tried to cancel Bentley Clothing’s trademark rights at the UK Intellectual Property Office. 

It was unsuccessful in its attempt. 

Bentley Motors’ Crewe factory is now carbon neutral

Bentley carbon neutral factory

Luxury car manufacturer Bentley has today announced that its Crewe plant is the first automotive luxury factory to become officially carbon neutral. This, on the way to its goal of being the world’s most sustainable luxury automotive manufacturer.

What does carbon neutral mean?

Bentley carbon neutral factory

What does it mean to say that the marque’s Crewe factory is carbon neutral? Well, the PAS 2060 standard reflects the factory’s exclusive use of renewable electricity. 

It also takes into account other measures to reduce the carbon that the manufacturing process emits. All emissions that Bentley can’t eliminate, are offset. That means in investing in gold standard carbon credits, the money for which goes into offsetting projects.

“The Carbon Trust is pleased to certify Bentley’s factory headquarters to PAS 2060, demonstrating its carbon neutrality,” said John Newton, head of certification, at the Carbon Trust.

Bentley carbon neutral factory

“The initiatives that Bentley has undertaken to achieve this certification demonstrate the company’s commitment to becoming more sustainable.”

Bentley doesn’t just want to be green in the production of its cars. It wants its cars to be green too. The marque has said that it’s ‘accelerating its push towards electrification’. The Bentayga is the first Bentley to be hybridised. The rest of the range is to follow in 2023. All that’s left is the introduction of its first full EV in 2025.

Bentley’s solar car park

Bentley carbon neutral factory

Bentley finished installing the UK’s largest solar car port earlier this year. Made up of 10,000 solar panels, it covers 1,378 parking spaces. That’s capable of generating 2.7mw of the sites total solar output of 7.7mw. In total, the Bentley factory produces enough solar energy to power 1,750 homes.

“While 2019 has marked Bentley’s centenary, our focus is now on preparing the business for the next 100 years,” said Adrian Hallmark, chairman and chief executive office of Bentley Motors.

Bentley carbon neutral factory

“We want to lead the way in the delivery of sustainable luxury mobility – by providing our customers with products and services that reflect their own values.

We are very conscious of our responsibility to consider the environmental, social and economic impact of our organisation, and today’s news is just the latest stage in this journey.”

Flying Bee: Bentley bees are making honey

Bentley now makes honey

You’ve heard of the ‘Bentley Boys‘, but what about the ‘Bentley Bees’?

Around 120,000 bees took up residence in Bentley’s Crewe base of operations in May. Since then they’ve been hard at work making Bentley’s latest offering. That’s right, Bentley’s bees are making honey, the first harvest of which has now arrived.

Bentley is expecting to make around 100 jars of honey from two hives. It wouldn’t be a Bentley product if it didn’t have a special touch. As such, the jars will feature a label specially designed by Bentley interior designer Louise McCallum. 

Bentley now makes honey

The honey won’t be going on sale in Bentley dealers – it’s available to employees and VIP visitors to the Crewe facility.

If you think that a beehive might be an odd thing for a car manufacturer to play host to, we wouldn’t blame you. Bentley’s logic is sound, however. 

Bentley now makes honey

Bees are one of the most important creatures in the ecosystem. Their activities spread the genetics of flowers and plants all around, helping them spread and reproduce. They’re also in a great deal of danger. So Bentley decided it would be a good idea to play host to 120,000 bees to support the biodiversity of its locale. 

“Our beekeepers have seen the bees bringing in a wide range of pollens from the wild flowers we’ve planted on our site and the local countryside,” Said Peter Bosch, Bentley’s board member for manufacturing

“This is a great sign that the location is working well and has helped make the first harvest so productive.”

Bentley now makes honey

“Our Bentley bees are part of a wider programme we’re developing to ensure that our site and business operations reflect our ambitions to become the most sustainable luxury automotive manufacturer – and we’ve had great colleague engagement with the initiative.

“We’re delighted that the initial stage of this project has been a success and we’re looking at installing more hives and increasing the amount of Bentley honey we can produce next year.  We know that every little step helps to support local biodiversity and we have plenty more ideas in the pipeline to make sure we’re playing our part”.