A Desert Version of the Classic Bentley Blue Train Race
The story of the Bentley Blue Train race is part of the luxury marque’s history. Now a modern version has taken place across the Arabian Peninsula that once again pitted a daredevil in a Bentley racing a train. This time the race was 300 miles. It had a Bentley Continental GT convertible facing off against Saudi Arabia’s only desert train. They race from Riyadh—deep in the heart of the Arabian Peninsula—to Dammam on the Arabian Gulf. RELATED: See 85th Anniversary Pictures of the Bentley Blue Train
Bentley Team M-Sport driver Steven Kane was the pilot. No word on who the train engineer was. Kane said, “Four hours is the same time as a stint at Le Mans. But this was far more stressful. The heat, the conditions, not knowing where the train was, while driving within the limits of the country’s regulations. It was a race like no other. I hope Barnato would be proud.”
The Bentley Continental GT convertible, with all-wheel-drive, features a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8. It delivers 520 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque and is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Continental GT V8 S convertible hits 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, and reaches a top speed of 191 mph.
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Kane does eventually manage to pull into the station in Damman six minutes ahead of the train carrying a painting of the original race (above). Of course there was no doubt he would win. After all, a loss would have meant scratching the whole video project—or Kane breaking Saudia Arabia speed limits the second time around.
In 1930, Captain Woolf Barnato was chairman of Bentley Motors. He decided to see if he could beat the train from Paris to London in his 1930 Bentley 6½ Litre Speed Six. He paid to keep gas stations open and depending on which account you believe, either beat the train in one hour or by four minutes.
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