Stuart Morley Racing pushes our Bentley to near-historic Circuit de La Sarthe pace
The JBS Collection is pleased to announce that its 1929 Bentley Continuation Series Blower is now documented as having raced the legendary Le Mans raceway after participating in the 11th running of the Le Mans Classic, June 29-July 2, in Le Mans, Sarthe, France.
The 1929 Blower—one of only 12 Continuation Series Blowers hand-built to nearly-exact 1929 specifications by Mulliner of Bentley—showed well on the renowned Circuit de la Sarthe, coming close to the Le Mans lap record for a Bentley Blower before an intake pipe issue ended its day, and its torrid pursuit of a thrilling, come-from-behind victory.
The 2023 Le Mans Classic—the largest historic car race ever held—marked the 100th anniversary of the renowned Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race and featured over 800 racing cars and 1,000 drivers from across the globe, including past winners Andy Wallace, Emanuele Pirro and Yannick Dalmas. The Le Mans Classic featured 24 races with an average grid size of 60 entries and was attended by a record sell-out crowd of 235,000.
Driven by Stuart Morley Racing, a fourth-generation Bentley Blower racing team, The JBS Collection’s Bentley Blower—one of 84 cars in its race—began the first of three heats in 31st position, based on qualifying. Stuart Morley Racing and The JBS Blower stormed through the first heat to move up 16 spots. Starting the second heat in 15th place, Stuart Morley Racing once again gained substantial ground with The JBS Blower, finishing the second leg of the event in seventh place out of 84. During the final, determining heat Stuart Morley Racing and The JBS Blower were on pace to finish strong; clocking a 06:33 lap and trending toward a sub-06:30, never before done by a Blower in 100 years of racing at Le Mans.
With slightly more than three laps left in the race, The JBS Collection Blower—its final full lap at Le Mans clocked at an impressive 130 mph—had to leave the track due to the intake pipe issue.
“They promised me the race, they didn’t promise me the win,” said Jack Boyd Smith Jr. “We would have liked to see our Bentley Blower finish, and the way things were going it might have been a big moment for us, but things happen when you’re pushing and testing vehicles to their absolute limit. No shame in this for us, at all. We are so honored to have been at Le Mans, and performed so very well—our Blower now has a documented history of having raced there. That means a lot to Laura and I. We are so thankful to the event organizers, and to Bentley, and to Stuart Morley Racing for giving us every ounce of effort they had. This entire experience was fabulous.”
The opportunity to race and document its Blower at Le Mans was yet another significant first for Laura and Jack Boyd Smith Jr. This year The JBS Collection rose 50 spots to climb into The Classic Car Trust’s 2023 rankings—listed in the book, The Key—of the top 100 auto collections in the world. On May 21 The JBS Collection earned a prestigious Best in Class award at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, in Lake Como, Italy, for its 1933 Chrysler Custom Imperial LeBaron. Earlier this year The JBS Collection was honored with the Collector of the Year award at the Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance in Boca Raton, Florida.
The Bentley Blower Continuation Series began with Mulliner’s production of a new Blower prototype, known as Blower Car Zero, that underwent extensive testing before 12 commissioned Blowers could be built. To build Car Zero, team Mulliner dismantled a vintage, priceless 1929 Bentley Team Blower in order to catalog and digitally scan each component. A digital model was then produced that would later serve as a blueprint for Car Zero and the 12 new Blowers that were commissioned for production.
The JBS Collection’s 1929 Continuation Series Bentley Blower—one of only 12 commissioned Continuation Series Blowers hand-built by Mulliner of Bentley to nearly-exact 1929 specifications—raced at the 2023 Le Mans Classic, June 29 – July 2, in Le Mans, Sarthe, France. The JBS Collection’s Blower, with the legendary Stuart Morley Racing team behind the wheel, pushed a near-historic pace at the event, which—with a listed attendance of 235,000—was the largest historuc car race in history.
All told, 40,000 hours of work went into completing Blower Car Zero.
It had been nearly 90 years since a new Bentley Blower had been built, and securing all the parts for the Continuation Series required the team at Mulliner—which operates as Bentley’s personal commissioning division—to design and hand-craft nearly 2,000 individual parts using the original 1920s moulds and tooling jigs.
“The 1929 Bentley Blower was an imposing, pre-war racing machine built for speed and power,” said Smith Jr. “To have a Continuation Series 1929 Blower in The JBS Collection, and race it at Le Mans, is an honor and a privilege for Laura and I. It’s a dream come true, and we hope to do more. These Continuation Series Blowers are historic vehicles; they represent the highest levels of design, engineering and innovation, and that’s what The JBS Collection is all about.”
Get a feel for the car in action with this replay of Session 2 of the Le Mans Classic, Centenary Edition at the Circuit de la Sarthe, host of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.