Breitling’s CAP 232 airplane challenged Bentley’s Continental GT Speed flagship coupe to an exhibition race at the world famous National Air Race Championships in Reno, on Sunday, Sept. 15. Reaching speeds of nearly 200 mph, the Continental GT Speed Le Mans limited edition proved victorious, narrowly defeating the plane through the course.
Guy Smith, who was behind the wheel during Bentley’s triumphant championship return 10 years ago at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, was chosen to compete with the Breitling CAP 232 airplane in the new Le Mans edition of the Bentley Continental GT Speed, which was created to commemorate Bentley’s six historic victories of the epic endurance race.
The new model is the brand’s performance flagship and Bentley’s fastest production car ever, with 616 horsepower and an engine capable of reaching a top speed of 205 miles per hour. The CAP 232, with the latest version of Lycoming’s 6-cylinder engine, the IO-580, has 330 horsepower and a top speed of 215 mph.
“It was a thrill to race David Martin and the Breitling CAP 232,” said Smith, 39, of the United Kingdom. “Bentley’s technological advancements with the Continental GT Speed make for a stunning limited edition Le Mans model. It’s a vehicle that takes both the future and heritage of Bentley into account with exhilarating precision. It was neck and neck, but we were able to win it by a few seconds in the end.”
Martin has flown the Breitling CAP 232 for more than a decade. After earning a place on the United States Aerobatic Team in 1997, he attended seven World Aerobatic Championships, winning an individual gold medal and three team bronze medals. In 2001, he won the United States National Championship. Martin will once again be competing at the World Aerobatic Championships in Texas this October in the CAP 232.
On race day, Martin took to the skies with the Bentley Le Mans Continental GT Speed in his sights.
“The whole event was a lot of fun,” said Martin, a Texas native. “When you’re competing with a car that’s got more than 600 horsepower, a lot needs to be taken into consideration. It was a close race, and one that really exemplifies the spirit of the Breitling and Bentley partnership. It was a fitting homage to the 10 year anniversary of the partnership, as well as a nice addition to the National Championship Air Races’ 50th anniversary program.”