He’s talking about how Hunt refused to race a car he felt was unsafe, but Bell decided to anyway. We also talk a bit about David Purley, who was another great mate.
Here is a driver, it’s safe to say, with a huge racing pedigree. Five-times Le Mans winner, for a start.
So what, then, are we doing discussing all this in an SUV? Bell has been heavily involved with Bentley since they went to Le Mans in 2001, and was called on to advise during the development of Bentley’s stonking Bentayga, a car that has split opinion like no other Bentley ever built. Some don’t like the design, others are disgusted that Bentley has sullied itself in the SUV waters. But if purists for the brand want to see more exciting production sports cars along the lines of the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept, there needs to be a hard cash injection to pay for it. The Bentayga will undoubtedly be it: just look at the Porsche Cayenne, which sells more than the rest of the range put together, ro Jaguar’s F-Pace which is the fastest-selling Jaguar ever.
The Bentayga is also, whether you like the idea or not, an extremely accomplished off-roader; Goodwood Road and Racing took it mud-plugging in Palm Springs with Bell in January.
Bell’s input into Bentayga was valued by the company; he commented during development on the refusal of the gearbox to shift from seventh to sixth quickly enough on throttle input, so the chief engineer had the ratio altered for a smoother drive.
Then we’re off, ploughing up the hillclimb, accelerating hard than ploughing on the brakes and turning in. The lack of roll is remarkable, as is Bell’s skill at piloting a very heavy, luxurious SUV with spirit. What a strange and exhilarating few minutes at Goodwood.