In the quest for speed, motor racing is sometimes criticised for losing a pinch of soul in sacrificing everything on the altar of performance purism. That’s quite unfair. Reams of safety regulations and cutting edge technology squeezing racing advantage to the thousandth of a millisecond does not change the one constant, that danger is never less than a blink away. That said, racing is not all about the head and that likely explains why the race legends of former eras continue to tug at the petrolhead’s heartstrings. This emotional heartland of classic racing is where the BR V2-94 Bellytanker Bronze hails from. And Bell & Ross decided to case it in bronze in no small part due to the runaway success of an earlier bronze watch created in collaboration with The Rake and Revolution: last year’s Bell & Ross x The Rake and Revolution Bellytanker “El Mirage” chronograph in bronze.
“Bellytanker” comes from the racing scene of postwar America (more details, here) where hot rodders came up with the ingenious idea of converting drop tanks used by American warplanes to carry extra fuel under the fuselage/belly or wings during the Second World War (to reach Germany!), into chases for race cars. Already shaped for minimal drag, these blimp-shaped belly tanks were retrofitted with enough horsepower to blast about the salt flats at insane speeds above 150 mph (240 kph). Think mini-Mini on super-steroids with everything but the driver and the barest mechanicals, thrown out.