Financier, motor racing driver and Chairman of Bentley Cars. Joel Woolf 'Babe' Barnato was born in Westminster, London, the son of Barney Barnato, an exceedingly rich man who made his fortune in the Kimberley diamond mines of South Africa. At the age of only 2, whilst sailing back from South Africa to England, his father inexplicably committed suicide by jumping overboard. After many years a wrangling, Woolf was finally given his inheritance. As he grew older, he joined a social set of very rich daredevil amateur drivers called the 'Bentley Boys' as they liked the cars of W.O.Bentley. Nicknamed 'Babe' because of his heavyweight boxer's physique, he agreed to finance W.O.Bentley and became Chairman of the company in 1925. He began racing at Brooklands and in 1925 he co-drove a Bentley to break the World's 24hr record at 95.03mph at Montlhery, France. Woolf raced Bentleys in the Le Mans 24hrs races in only 1928, 1929 and 1930, winning each time. In 1930 he accepted a challenge to race his Bentley against an express train, Le Train Bleu (the Blue Train) from Cannes to London. Barnato bet that he would drive his Bentley from Cannes to London and beat the train to Calais. After averaging 43.43mph during the 570 mile journey to Calais, Barnato crossed the Channel and finally reached the Conservative Club in St.James Street, London, beating the Blue Train to Calais by four minutes and winning his £200 bet. Barnato died in Marylebone, London, in 1948.