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Overview

The Bentley Speed 8 is a Le Mans Prototype based on the Audi R8 LMP racecar.

Overview

For 2003, Bentley decided that their new evolved Speed 8 would need competitive testing in order to prepare for an overall win at Le Mans. The pair of new cars were therefore entered in the American Le Mans Series 12 Hours of Sebring. Despite having to start at the back of the field due to a rules infraction in qualifying, the two cars quickly made their way through the field. The Bentleys were able to take third and fourth places, behind the factory and a privateer R8.

Returning to Le Mans with assistance from Joest Racing, a Bentley started from pole position. With no works Audi team participating, the two cars were able to lead nearly the entire event, with the #7 entry ahead of the #8, which had some electrical problems during the race. After 377 laps, the #7 Bentley successfully took the chequered flag, followed by the sister car two laps behind. This helped give the Volkswagen Group their fourth straight victory at Le Mans, split between the Audi and Bentley brands. It was the last win at Le Mans for a closed cockpit car until Peugeot's win in 2009.

Following Le Mans the Bentley program ended, chassis no. 002-3 was last raced at Road America in 2007 prior to the 2012 RM Monterey auction.

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