In 2001, Bentley returned to Le Mans after an absence of more than 70 years with a machine known as the Speed 8 (pictured above), eventually winning the 24-hour race in 2003. Bentley hasn't been involved in motorsports since, although a new report indicates that could change soon.

In a recent interview with Autocar, Bentley CEO Wolfgang Durheimer stated that a new LMP1 race car could be in the works to compete against Audi and the upcoming Porsche LMP1 racer. Interestingly, all three automakers are part of the VW Group. "There is nothing saying the same brands can't compete against each other – the only important thing is that the racing activity supports fully the brand identity," he said. "The three brands of Bentley, Porsche and Audi could race in different regions and come together five or six times a year for the world sportscar championship and then once per year in France. It's not decided, but it is possible."

In addition to the usual marketing benefits of a racing program, Durheimer indicated that the main motivation for getting Bentley back into motorsports would be to develop a connection with the race team and the company's production facility in Crewe. "I am also keen that people from the road car side sample the racing side – I saw at Porsche that one or two years with the race team can really change how people work."


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 11 Comments
      Javanese
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'm willing to bet it'll be essentially the R18 with a petrol engine. Just like the old Speed 8 which is basically the R8 with a roof. Seriously even the name hints it, Speed 8 to R8. When ACO finally manage to make wrangled the diesel horsepower down to petrol level cars, bentley will be at Lemans.
        sparrk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Javanese
        it will probably be the same car , but : - Audi R18 with a diesel engine - Bentley Speed 18 with a petrol engine - Porsche 918 LM hybrid.
        The Doctor
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Javanese
        The name hints at the only bit the R8 and Speed 8 had in common - the 8 cylinder engine. Otherwise, the Bentley owed far more to the R8C (which was designed and built by RTN rather than Audi)
        Drakkon
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Javanese
        The name Speed 8 goes back to the 1930's with Bentley. Yes, the 8 is referring the cylinder count on the Bentley. Audi came to the R8 name under a different path. The did bother to change the name to R10 when they changed the engine, but you'll notice they did not launch a 15 cyl engine when the name changed to R15.
      Drakkon
      • 3 Years Ago
      All for it. I second the vote for Diesels for Audi, Petro for Bentley and hybrid for Porsche. Leave the Audis in Europe. Bring the 918 and 911 hybrids to ALMS.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Georg
      • 3 Years Ago
      the last time they used a Audi chassie and a Audi engine to race the 24h and Audi factory team to a break and went on holiday in 2003... would not be surprised if they do it again.. first with Porsche second with Bentley