Bentley Speed 8

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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