Bentley back to Le Mans

Over seven decades since the last works Bentley raced at Le Mans, the marque is returning in 2001 to the scene of its greatest triumphs.

The announcement immediately allayed worries that the car might not be ready to do justice to Bentley's proud Sarthe heritage, created when they won the 24 hours five times between 1924 and 1930. The all-new chassis and body will use an extensively reworked version of the Audi V8 which dominated this year's 24hours, and the project will be managed by Richard Lloyd at Apex Motorsport in Buckingham.

The Bentley EXP Speed 8 will be built by Racing Technology Norfolk, but the driver line-up for the 2001 Le Mans race is not yet decided.

Chief Executive of Bentley Motors, Tony Gott said: "This transitional strategy of using proven engine technology from within the group will enable us to shake down our all-new chassis and body, while developing an all-new Bentley Le Mans engine for future years." DM