Dr Ulrich Eichhorn

Occupation: Member of the board for engineering,Bentley Motors

What is your greatest achievement? The VW One-litre-car and the current Bentley programme.

What is your biggest regret? I don’t think you can ever get too much time behind the wheel of a Bentley!

Whose work in the industry today do you admire most and why? Outside the Volkswagen Group, the tyre manufacturers for their unrelenting progress and bringing these advances to the road without receiving much recognition. Unfortunately, most people think tyres are just ‘round and black’.

Who inspired you to join the industry and why? Working at our family’s petrol station I decided at the age of 14 that I wanted to not only fuel, wash and repair but also create cars.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given? ‘Deeply understand the issues; get the best people and then turn them loose on the problem’, offered by a senior management colleague.

What’s the biggest challenge you’re facing in the next 12 months? Doing multiple launches to the highest possible quality, while also setting the course for the future.

What car do you drive for fun? Bentley S2 1960 – the first full year of Bentley V8 production.

When did you last go for a drive for the sake of it? Where did you go? Last Sunday, in my S2, to the best pub not too close to my house.

What’s the best moment you’ve had in a car? I couldn’t possibly comment.

What was your first car? A BMW 2002, didn’t last very long…

Did you pass your test first time? Yep! Same for truck and motorcycle.

How will most cars be powered in 30 years time? Internal combustion engine, burning a high percentage of next-generation Bio-Fuel while cleaning the air, with a percentage of cars being battery-powered electric vehicles.

It’s your last drive. One car, one road. Which and where? A Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible, going around the world – twice!

What music do you listen to in the car? Bert Kaempfert and The Beautiful South, as well Naim Audio’s Test CDs provided to Bentley.

What’s the best book about cars or car people you’ve ever read? Piero Taruffi : The Technique of Motor Racing; Henry Ford: Today and Tomorrow; Ferdinand Piech: Auto.Biography.

Can you define Bentley in less than 20 words? Definitive British Grand Tourers. Power, refinement, craftmanship.

When will the current Continental series start to be replaced? Soon enough!

Is diesel an appropriate power source for a Bentley? Globally we are best positioned with our FlexFuel strategy, although we never say never.

Where does WO stand among the world’s greatest automotive engineers? Definitely in the top 20. He invented aluminium pistons, brought together design and development, and created the category of big, powerful, yet wieldy cars with everyday usability and comfort.

Is it your intention that a factory Bentley will race at Le Mans within five years? We certainly won’t wait another 73 years like before!