In 1923, France’s epic endurance race, Le Mans 24 Hours, roared into existence. Bentley won the race five times between 1924 and 1930, securing its place in Le Mans legend.
The new Le Mans Edition celebrates the 10th anniversary of Bentley’s historic 2003 Le Mans 24 Hours win. Six distinctive specifications inspired by Bentley’s victorious drivers, pay homage to these remarkable characters and their achievements behind the wheel. Produced in a limited series of 48 per model, the Le Mans Edition celebrates Bentley’s enduring legacy of spirit, speed and style.
The first 24 Hours of Le Mans was run on May 26 and 27, 1923. W.O. Bentley originally thought the race “madness”, but was talked into entering by a young, determined driver, John Duff. The Bentley car took 4th place – and W.O. became hooked on Le Mans 24 Hours, the race that would make his cars famous.
In 1924, John Duff and Frank Clement drove as a team for the second year in a row, this time winning 1st place for Bentley in a 3 Litre. Defeating many of the leading sports cars of the day, they set the precedent for the impressive Bentley wins still to come.
In 1927, the infamous White House crash put two of the three Bentley teams out of commission. Dudley Benjafield and Sammy Davis, the third Bentley team, stopped to help out both teammates and rivals before going on to win the race. Their sporting spirit impressed the public, and the Bentley Boys became national heroes.
In one of the closest-fought Le Mans 24 Hours races ever, the Bentley team very nearly lost out to the American Black Hawk Stutz in 1928. The team of Woolf Barnato – then chairman of Bentley Motors – and Bernard Rubin reached the finish line with a cracked chassis and detached radiator hose.
Year after year, Bentley had worked tirelessly to improve their engines, pit procedures, and team discipline. In 1929, their efforts paid off: the team took home the top four prizes, and the Bentley Boys’ legend at Le Mans was secured.
In 1930, the two 6.5-liter cars of Barnato/Kidston and Clement/Watney prevailed on the track, taking 1st and 2nd place. Just months later, the worsening world economic climate brought a close to this great period in Bentley’s history.
After two strong years in 2001 and 2002, Bentley claimed in 2003 its most spectacular win since 1930. Two Bentley Speed 8s took both 1st and 2nd place at Le Mans 24 Hours, almost exactly 73 years to the day since the two Speed 6s had achieved the same. It was a day those who witnessed it will never forget.
Bentley celebrates its racing legend with the Le Mans Edition, produced in a limited series of just 48 vehicles, for each of the following models: Mulsanne, Continental GT W12 Speed, Continental GT W12, Continental GT V8, Continental GT W12 Convertible, Continental GT V8 Convertible.