Bentley tribute to

Le Mans glory

Bentley Continental GT Coupe Le Mans Collection and Bentley Speed 8, 2023, pair
Bentley Continental GT Coupe Le Mans Collection, 2023, front
Bentley Continental GT Coupe Le Mans Collection, 2023, interior
Bentley Continental GT Coupe Le Mans Collection, 2023, dials
Bentley Continental GT Coupe Le Mans Collection, 2023, sill
Bentley Continental GT Coupe Le Mans Collection, 2023, dashboard detail

TO mark 20 years since Bentley's sixth victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and 100 years since the first running of the legendary race, Bentley is creating a limited edition of Continental GT Coupes and Continental GTCs.

Each will be powered by the Bentley 6.0-litre twin turbo W12 engine, the most successful 12-cylinder engine of the modern era.

The Le Mans Collection includes unique exterior and interior details that echo the design of the Le Mans winning Speed 8 #7.

All Le Mans Collection models are specified with the three-way Bentley Rotating Display, offering a choice of touchscreen, dual veneer or analogue dials - but with a twist.

In place of the standard central dial is a Vitrine displaying an engine valve from the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 of the 2003 Le Mans winning Bentley Speed 8.

The engine was removed after the contest and preserved, and now 24 of the 32 valves from the engine have been bisected to create 48 artefacts for this exclusive collection of ultimate Grand Tourers.

In another thoughtful touch, the standard 12-hour analogue clock is replaced by a digital clock with a bespoke dial design - a 24 hour one, naturally.

Meanwhile, the distinctive Bentley matrix grille - originally developed to protect the radiator on the unpaved Le Mans racetrack of the 1920s - features a painted #7 in Arctica white, combining the race-winning number of 2003 with the painted radiators of the Bentleys that won Le Mans five times between 1924 and 1930.

Mulliner, Bentley's personal commissioning division, has taken inspiration from the dark green Speed 8 racing cars that swept all before them at Le Mans in 2003.

From the Verdant green exterior to the sliver of Speed 8 engine displayed in the facia, the Le Mans Collection is a tribute to a long and glorious shared history between Bentley and the Le Mans 24 Hours.

In 2003, Bentley's two works Speed 8s finished first and second in this most gruelling of endurance races.

Car #7 of Guy Smith, Tom Kristensen and Rinaldo Capello covered 377 laps at an average speed of 214.33km/h (133mph), followed by the #8 Speed 8 of Johnny Herbert, Mark Blundell and David Brabham.

Bentley has not given a price for the Le Mans models but they can be expected start from a large premium over the £220,000 cost of the Continental.

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