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LMM Bentley 2003 Speed 8 -2003

1:1 Bentley 2003

The Bentley Speed 8 (developed from the Bentley EXP Speed 8) was an Autosport Award Winning Le Mans Prototype race car that was designed by Peter Elleray. The EXP Speed 8 debuted in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2001 and won the race in 2003. It has a strong resemblance to and shares some technology with the Audi R8C, which had raced only once before Audi dropped the project to focus on the later dominant Audi R8.

A picture of its parent - the Audi taken at Silverstone 2011


In 2001 Bentley returned to the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans race, after a gap of 68 years, for a planned three-year campaign with the EXP Speed 8 in the closed-cockpit LMGTP class. (This was the car produced by Carrera many years ago)
During its run, the Bentleys were the only cars to run in the LMGTP class. Two cars were entered, with one earning third place behind a pair of Audi R8s. The other car unfortunately retired after a strong run in the rain due to a fire which caused the driver to abandon the car. Bentley returned in 2002, using their new larger engine, now running a lone entry as a testbed for the evolved Speed 8 in 2003. The car managed fourth place, once again behind only R8s.

For 2003, Bentley decided that their new evolved Speed 8 would need competitive testing in order to prepare for an overall win at Le Mans. The pair of new cars were therefore entered in the American Le Mans Series 12 Hours of Sebring. Despite having to start at the back of the field due to a rules infraction in qualifying, the two cars quickly made their way through the field. The Bentleys were able to take third and fourth places, behind the factory and a privateer R8.

Returning to Le Mans with assistance from Joest Racing, a Bentley started from pole position. With no works Audi team participating, the two cars were able to lead nearly the entire event, with the #7 entry ahead of the #8, which had some electrical problems during the race. After 377 laps, the #7 Bentley successfully took the chequered flag, followed by the sister car two laps behind. This helped give the Volkswagen Group their fourth straight victory at Le Mans, split between the Audi and Bentley brands. It was the last win at Le Mans for a closed cockpit car until Peugeot's win in 2009.

Pictures of the car at Le mans in 2003 that i took on my last visit to the Iconic Race




The car as produced by LMM is an absolutely stupendous rendition of the 1:1 car.







I want thank Gary Cannell for taking the time to take the pictures and sending them to us for publication. The car is available now at MRE with the members discount.
[+] 3 members Like abie321's post

Thanks for sharing the history of the real car! That must've been amazing seeing and hearing and feeling (not sure if you get the kick in the chest from downshifts like the old F1 cars if you're close enough?) the car go past you.
I only own 2 LMM cars - they make exquisite models and this one looks just as exemplary!
[+] 1 member Likes DPJ's post

While the Bentley had the turbo low growl, those Chey v8's made your stomach rumble - they were/are awesome
[+] 1 member Likes abie321's post

Anthony, what's up with you man?
I had you pinned in a whole different decade 50-60's but with your recent posts on "modern" looks like you've jumped "back to the future"  Thumbup

With kind regards
[+] 1 member Likes Tamar's post

Bwahahahaha Tamar ....

I LOVE Le mans. My preference will always be 50's to early 70's, but man some of the new cars are just fantastic - The porsche 919, The Audi R18, this Bentley,the Peugeot the Chevvies, are all just oputstanding.  Having seen them all live helps of course Rofl Rofl
[+] 2 members Like abie321's post

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