The Bentley Speed 8 was an Autosport Award Winning Le Mans Prototype race car.
It was based on the EXP Speed 8* which first raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2001 using a 3.6 litre V8 engine from the Audi R8**. It was Bentley’s first race at Le Mans after a gap of 68 years.
The EXP Speed 8 performed well at Le Mans in 2001 & 2002, but the car was redesigned for the 2003 edition, dropping the “EXP” from the name, and the engine was enlarged to 4 litres producing 600 horse-power and a maximum speed of 350 kmh (217 mph).
In 2003 Bentley built two Speed 8s and raced them first in the American Le Mans Series 12 Hours of Sebring. They took third & fourth places, despite having to start at the back of the pack.
When they got to Le Mans the two cars led for most of the race and after 377 laps, this car, Bentley #7, took the chequered flag, with Bentley #8 finishing two laps behind.
This car belongs to Collection Automobile Club de l’Ouest and is on display at the Museum of the 24 hrs of Le Mans.
* There is an EXP Speed 8 at the Coventry Transport Museum.
** Audi & Bentley are sibling brands in the Volkeswagen family.