13 – 16th June 2019
Iconic Le Mans endurance race celebrated 100 Years of Bentley with a series of activities and displays:
- A Le Mans street was renamed ‘Rue des Bentley Boys’
- All-new Flying Spur made its global rolling debut to lead an extraordinary squadron of Bentleys in pre-race Parade Lap
- ‘Bentley Through The Decades’ display featured 10 classic models
- Bentley exhibition open until September at 24 Hours of Le Mans Museum
Last weekend, the world’s greatest endurance race – 24 Hours of Le Mans – hosted a series of celebrations to mark the 100th anniversary of Bentley Motors. Over four days of Le Mans where Fernando Alonso became a winner again and was crowned World Endurance Champion alongside team-mates Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, Bentley’s Le Mans exploits were not forgotten.
The naming of a street after the famous Bentley Boys and a global first for the all-new Flying Spur were the highlights of the meet to emphasised the important role that Le Mans played in the British marque’s history. Motorsport has been at the heart of Bentley throughout its first 100 years – the brand made its Le Mans debut just two years after its foundation. The City of Le Man renamed a street ‘Rue des Bentley Boys’ in honour of the young Bentley racers who won five Le Mans 24-hour races between 1924 and 1930, and their successors who triumphed in 2003.
The renaming ceremony, which took place ahead of the race, was hosted by the Mayor of Le Mans, M.Stéphane Le Foll, who was joined by Gilles Huttepain, Administrator of Auto Club de l’Ouest (ACO), and Brian Gush, Bentley’s Director of Motorsport.
On Saturday, 24 Bentley cars from the last century took part in the pre-race Parade Lap. The all-new Flying Spur made its global rolling debut at the head of the Bentley contingent that included the EXP 2, the 1925 3 Litre ‘Speed’, the 4½ Litre Blower, the 3 Litre Team Car, a Brooklands, the 2003 Le Mans race-winning EXP Speed 8 and a Continental GT3-R.
The Flying Spur with All-Wheel-Drive is a Grand Tourer that sets a new benchmark for technology and craftsmanship in the luxury sector. It is also the first Bentley to feature All-Wheel Steering for greater agility, which was plain for all to see at Le Mans.
A unique static trackside display – ‘Bentley Through The Decades’ – was held on the Friday at the Dunlop Curve, showcasing a number of previous Le Mans entries, including Bentley Motor’s Birkin Team Car, the 1927 3-Litre No.2 Team Car from the 1930 race and the 1926 3-Litre Team Car No 8.
Also present was the legendary EXP 2, which is both the oldest surviving Bentley and the most successful racing Bentley ever.
Even after the 87th running of Le Mans, motorsport enthusiasts still can immerse themselves into Bentley’s racing heritage by visiting a special exhibition at the 24 Hours of Le Mans Museum until September 2019. It celebrates Bentley’s six famous victories at the event, with a replica Speed 8 and a Speed 6.
From Le Mans victories, through to the incredibly powerful road cars of the modern era, all of Bentley’s extraordinary cars have innovation hand-built into them. 10th July 2019 marks Bentley’s 100th year, which is a milestone achieved by only a few companies.
Author’s Biography: Melvyn Teillol-Foo (MTF)
Dr Melvyn Teillol-Foo is a contributor on AlphaLuxe web magazine. He was former CEO of PuristSPro.com horology discussion fora. He blends his scientific medical objectivity from the pharmaceutical industry with purist passion, in his musings about watches, travel, wine, food and other epicurean delights.
His travelogue ‘Lazing’ and feasting ‘Grazing’ series of articles have now passed into “mythic legend” on the original ‘ThePuristS.com’ website. Those were the halcyon days when he was “rich and famous” that he remembers with bittersweet fondness.
Dr Teillol-Foo is a quoted enthusiast on the watch industry, appearing in feature articles and interviews by Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Sunday Times (London), Chronos (Japan), Citizen Hedonist (France) and other publications. He has authored articles for magazines like International Watch (iW) – both U.S. & Chinese editions, ICON (Singapore), August Man (Singapore), Comfort (China) and The Watch (Hong Kong).