Bentley Motors' illustrious racing heritage is being honoured at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans – the world’s greatest motorsport event. To mark the company’s Centenary and the brand’s close association with the race, the City of Le Mans has renamed a street in honour of the indomitable ‘Bentley Boys’ who won five Le Mans 24-hour races between 1924 and 1930, and their successors who took the laurels in 2003. The street will be named 'Rue des Bentley Boys'.
On Saturday, 25 Bentley models from across our last century will drive the Parade Lap at the beginning of this year’s race. They will be led by the all-new Flying Spur in its global dynamic debut, and the 2003 Le Mans race-winning EXP Speed 8.
A trackside display entitled ‘Bentley Through The Decades’ will also be a major highlight of the 87th running of the endurance race this weekend in France. Among the legendary Bentley models will be previous Le Mans race entries, including Bentley Motor’s Birkin Team Car; the legendary 1927 3- Litre No 2 Team Car from the 1930 race and the 1926 3 Litre Team Car No 8. EXP 2, the oldest surviving Bentley, will also be on display. Although it never raced at Le Mans, it is the most successful racing Bentley ever with 11 first and 7 second places to its name.
A new display detailing Bentley’s racing heritage will also open in the trackside 24 Hours of Le Mans Museum. Honouring Bentley’s six famous victories at the event the display will showcase a replica Speed 8 and Speed 6 and will run until September 2019.
Bentley Boys at Le Mans
During the 1920s, Bentley enjoyed great success on the racetrack and also broke many speed records. It brought W.O Bentley's new company front page recognition, none more so than the company’s first Le Mans victory in 1924.
W.O. worked with ‘Bentley Boy’ John Duff to prepare for the 1924 endurance race, travelling to France to watch his car take the company’s first chequered flag at Le Mans. The dashing Bentley Boys went on to win four more consecutive races from 1927 to 1930, dominating the Golden Era of Le Mans racing and delivering one of the sport’s greatest achievements.
After an absence of 73 years, Bentley returned to contest Le Mans in 2001 and won the race in 2003.
The Mayor of Le Mans, M.Stéphane Le Foll, led the re-naming ceremony and was joined by Auto Club de l’Ouest President M. Pierre Fillon, Bentley’s Director of Motorsport, Brian Gush, Bentley’s Head of Heritage Collection, Robin Peel and several current day ‘Bentley Boys.’