Successful and rare, the racing car which marked Bentley’s first victory at Le Mans in more than 70 years is about to be auctioned.
The Bentley Speed 8 was commissioned by Dr. Ferdinand Piech, the chairman of Volkswagen who directed the acquisition of Bentley in 1998. Piech is also responsible for the notoriously fast and successful Porsche 917, he also worked on the legendary Audi Quattro rally car. And Piech also decided that Bentley’s racing heritage should be revived.
Powered by a 3.6 liter twin-turbocharged V8 which puts out 670 horsepower, the Bentley Speed 8 was built to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Two cars were entered in the 2001 edition of the famous endurance race, one of them finished third. The following year Bentley finished in fourth place overall. In 2003, the two Bentley Speed 8s came first and second at Le Mans, 73 years since Bentley’s last win at Le Mans. Piech had restored Bentley’s racing reputation.
Following their success at Le Mans, the racing program was ended and the Speed 8s never raced again. This particular model was sold to a Japanese collector. It was subsequently sold to an American collector, who last exercised it at Road America in 2007 but declares it fully prepared and race-ready for its next owner.
The Bentley Speed 8 will be will be auctioned by RM Auctions during the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance this August. The Bentley is expected to fetch $1,900,000 and $2,500,000. For more information visit RM Auctions.