The greatest longtails… in the world
Le Mans is almost upon us. Time to pay tribute to some of the maddest-looking racers to take on the 24 hours…
Posted: 14 Jun 2013
2003 Bentley Speed 8
There are all sorts of stories surrounding the genesis and eventually victory of the Bentley Speed Eight, but there is no doubting that by the time the car won the 24 Hours in 2003, it featured a whopping great big tail.
Bentley, five times winners in Le Mans first decade, returned to La Sarthe in 2001 with what, to its credit, it said would be a three year campaign. The car, based on Audi’s superseded R8C prototype, ran as the EXP Speed 8 in ’01 and ’02 and clearly showed it had the right stuff, if only pesky sister company Audi didn’t have cars with that just that little bit more.
When Audi ‘opted’ not to race in 2003 the way was clear for an emotionally potent one-two. It will be interesting to see how Volkswagen Group handles the internal politics next year when Porsche returns to the 24 hours for the first time in 15 years.
Porsche has 16 wins at Le Mans since that first with the 917 in 1970, the most of any manufacturer. Audi is second on 11 though nobody is expecting that not to read 12 once the R18 longtails are fired up next week....