Return to Le Mans: 2003
In 2001 Bentley returned to the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans race, after a gap of 68 years, for a planned three-year campaign with the racing Bentley car the EXP Speed 8. Two cars were entered in the 2001 race, with one earning third place. The other car unfortunately retired after a strong run in the rain due to a fire which caused the driver to abandon the car.
Bentley returned in 2002, using their new larger engine, using this as a test run before entering again in 2003. The car managed fourth place.
In 2003, after 73 years since Bentley’s last win at Le Mans, two Bentleys entered the epic 24-hour endurance race. At 4pm on Saturday June 14 the race began with the two Bentley’s taking the lead. The number 7 car put in consistent laps, while the number 8 car set the fastest lap of the race.
To celebrate this historic win, the 2003 Le Mans winners recreated Woolf Barnato's famous 1927 celebratory dinner.