Bentley Motors is delighted to announce that both its triumphant Speed 8 Le Mans prototypes will be seen in action at the Goodwood Festival of Speed from Friday, 11 July to Sunday 13 July. The new Continental GT, the fastest four seat coupe in the world, will also make its first UK dynamic appearance in the Supercar Run – with five times Le Mans winner Derek Bell at the wheel.
The battle-scarred Speed 8s that finished first and second in the French classic race, cheered on by over 100,000 British fans, will make a number of demonstration runs at Goodwood over the course of the three days. Le Mans winner Guy Smith will be in the victorious number 7 car with David Brabham driving the runner-up number 8 Bentley.
Neither car has been cleaned for Goodwood and they will appear exactly as they were the minute they crossed the line at Le Mans at 4.00 p.m. on Sunday 15 June to earn Bentley its sixth win in the world’s greatest motor race and its first for 73 years. Only champagne and tears of joy have washed away any of the dirt!
The winning Bentley Speed 8 (driven in the race by Bentley Boys Tom Kristensen, Dindo Capello and Guy Smith – the second placed team comprising British F1 stars Johnny Herbert, Mark Blundell and David Brabham), has been on a unique journey since that momentous and emotional moment. The day after the race France was treated to an incredible spectacle – that of the winning Bentley being driven down the Champs Elysees with Derek Bell at the helm.
Bentley’s two original vintage Blower Bentleys, one being driven by Chairman and Chief Executive, Franz-Josef Paefgen, followed in convoy carrying the triumphant six Bentley Boys.
The number 7 car was then transported to London to be guest of honour at a victory dinner at the Savoy – simply getting it into the hotel took three hours, the complete removal of the Savoy’s famous revolving doors and the construction of a special tool to tip the car through 45 degrees to get it into the ballroom. When the original Bentley Boys celebrated their second win in similar style in 1927, their 3 litre Bentley was also guest of honour, but cars were easier to disassemble in those days and the removal of the wheels and axles enabled the car to take its seat without the hotel doors being removed!
This now famous Bentley recently returned from a whistle-stop tour of Italy with local hero Dindo Capello.
Those looking to see the 198mph Continental GT put through its paces for the first time in the UK will also enjoy the sight and sound of the 560 PS coupe rocketing up the hill. With a 0-60mph time of 4.7sec, permanent four-wheel drive, a twin-turbo, 6-litre W12 engine delivering almost as much power as our racing car and Bell at its wheel, it is guaranteed to be one of the most memorable participants at this year’s Festival.Published 2 July 2003