When Bentley announced its return to Le Mans in late 2000, it was clearly stated that it would be a three year programme with victory the only aim. After two years development, during which the Bentleys proved to be fast and reliable, outright victory was achieved on schedule and as hoped for in June this year. As a result, Bentley Motors confirmed today that Bentley would not be returning to Le Mans in 2004 although the company will continue to review its position.
Said chairman and CEO Franz-Josef Paefgen: "Le Mans is part of our rich heritage and is very important to us. It has also helped us revive the unique spirit of Bentley and it has created a new motorsport heritage for the marque, but when we announced our return in November 2000 we always said this would be a three year programme. In the past three Le Mans we have been more successful than we could have dreamed, culminating in first and second places for the Bentley Speed 8 at this most famous of races this year. This has provided an excellent boost for our image and a successful communications platform for the introduction of the Continental GT, which has been launched to great acclaim."
He continued: "I’m not saying we are leaving motorsport for good, and we will certainly continue to review our position. But being pragmatic, all our efforts need to be concentrated on the next phase of our regeneration, and our priority is delivering a new range of Bentleys to our rapidly expanding customer base."Published 22 October 2003