Last week Team Bentley completed two demanding test sessions at Jerez, Spain and Paul Ricard, France in preparation for the 24 heures du Mans and the Sebring 12 hours. Despite facing inclement weather conditions, both test sessions confirmed the potential of the new 2003 Bentley Speed 8 with the car achieving competitive lap times at Jerez.

Johnny Herbert successfully rolled out the number 8 Speed 8 on Monday 10 February at Jerez. However, whilst undertaking tyre tests the following day, Johnny Herbert was involved in an incident causing significant damage to the new Bentley. The car was returned to rtn for a thorough investigation. Johnny climbed out of the car and walked away from the accident unharmed.

Unfortunately Team Bentley managed only half a day testing at Paul Ricard due to snow and icy conditions, thus unable to complete all of the planned car and tyre testing.

Team director John Wickham said: "Although troublesome, the test sessions were encouraging for both the team and drivers. The 2003 Bentley Speed 8 has shown considerable improvement in downforce, grip, handling and driver comfort in comparison with its predecessor."

Published : 22/02/03 Author : Melanie Carter

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