Cars of 1998
More on Bentley in these books:
The year 2021 marks the 20th anniversary of Bentley Motors' return to Le Mans. After seven decades of abstinence Bentley’s name was entered into the starter list of the '24 Hours of Le Mans'. 20 years have passed since and obviously activities to celebrate that anniversary are almost nil on what had been a considerably risky affair for the English manufacturer – which ended as an impressive success. When from two registered vehicles, one made it to the finish in 2001, achieved 1st place in its class and an impressive 3rd position in the overall ranking a famous English poet could be cited "All is well that ends well".
Insiders had already been gained the status of cognoscenti during second half of 2000, when they became informed about Bentley's interest of actively entering international motor sport. On the occasion of the opening of a new European headquarters of Bentley Motors in Berlin, a model (in fairly large scale) for the brand's return on the Sarthe circuit was shown with added info that construction had already started. That step to a certain degree was dictated by the fact of Bentley's annual sales figures of around 1,500 units were insufficient. Since the takeover by the Volkswagen Group, the Board of Management had specified the brand should achieve to find customers for 9,000+ vehicles per year. This ambition could only be achieved by expanding the range of models and significantly sharpening the profile.
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Fast forward: After taking the first step in 2001, Bentley also took part in the race in France in 2002 – and gained the pinnacle in 2003: achieving overall victory in the '24 Hours of Le Mans'. Since then, Bentley has successfully occupied a considerable segment in the market of luxurious sports cars, with sales figures higher than those specified at initially, and is engaged in various racing series around the globe. A key factor for the 'turn around' as regards the fate of the brand have been the activities that 20 years ago identified the 'new' Bentley competition cars as being equivalent to those legendary cars that were driven by the 'Bentley Boys' about a century ago.
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