Bentley is secretly working on a new racing car that will return the marque to prototype endurance racing for the first time since it won Le Mans in 2003.
Although Bentley boss Wolfgang Durheimer won’t publically confirm the existence of the programme, he described it as "a good idea which we are looking at closely" before going on to give specific details about the car and where it will race.
At least initially there is no plan for the car to race at Le Mans, whose top LMP1 category Durheimer describes as "too expensive and too complicated." Clearly he may also be mindful of the fact that both Porsche and Audi have active LMP1 programmes and in its current troubled times, the VW group could probably live without three of its brands competing against each other in France.
Instead the car will be built to the new LMP2 regulations that come into force next year, and while the car would be eligible to run at Le Mans, Bentley is proud of its history of never having entered a factory car into a race it did not have at least a chance of winning it, and it’s a record it seems keen to preserve. Instead the car will focus at least at first on racing in America, most notably at the Daytona 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hours, but also in all other rounds of the Tudor MotorSport Championship, the premiere league of sports car racing in the US. The car would also be able to race in the European Le Mans series.
Interestingly, Durheimer says the programme will be run in house, rather than contracted out, as is on-going GT3 programme has been to Malcolm Wilson’s M-Sport operation or, indeed, like its last Le Mans programme where Racing Technology Norfolk designed, built and developed the car which was then raced by the late Richard Lloyd’s Apex Motorsport.