Geneva, 27th February 2001…. Bentley Motors today launches two exclusive and limited edition motors, specially developed to celebrate the company’s return to the world’s greatest motor race, Le Mans, after 71 Years.
The launch of the Bentley Arnage Le Mans Series and the Bentley Continental R Le Mans Series comes just seven weeks after Bentley Motors officially unveiled its EXP Speed 8 Le Mans contender at the Detroit Motor Show. The introduction of these very special motors, of which only 150 Arnage and just 50 Continental R Le Mans Series models will be made, is already prompting these cars to be designated as collector’s items. The show cars are finished in an appropriately special Bentley green known as Verdant Green. The interiors, which showcase the leather working skills of Bentley Motors Crewe-based craftsmen and women feature two colours: the main trim is in Autumn Hide with contrasting detail in English Tan. A number of exquisite details, wrought by Bentley’s specialists at Crewe further distinguish the Le Mans Series cars.
The Arnage Le Mans has its instrument gauges finished in racing green, with special Limited Edition insignia on the speedometer and tachometer and the gear lever is finished in English Tan hide. Externally, 18 inch Le Mans Series five spoke, sports wheels and chrome, quad exhaust pipes on both sides of the modified rear bumper clearly proclaim the car’s heritage. Vents on the lower front wings and special badges designating the car as a Le Mans Series model underline the exclusivity of each one to be produced. Red brake calipers complete the subtle additions and ensure the car’s provenance is unmistakeable to enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike. Mechanically the V8 6.75 litre engine powers the Bentley Arnage Le Mans Series. Producing 400bhp (298Kw) at 4,000rpm, the intercooled and turbocharged engine also develops an impressive 616lb ft (825Nm) of torque at 2,100rpm. The two-door Bentley Continental R Le Mans Series is developed from the beautiful Continental R Mulliner. With power increased to 420bhp (313Kw), this elegant and flawlessly built motor car is further distinguished from its four door sibling by sports seats with perforated hide, a unique front console package with racing style starter button and gear change knob with an integrated sports mode switch. Racing green faces to the instrument gauges and winged Bentley emblems embossed into the English Tan hide front and rear head restraints, with co-ordinated two-tone perforated leather seats further stress the exclusivity of this limited edition grand tourer, which boasts room for four adults to travel in unmitigated luxury and comfort. A casual glance at the outside may not immediately tell the whole story but the flared wheel arches, red-painted brake calipers, two sets of twin exhaust pipes on either side, front wing vents and front wing badges proclaiming the proud legend Le Mans Series, let expert and amateur know that this already remarkable motor car has a new identity.
Bentley Motors, maker of the world’s most luxurious and powerful production cars, has developed the Le Mans Series to maintain the company’s proud and unique sporting record at that most demanding event which shares, with the Indy 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix, status as one of the world’s three greatest motor races. The momentous return to the Sarthe circuit this year has generated unprecedented levels of interest from around the world, and the Le Mans Series cars reflect that passion in a way that only cars bearing the Bentley wings can. Tony Gott, Chief Executive of Bentley Motors commenting on the launch said: “Just seven weeks ago, at the Detroit International Motor Show, we unveiled the noisiest, most uncomfortable, cramped and arguably impractical Bentley ever made – the EXP Speed 8. It is our 2001 challenger for the 24 hour race at Le Mans, the scene of our greatest triumphs over seventy years ago. As I said at the time: It drinks fuel at a rate that makes the most thirsty four by four sports utility seem like it’s on an economy run; it has no airbags, cup holders or satellite navigation and it’ll never sell!” He added: “It’s a car that will compete at an event that is so important to us that you could say it is in the DNA of every Bentley ever made. Bentley is going back to its roots with a race car of which W O himself would have been proudly delighted and we’re going back to that most demanding of races, which Bentley first won in 1924 and then in 1927, 28, 29 and in 1930. The Le Mans Series cars unmistakeably carry the genes of those race winners in every detail – from their discrete wing vents and special badges, to their quad tail pipes and meticulous detailing. No other carmaker can claim a heritage like ours and no other carmaker can design, develop and build cars to this outstanding standard.”