Motorsport has always been at the core of everything Bentley does. Over their 102-year history, the Crewe-based manufacturer has enjoyed a strong showing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, from enjoying success with the ‘Bentley Boys’ in the 1920s to their most recent victory with the Bentley Speed 8 in 2003.
With the 100th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans race later this year, it was only natural that Bentley would commemorate the occasion. The Le Mans Collection – a limited edition run of 48 Continental GT and GTCs – has done just that, celebrating the Le Mans 24 Hours’ centenary and marking 20 years since Bentley last won the world-famous endurance race.
Engine and performance
Each of the Continental GT Coupés and Continental GTCs in the Le Mans Collection are powered by Bentley’s 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 engine, widely considered as the most successful modern 12-cylinder engine. This powerful machine delivers 650 bhp and an impressive 664 lb-ft of torque, enabling the Le Mans Collection vehicles to reach top speeds of 208 mph and accelerate from 0-60 mph in just 3.5 seconds.
The Le Mans Collection vehicles handle exceptionally well, thanks to their three-chamber active air suspension systems with adaptive damping and Bentley Dynamic Ride anti-roll control system. Optional additions, such as carbon ceramic brakes, variable electronic stability control, all-wheel steering, and an electronic limited-slip differential, can enhance the driving experience further – although with such a limited run of vehicles, these should have arguably come as standard.
Many elements of the Le Mans Collection’s design are inspired by the Speed 8, from the Verdant green color scheme with Moonbeam racing stripes to Bentley’s Le Mans race-winning ‘7’ painted on the manufacturer’s signature matrix grille. Bentley’s personal commissioning division, Mulliner, has pulled out the stops to make the Continental GT and GTCs a memorable and touching tribute to Bentley and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The Le Mans Collection’s exterior detailing is no less classy, either. Carbon-fiber styling elements are finished in black with a subtle Moonbeam pinstripe; a pattern echoed within the cars’ interior. The black 22-inch 10-spoke wheels contrast beautifully with the roaring red of the brake calipers, creating an imposing impression. It’s safe to say that the stunning cars will immediately catch the eye of any onlooker.
Functional luxury and attention to detail are the name of the game in the interiors of the Le Mans Collection vehicles. Bentley’s commemorative six-wreath emblem, representing Bentley’s six overall victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, is inlaid into the high-gloss carbon fiber on the fascia. The cockpit – trimmed in Beluga hide – is illuminated by a custom 2003 wreath welcome lamp – with further references to Bentley’s history present in the Speed 8 sill plates and six-wreath treadplates.
The seats and steering wheels are covered in napped Dynamica fabric with Hotspur contrast stitching, complementing the Piano Black and carbon-fiber dual-finish veneer on the fascia and door waist rails. These are separated by a chrome pinstripe that runs uninterrupted from one side of the car to the other, a stand-out hallmark of Bentley’s craftsmanship.
Both the Le Mans Collection GTs and GTCs boast Bentley’s three-way rotating display: prospective owners can choose between touchscreen, dual veneer, and analog dials. The standard central dial has been replaced with a Vitrine showcasing one of the original engine valves from the Speed 8’s twin-turbo V8. Another unique detail is the clock: Bentley’s standard 12-hour analog offering has been replaced with a 24-hour digital one in another reference to the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Prices for these limited-edition models have yet to be announced, but you’ll have to be quick if you want them - as Bentley is only producing only 48 of them.