18 October 2023
Specialist of The Year Finalist
We are thrilled to be a finalist in the Historic Motoring Awards presented by Octane again this year and let us share why...
The Vintage Bentley Team played a pivotal role in both the lead up and the execution of the Le Mans Classic centenary celebrations earlier this year. The team prepared over 30% of the W.Os participating in the Benjafields Racing Club Centenary Race at their West Sussex workshop, eight of which went on to compete in the Le Mans Classic Plateau One. Both races were complemented by a united team of 12 qualified technicians delivering technical support to over 32 vintage Bentleys across the four races.
Planning and preparation for this historic event commenced months before at the works, allowing over 1,000 workshop hours to be dedicated to ensuring these pre-war motor cars were Le Mans ready. The craftsmanship within the manufacturing department enabled hundreds of parts to be made in-house with a blend of original techniques and modern machinery.
Workshop preparation included a complete SuperSports project rebuild, the recently sourced first Bentley to race at Le Mans 1923 3 Litre privatier John Duff number 8, the 1925 3 Litre first Bentley Motors Works Le Mans Team Car number 10, the 1927 3 Litre works team car number 2 and 1930 Speed Six Works Team car number 3 to name a few. The only skill set with the ability to allow these cars to perform in such a way comes from the heart of the vintage Bentley business, supplemented with a passion to nurture these historic motor cars and enable them to be raced just as they were built to do a century ago. Furthermore, the business provided great encouragement for many owners to participate in such a unique opportunity, installing confidence to drivers.
Behind the scenes, logistics, schedules, leadership and delegation of resources were articulated to enable a successful execution at the largest ever attended Le Mans Classic event, with over 235,000 spectators. Upon departure week, the focus shifted to preparation of on-event tools, loading six originally styled Le Mans pit bays from the VB showroom and ensuring the camaraderie and team spirit were well set to go.
On event the team camped out to ensure they were as proactive as possible, worked tirelessly and continuously providing both technical and driver support to many entrants. An engine caught fire on the Mulsanne Straight which badly damaged one 4 ½ Litre. With only an hour to the race start, the team set to work using their in-depth knowledge ensuring the car was back on track race ready. To add to the team success, founder William Medcalf brought the first Bentley over the line in Plateau One, the 1925 3 Litre Team Car, a significant achievement to also be in the top 10, finishing 9th overall.
It was an absolute honour and privilege for the Vintage Bentley team to play such an instrumental part in this significant and historical moment for the marque, just as the original Bentley Boys did 100 years ago.
This was only achieved with a tremendous and well recognised team effort by all those at Vintage Bentley.