First Ever Bentley To Race At Le Mans 24 Hours 100 Years Ago Sells For Over £3m
classic Bentley that competed in the Le Mans 24 Hours race 100 years ago has sold for over £3million. The Bentley 3 Litre was the first British car and the first Bentley to compete at the iconic race in its debut year. The motor, a Chassis 141, was owned by Canadian WW1 veteran, adventurer and Bentley dealer John Duff who decided he wanted to enter himself and the vehicle into a new 24-hour race to be held at a place in France called Le Mans in 1923. Duff reached out to W.O Bentley requesting he prepare his dependable car for the gruelling race. Although Bentley thought it mad, he agreed and lent factory test driver Frank Clement to co-drive. After 24 hours at the wheel – during which they set the lap record of 66.69mph, in a car with rear brakes only – they finished joint 4th despite having run out of fuel due to stones puncturing the tank. Brokered by Kidston SA, a company founded by Simon Kidston – the nephew of Glen Kidston, who won the 1930 Le Mans 24 Hours at the wheel of a Bentley – this car represents the beginning of the Bentley legend. The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the world's oldest active endurance racing event. Unlike fixed-distance races whose winner is determined by minimum time, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is won by the car that covers the greatest distance in 24 hours.