A stunning line-up of the Bentley model range opened this year’s 24h endurance race on the legendary Nuerburgring. Behind the wheels: some of the most renowned drivers.
The track is called the “green hell”. It is known for the unpredictable weather conditions that have shifted expectations for tops and flops quite often. And it is the home of one the most famous endurance race on the continent: the 24h Race on the German Nuerburgring.
Around 200,000 spectators of the 2012 race saw a spectacular opening when five different models with the Flying B hit the track to lead the field of the participants during the parade lap. The Bentley fleet reflected the impressive range of the capabilities of the engineers and craftmen at Crewe. From perfect elegance to pure energy: from the outstanding Mulsanne, to the graceful Continental GTC W12, the dynamic Continental Flying Spur, the all-new Continental GT V8 and the record-braking Supersports Convertible.
The Bentleys were driven by professionals that are much more familiar with tracks and podiums than anyone else. True racing heros enthused the audience as well as the race participants. Rally icon and multiple world champion Juha Kankkunen drove a Bentley to a new world speed record on ice - not only once but twice. Eric van de Poele had been a member of the Bentley team in 2001 and 2002 when the British manufacturer successfully returned to Le Mans. Together with his team mates Tom Kristensen and Rinaldo Capello, the British top driver Guy Smith had won the Le Mans race in 2003 behind the wheel of a Bentley EXP Speed 8.
Flanked by Bentley’s chairman and chief executive Wolfgang Duerheimer, the living racing legends underpinned the sporting genes that each Bentley model carries. While it had been a premiere for the 24h race, it was not a one-off event for the drivers to steer a Bentley through the bends and straights. With a length of more than 25 kilometres the race track belongs to longest and most challenging courses in the racing world, and it provides perfect conditions to push cars to their limits.
Therefore Bentley’s engineers are using regularly “The Ring” to fine-tune chassis and driving controls for new models in close cooperation with experienced racing drivers. The result is an unmistakable vigorous driving character that allows the owner to effortlessly experience a Bentley in the city traffic as well as on the left lane of the Autobahn.