Bentley Speed 8 Le Mans Prototype up for Auction

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The car that marked Bentley's return to Le Mans after a seven-decade absense is up for auction at Pebble Beach, along with an Audi R8 Le Mans Prototype.

When Bentley returned to Le Mans in 2001, it was the first time it had raced there in over 70 years. This is the car with which they did it, and now it can be yours. That is, assuming you've got about $2 million on hand. The Speed 8 program represented a landmark achievement for Bentley. The car you see here placed third on the podium at the 2001 running of the famous French endurance race, only behind its sister company Audi's R8s.

This particular EXP Speed 8 would continue to race until its retirement at Road America in 2007. A newer version of the Speed 8 went on to win at Le Mans from pole in 2003, marking the first time Bentley won the race since 1930. Up for auction at Pebble Beach in just a couple of weeks, this Speed 8 packs a 3.6-liter twin-turbo V8 tuned to 670 horsepower with a Ricardo six-speed dual-clutch competition gearbox driving the rear wheels in a Dallara-built carbon fiber tub and cloathed in one of the sleekest shapes ever to lap the Circuit La Sarthe where Le Mans is held.

Without a doubt the fastest Bentley ever made, this Le Mans prototype is expected to sell for between $1.9 and $2.5 million when RM Auctions drops the gavel in Monterey, California, during the Pebble Beach concours weekend. Oh, and if the Bentley's green shape doesn't tickle your fancy, RM has also got an Audi R8 Le Mans racer on consignment, packing the same engine in an open-cockpit form that placed seventh at Le Mans in 2002 and won at Jarama in 2001. One of only 16 built and five in private hands, the R8 is expected to fetch $1-1.5 million. (Photos by Darin Schnabel, courtesy of RM Auctions)

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