Le Mans 2003. The greatest endurance race in the world. The scene is set, with crowds larger than for a World Cup match, among them 50,000 Brits. They’ve motored down to the Circuit de la Sarthe in the Loire Valley on a mission: to witness the Bentley Boys bring home the bacon after a gap of 73 years. They are not to be disappointed. Three years of painstaking preparation by the Bentley team is rewarded with a magnificent 1-2. The sheer consistency of the No. 7 and 8 Bentleys grinds out their domination over the Audi R8s, unbeatable over the previous 5 years.
24 hours and 377 laps from the start the futuristic No. 7 British racing green Bentley crosses the line to an outpouring of warm congratulations, adulation and a touch of nostalgia. Tom Kristensen’s four consecutive victories assure him of a place in the hall of fame. Not far behind, the No. 8 Bentley finishes second, just ahead of another wave of euphoria, hugs and tears.
It’s a moment for motorsport fans to savour. In years to come, they will ask if you were there. If you were, this is your record of a spine-tingling 24 hours. If you weren’t, experience the experience.