Le Mans - Brilliant Bentley

Sportscar racing's big story in 2003 was Bentley's famous Le Mans triumph in June. The team gave the visiting British contingent exactly what it wanted to see by taking the first two spots after trouncing the previously all-conquering Audi R8

Le Mans - Brilliant Bentley

The victory scenes at La Sarthe evoked the Jaguar glory of 1988 and went to show that there's no substitute for traditional manufacturer names to get the crowds geared up. Bentley last won at Le Mans in 1930 and their return to the podium after such a long absence even earned them space on the front pages of certain British dailies!

On an individual level, Denmark's Tom Kristensen became a five-time Le Mans winner, thus drawing level with Derek Bell. He's now just one win behind record-holder Jacky Ickx. Kristensen shared the winning Bentley with Guy Smith and Rinaldo Capello.

Away from the 24 Hours, Bentleys were only seen once, at Sebring in March. The 2003 car was still a little too green to beat the Audis around the Florida airfield. The rest of the American Le Mans series was a simple fight between the Champion Audi and the Joest Audi. Champion team took the final round at Road Atlanta (Petit Le Mans), but Joest's Frank Biela and Marco Werner were still crowned driving champions.

R8s also won the two big European races that they entered. Team Goh (with Kristensen at the wheel) romped to victory at the Spa 1000kms and also the new 1000km event on the Le Mans Bugatti circuit.

Without a full-time Audi presence, however, the FIA Sportscar series went to the Racing for Holland Dome-Judd squad, led by Jan Lammers.

GTS was all about Corvette and Ferrari this year, but the 550 Maranello cars proved too good around the fast Le Mans circuit and took a fine victory. But Corvette had their beating on some of the American ALMS tracks later in the year, and came out on top in the points despite a Ferrari win at Petit Le Mans.

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