Bentley the most beautiful race car ever?

Tom Kristensen reckons that the Bentley Speed 8 in which he has claimed pole position for this year's Le Mans 24 Hours could be the most beautiful race car of all time

Bentley the most beautiful race car ever?

The Dane has won the prestigious event for the last three years driving Audi's all-conquering R8, and whilst he confesses that the open-top design of that car can make things easier for the drive, he's convinced that the GTP rules the Bentley is designed to ensure it cannot be beaten in the beauty stakes.

Asked to compare the Bentley and the Audi, Kristensen said: "From where I'm sitting, they're both completely different cars - they're been based upon completely different theories. Bentley decided to go in a completely different direction from Audi. They've tried to build upon their history and uphold the Bentley tradition, and that means building a closed-top GTP car.

"The Bentley is the most beautiful car I've ever driven, and I feel that it may also be the most beautiful racing car ever. It's got a really aggressive look."

Kristensen admitted that the closed-top GTP design of the Bentley did have its drawbacks. "The Bentley is much more nervous on the limit because the tyres and two inches narrower, and it's much, much warmer when you're inside it because of the closed cockpit," he said. "The visibility from the Bentley isn't as good, either. But you do get a little bit back for free in terms of top speed. I think we're between two and four kmh faster than the Audis."

Guy Smith, one of Kristensen's co-drivers in the number 7 Bentley, agreed with the Dane about the car's looks. "It's gorgeous to look at," said Smith. "A really good-looking car is something quite different in this day and age. It was really important to Bentley that it looked right, although obviously it was the wind tunnel that dictated the exact shape of the car. Thankfully, it came out alright!"

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