Kristensen and Capello switch to Bentley

Audi stars Tom Kristensen and Rinaldo Capello will join British racer Guy Smith in a Bentley at Le Mans, the team has confirmed at the Detroit motor show

Kristensen and Capello switch to Bentley

The widely expected move comes as the team steps up its efforts to win the famous race. As part of its preparations for the French classic, the team will, for the first time, enter the Sebring 12 Hours in March.

Briton Smith is Bentley's test driver, and also raced for the marque at Le Mans last year. He will be joined by three-time race winner and reigning ALMS champion Kristensen and Capello, who has taken the last two pole positions at the event. Bentley has yet to announce the driver line-up for its second car.

The marque will race a considerably revised version of its EXP Speed 8 that finished third behind the dominant Audi R8's last year. The team also announced that it will switch from Dunlop to Michelin tyres for this season. The French manufacturer provided the tyres on which Audi raced to three consecutive victories.

A statement by the team said: "So far as Team Bentley's ambitions for the 2003 season are concerned, clearly the plan is to win both at Sebring and Le Mans. Of course no-one can predict the outcome of any race, let alone one so maverick and fickle as Le Mans, but Team Bentley believes it will arrive on the starting grid with a better chance than ever before of taking overall honours."

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