• It's been 100 years since Bentley first won the 24 Hours of Le Mans
  • The first Bentley to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans will return to the race this year
  • Fans can check out the race-winning 3 Liter Sport at the 24 Hours of Le Mans Museum after this year's race

Bentley has six outright wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the most recent taking place in 2003. The first was almost 80 years before that, at the 1924 running, and with a 3 Liter Sport driven by “Bentley Boy” John Duff and teammate Frank Clement all the way from Brooklands Circuit in the U.K. to Le Mans and then back home again following the race.

Bentley will now celebrate a century since that first win by repeating the trek with the actual 1924 Le Mans-winning car. Drivers from expert Bentley restoration company Vintage Bentley will be behind the wheel this time.

They will take the same route the 3 Liter Sport made 100 years prior, crossing over to France and heading south through Boulogne, Berck, Dieppe, Rouen, Evreux, Mortagne, and Mamers, before reaching Le Mans.

Once at its destination, the car will lead the procession of entries for the 2024 Le Mans following the scrutineering session prior to the race which runs June 15-16. The 3 Liter Sport won't immediately return to the U.K. following the race. This time it will make a stay at the official 24 Hours of Le Mans Museum located at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

John Duff (left) and Frank Clement in the Bentley 3 Liter that won the 1924 24 Hours of Le Man

John Duff (left) and Frank Clement in the Bentley 3 Liter that won the 1924 24 Hours of Le Man

The 3 Liter was Bentley's first production model, and as was the practice at the time sold as a rolling chassis to be completed by a coachbuilder. The car featured a 3.0-liter inline-4 mated to a 4-speed manual, plus a ladder frame with solid axles at both ends.

The 3 Liter driven to victory at Le Mans was owned by Duff and supported in the race by Bentley. Clement was a test driver for the automaker in its early years.

The race had been moved to the month of June for improved weather but the summer heat caused a number of early retirements, while a car fielded by the previous year's winner, Chenard-Walcker, and among the favorites, caught fire while in the pits.