Bentley Boys get their own street in Le Mans

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Le Mans renames a street in honor of the Bentley Boys and the British automaker's centennial | Bentley photos

On the eve of the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, a street in the city of Le Mans, France, has been renamed in honor of the Bentley Boys, the famed racers who drove the British marque to victory and global acclaim in the early years of motorcar racing.

This is Bentley’s centennial year, and 25 Bentley vehicles will participate in a special parade lap of honor before the start of the 24-hour race on June 15. Among those cars will be one making its world debut, the new all-wheel-driven Flying Spur. Also participating will be the EXP Speed 8 that won the Le Mans race in 2003.

Bentley racing cars on hand for the official street naming ceremonies

The Bentley Boys was the nickname given to the racers who won at Le Mans five times between 1924 and 1930. It also is the new name for the former Rue de Laigne, which has become the Rue des Bentley Boys.

Bentley also will be honored with a special exhibit at the 24 Hours of Le Mans Museum. That display will include the EXP 2 the oldest surviving Bentley, which didn’t race at Le Mans but was the most successful racing Bentley, winning 11 races and adding 7 second place finishes.

During the 1920s, Bentley enjoyed great success on the racetrack and also broke many speed records. It brought W.O.s new company front page recognition, none more so than the company’s first Le Mans victory in 1924.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the Web and becoming the author of more than 15 books. In addition to being Editorial Director at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times, writes a weekly automotive feature for The Detroit News and is an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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