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Volkswagen makes a step towards competition

THE Volkswagen car company and its subsidiaries have avoided most forms of motor racing in recent years - apart from the successful Audi sportscar program - although there has been a fairly active rallying program with its subsidiaries Skoda, Seat and VW itself. Now we hear that the company is intending to field a team of Bentleys at the Le Mans 24 Hours. Bentley is a name that has been linked to Le Mans since the company's extraordinary run of success in the 1920s, winning in 1924, 1927, 1928, 1929 and 1930. Not long after that the company went into liquidation as a result of the Depression which followed the Wall Street Crash and the firm was sold to Rolls Royce which continued to control the brand until 1998 when Volkswagen acquired the company.

The Bentley Le Mans cars are expected to be prepared by Richard Lloyd Racing, which has been involved in recent years with the Audi sportscars which finished 1-2-3 in the Le Mans 24 Hours this summer.

Volkswagen may have long-term plans to enter F1 but this is not expected to happen until after the retirement of current chief executive Ferdinand Piech in 2002.

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