Derek Bell (racing driver)

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Derek Bell
Derek Bell (2356476570).jpg
Bell in 2008
Born (1941-10-31) 31 October 1941 (age 72)
Pinner, Middlesex, England, UK
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality United Kingdom British
Active years 19681972, 1974
Teams Ferrari, McLaren, Surtees, Tecno
Races 16 (9 starts)
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 0
Career points 1
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First race 1968 Italian Grand Prix
Last race 1974 Canadian Grand Prix

Derek Reginald Bell MBE (born 31 October 1941 in Pinner, Middlesex, England) is a British racing driver who was extremely successful in sportscar racing, winning Le Mans five times, the Daytona 24 three times and the World Sportscar Championship twice. He also raced in Formula One for the Ferrari, Wheatcroft, McLaren, Surtees and Tecno teams. He has been described by fellow racer Hans-Joachim Stuck as one of the most liked drivers of his generation.[1]

Derek Bell in August 1970 at Nürburgring on the occasion of a formula 2 race there.
24 Hours of Le Mans career
Participating years 1970–1983, 1985–1996
Teams Scuderia Ferrari
John Wyer Automotive
Ecurie Francorchamps
Gulf Racing
Grand Touring Cars
Renault Sport
Porsche System
Rothmans Porsche
Richard Lloyd Racing
Joest Porsche Racing
ADA Engineering
Courage Compétition
Gulf Oil Racing
David Price Racing
Best finish 1st (1975, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1987)
Class wins 5 (1975, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1987)

Career[edit]

Bell grew up on a farm and helped to run a caravan site near Pagham Harbour before being encouraged by his stepfather Bernard Hender to take up racing in 1964 with Lotus Seven. He graduated to Formula Three in the following year in a Lotus 31 and in 1966 switched to a Lotus 41 scoring his first victory at Goodwood. In 1967 he enjoyed seven wins. He entered Formula Two in a privateer Brabham BT23C fielded by his stepfather's Church Farm Racing team and had several promising performances, which caught Ferrari's eye and made his Grand Prix debut at Monza. In 1969 he raced at Silverstone with Ferrari and also raced the four-wheel-drive McLaren M9A in its only race in the British Grand Prix.

Derek Bell in the Wheatcroft Racing Brabham BT30 at the Nürburgring in 1970.

Bell took part in the filming of Le Mans (1970) starring Steve McQueen, and he and his family lived with the McQueen family during the filming, the two becoming friends. Bell had a lucky escape during the making of the film. The Ferrari 512 he was driving suddenly caught fire whilst getting into position for a take. He managed to get out of the car just before it was engulfed in flames and suffered minor burns. The car was badly damaged but later rebuilt.

Bell also finished second in the 1970 European Formula Two Championship, driving a Brabham BT30 for Wheatcroft Racing. In 1972 he got the drive in the Tecno Formula One team, along with Nanni Galli. He later raced a number of times for the Surtees team, it was to be in sports car racing that he built a strong reputation as a world class and championship winning racer.

He won two World Sportscar Championship titles in 1985–86, the 24 Hours of Daytona three times in 1986–87 and 1989 and Le Mans five times in 1975, 1981, 1982, 1986 and 1987, mostly teamed with Jacky Ickx in one of the Porsche 936 and Porsche 956/Porsche 962 models. The Ickx/Bell partnership is considered as one of the most famous pairings in motorsport history.

Bell was hired as chairman for the failed Spectre R42 project between 1996 to its demise in 1997. In 2001 he was hired to consult for the Bentley Speed 8 programme, helping Bentley to win Le Mans two years later. He now splits his time between the United States and Bognor Regis, commentates on Formula One races and races in historic events, as well as performing a global ambassadorial role for Bentley. Bell is currently an operating partner of Bentley Naples in Naples, Florida.

Bell demonstrating the Ferrari 312B3 "Spazzaneve" test car at the 2008 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

His son, Justin Bell is also a racer. The two raced together in the 1991 24 Hours of Daytona, and the 1992 24 Hours of Le Mans. Bell was to race in the 2008 Daytona 24 hours with Justin, however the car dropped out of the race early and Derek did not get to run in the race. Aside from winning at Le Mans five times, his proudest moment was coming third with his son Justin racing the McLaren F1 GTR in the 1995 Le Mans.

Bell returned to Le Mans to race a Porsche 962 for the first time in 20 years in the Group C race at Le Mans on the morning on 16 June 2012.

Bell was awarded the MBE in 1986 for services to motorsport.

Complete World Championship Formula One results[edit]

(key)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 WDC Pts
1968 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 312/68 Ferrari V12 RSA
ESP
MON
BEL
NED
FRA
GBR
GER
ITA
Ret
CAN
USA
Ret
MEX
NC 0
1969 Bruce McLaren Motor Racing McLaren M9A Cosworth V8 RSA
ESP
MON
NED
FRA
GBR
Ret
GER
ITA
CAN
USA
MEX
NC 0
1970 Tom Wheatcroft Racing Brabham BT26A Cosworth V8 RSA
ESP
MON
BEL
Ret
NED
FRA
GBR
GER
AUT
ITA
CAN
22nd 1
Team Surtees Surtees TS7 USA
6
MEX
1971 Team Surtees Surtees TS9 Cosworth V8 RSA
ESP
MON
NED
FRA
GBR
Ret
GER
AUT
ITA
CAN
USA
NC 0
1972 Martini Racing Team Tecno PA123 Tecno
Flat-12
ARG
RSA
ESP
MON
BEL
FRA
DNQ
GBR
GER
Ret
AUT
ITA
DNQ
CAN
DNS
USA
Ret
NC 0
1974 Bang & Olufsen Team Surtees Surtees TS16 Cosworth V8 ARG
BRA
RSA
ESP
BEL
MON
SWE
NED
FRA
GBR
DNQ
GER
11
NC 0
Team Surtees AUT
DNQ
ITA
DNQ
CAN
DNQ
USA

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Henri Pescarolo
Gérard Larrousse
Winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans
1975 with:
Jacky Ickx
Succeeded by
Jacky Ickx
Gijs van Lennep
Preceded by
Jean Rondeau
Jean-Pierre Jaussaud
Winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans
1981 with:
Jacky Ickx
Succeeded by
Jacky Ickx
Derek Bell
Preceded by
Jacky Ickx
Derek Bell
Winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans
1982 with:
Jacky Ickx
Succeeded by
Vern Schuppan
Al Holbert
Hurley Haywood
Preceded by
Klaus Ludwig
Paolo Barilla
Louis Krages
Winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans
1986 with:
Hans-Joachim Stuck
Al Holbert
Succeeded by
Derek Bell
Hans-Joachim Stuck
Al Holbert
Preceded by
Derek Bell
Hans-Joachim Stuck
Al Holbert
Winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans
1987 with:
Hans-Joachim Stuck
Al Holbert
Succeeded by
Jan Lammers
Johnny Dumfries
Andy Wallace
Preceded by
Stefan Bellof
World Sportscar Championship Champion
1985-1986,
1985: with Hans-Joachim Stuck
Succeeded by
Raul Boesel
Awards
Preceded by
Jonathan Palmer
Autosport
British Competition Driver of the Year

1984
Succeeded by
Nigel Mansell