Derek Bell

Date of birth : October 31 1941

Biography Derek Bell

Derek Reginald Bell was born in Middlesex, UK.  His sports car career spans the Ferrari 512 and Porsche 917, the Gulf-Mirage era, Renault’s turbo effort at Le Mans, the Porsche 936, Porsche 956 and 962, the Kremer Porsche K8, the Ferrari 333 SP, and the McLaren F1, which earned him yet another Le Mans podium, with his son Justin, in 1995.

Derek Bell  started his career as a marchal at Goodwood, a few corners down from where the career Sir Stirling Moss  came to a premature end in 196 after a crash.  As an amateur he started racing in a Lotus 7 and won his first race in 1964.  Derek Bell promoted soon afterwards to F3 to continue to F2. He was offered a professional contract by Enzo Ferrari to compete at Monza in a Ferrari F2. Between 1968 and 1974 he competed in 16 Formula 1 Grand Prix, racing for Ferrari, McLaren, Surtees and Tecno. He collect 1 single F1 point, when he drove a Surtees to 6th place in Watkins Glenn in 1970.

Le Mans and Daytona

Derek Bell’s true talent however were the endurance races.  He won back to back World Sports Car Championship titles in 1985 and 1986, three 24 Hours of Daytona in 1986, 1987 and 1989 and five Le Mans victories in 1975, 1981, 1982, 1986 and 1987.  In many of his greatest successes, Derek Bell teamed up with Jacky Ickx.  That was mainly in the Porsche 936, Porsche 956/Porsche 962 cars. Derek Bell was one of the many pilots that can be seen in the famous Steve McQueen Le Mans movie.

Nowadays Derek Bell is regularly seen on different vintage motorsport events, both as an active pilot or as a spectator.
Derek Bell always had a strong relationship with Porsche. Every now and then he shows up for autograph sessions. Recently he appeared in a video to drive the Targa Florio in a Porsche 718 RS60 to promote the brandnew Porsche 718 Boxster.  Next to that, Derek Bell is the global Bentley Motors brand ambassador. In 2012 he was inducted in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America and in 2013 inducted into the Le Mans 24 Hours Drivers Hall of Fame.