Derek Bell (auto racer)

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Derek Bell
Derek Bell (2356476570).jpg
Nationality Flag of the United Kingdom British
Formula One World Championship career
Active years1968 - 1972, 1974
TeamsFerrari, McLaren, Surtees, Tecno
Races16 (9 starts)
Championships0
Wins0
Podiums0
Career points1
Pole positions0
Fastest laps0
First race1968 Italian Grand Prix
Last race1974 Canadian Grand Prix
24 Hours of Le Mans career
Participating years1970 - 1983, 1985 - 1996
TeamsScuderia 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 finish1st (1975, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1987)
Class wins5 (1975, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1987)

Derek Reginald Bell MBE (born October 31 1941 in Pinner, Middlesex) is a former racing driver from England who was extremely successful in sportscar racing, winning 5 times at Le Mans. He also raced in Formula One for the Ferrari, McLaren, Surtees and Tecno teams.

Derek Bell in the Wheatcroft Racing Brabham BT26 at the Nürburgring in 1970.
Bell demonstrating the Ferrari 312B3 "Spazzaneve" test car at the 2008 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

He 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 3 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 2 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.

Bell was one of many drivers to take part in the filming of Le Mans (1970) starring Steve McQueen. 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 is was engulfed in flames and suffered minor burns. The car was badly damaged but later rebuilt.

Bell was also a runner in the 1970 European Formula 2 Championship driving a March. In 1972 he got the drive in the Tecno F1 team, along with Nanni Galli. He later raced a number of times for the Surtees team but also built a strong reputation as a fine sports car racer.

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

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

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

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.


Complete World Championship Formula One results

(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


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