Porsche congratulates Derek Bell on his 80th birthday

“We would like to wish a former works motorist a really happy birthday. Derek Bell was a successful motorist for Porsche on and off for 35 years,” says Thomas Laudenbach, Head of Porsche Motorsport.

Born on 31 Oct 1941 in a London suburb of Pinner in Middlesex, Bell was 23 when he began his racing career during British bar events. Just one year later, in 1965, he was competing in a British Formula Three Championship. His talent didn’t go unnoticed, and graduation to a Formula Two European Championship and Formula One quick followed. The Brit contested his initial continuation competition during a Circuit de la Sarthe in 1970, and his final 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1996. He started Le Mans no fewer than 26 times and took feat on 5 occasions, including 4 times in a Porsche.

First start as works motorist during Le Mans

“I initial competed for Porsche during Le Mans in 1971. During contrast that weekend, they worked out that we was attack 396 km/h on a Mulsanne straight. we knew we were fast, though not utterly that fast, since I’d usually ever gifted that speed before during a take-off during Heathrow. So that was what my arising with Porsche during Le Mans looked like,” he recalls.

Another thing that has stranded with him to this day is a trustworthiness of a cars: “In all that time, usually once did something break.” From a Porsche side of things, all was always possible, says a 80-year-old. “They always had a destiny in mind. It was usually a matter of creation certain a automobile ran and was safe. That was their job.” Bell names winning with a Porsche 936/81 in 1981 as his fondest memory of Le Mans. “Before a initial use session, we hadn’t even sat in that car. But we got a stick position, led each lap, and eventually won a race. That was an memorable impulse for me since it was a quip of sorts. I’m really beholden to Porsche for that opportunity,” says a birthday boy.

Impressions from a racing career of Derek Bell

24 Hours of Le Mans: Jo Siffert (without helmet) and Derek Bell (with helmet) on a 917 LH Coupé, 1971

Derek Bell (centre) and Jo Siffert during Brands Hatch in 1971.

1971 Spa: 917 KH Coupé, competition drivers: Jo Siffert and Derek Bell, 2nd place overall.

1976, Int. ADAC 1000 km competition Nürburgring, No. 25 (third overall), drivers: Helmut Kelleners, Reinhardt Stenzel and Derek Bell.

1000 km Nürburgring: Volkert Merl, Derek Bell and Rolf Stommelen on a 935/77A (No. 1); 5th place overall, 1979

24 Hours of Le Mans: Derek Bell and Al Holbert in a 924 Carrera GTR (No. 3), 1980

24 Hours of Le Mans: Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell (in a car) on a 936/81 (No. 11); altogether winner, 1981

1981 Le Mans, from left: Derek Bell, Jacky Ickx, Ferry Porsche, Dr. Wolfgang Porsche.

1983 Le Mans, Porsche Type 956, competition drivers: Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell, 2nd place overall.

1984 1000 km Spa: from left: Stefan Bellof, Derek Bell, Jochen Mass, Jacky Ickx, Vern Schuppan, John Watson.

1986 Daytona 24 Hours: Porsche 962 (14), Al Holbert, Derek Bell and Bob Unser Jr, 1st place overall.

Derek Bell (left) und Al Holbert 1987 during Le Mans.

1988 Le Mans, Porsche 962 C (17) with Hans-Joachim Stuck, Klaus Ludwig and Derek Bell – 2nd place.

1989 Daytona: Porsche Typ 962 IMSA, Fahrer: Bob Wollek, Derek Bell und John Andretti.

1991 962 C during Le Mans, competition drivers: Hans-Joachim Stuck, Derek Bell and Frank Jelinski, 7th place overall.

He and his teammate Jacky Ickx won a continuation classical with a 14-lap lead. They were roughly an hour faster than a runner-up. “No matter where we was seen with Jacky, he always captivated a crowd. we would infrequently joke: ‘Hi, I’m Derek, we expostulate here too’,” Bell says with a laugh. “I always looked adult to him and dignified him. Even today, we’re still friends.”


1988 Le Mans: f.l.t.r. Klaus Ludwig, Hans-Joachim Stuck and Derek Bell.

Bell scored countless victories in a Porsche 956/962 with his teammates Stefan Bellof, Jacky Ickx and Hans-Joachim Stuck, and won a World Endurance Championship pretension in 1985 and 1986. “In my 52 active years in a universe of motorsport, Derek has not usually been a good friend, though also my best and beloved teammate”, says “Striezel” Stuck, before adding: “It’s no fluke that a array house pronounced “BeSt”. In 1992, he common a cockpit of a Porsche 962 during Le Mans with his son, Justin Bell, and Tiff Needell. They took 12th place. Today, Bell lives in Florida.

Results during his racing career with Porsche:

1971
1. Platz 1000km Buenos Aires, Porsche 917
5. Platz 12h Sebring, Porsche 917
3. Platz 1000km Brands Hatch, Porsche 917
2. Platz 1000km Monza, Porsche 917
2. Platz 1000km Spa, Porsche 917
3. Platz 6h Watkins Glen, Porsche 917
2. Platz 1000km Barcelona, Porsche 917
1. Platz 1000km Paris, Porsche 917

1976
3. Platz 1000km Nürburgring, Porsche 934
7. Platz 1000km Nürburgring, Porsche 911 Carrera RSR
4. Platz 6h Zeltweg, Porsche 935
3. Platz 6h Monza, Porsche 934

1978
3. Platz 1000km Nürburgring, Porsche 934

1979
3. Platz 6 h Riverside, Porsche 935

1980
2. Platz 6 h Vallelunga, Porsche 908/03

1981
2. Platz 24h Daytona, Porsche 935
1. Platz 24h Le Mans, Porsche 936/81
1. Platz 500 km Mid Ohio, Porsche 935
2. Platz 24 h Daytona, Porsche 935
2. Platz 6 h Silverstone, Porsche 956
1. Platz 24 h Le Mans, Porsche 956
2. Platz 1000 km Spa, Porsche 956
1. Platz 6 h Fuji, Porsche 956
1. Platz 1000 km Brands Hatch, Porsche 956
2. Platz 9 h Kyalami, Porsche 956
3. Platz 3 h Daytona, Porsche 935


Le Mans 1981: Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell (in a competition car) on Porsche Type 936/81. 1st place overall.

1983
1. Platz Brands Hatch, Porsche 908/03 Turbo
1. Platz 6 h Riverside, Porsche 935
1. Platz 1000 km Silverstone, Porsche 956
2. Platz 24 h Le Mans, Porsche 956
2. Platz 1000 km Spa, Porsche 956
3. Platz 1000 km Brands Hatch, Porsche 956
1. Platz 1000 km Fuji, Porsche 956
3. Platz 1000 km Mugello, Porsche 956
1. Platz 1000 km Kyalami, Porsche 956

1984
2. Platz 24 h Daytona, Porsche 935
3. Platz 12 h Sebring, Porsche 935
1. Platz 1000 km Monza, Porsche 956
2. Platz 6 h Riverside, Porsche 962
1. Platz 500 km Mid Ohio, Porsche 962
1. Platz 6 h Watkins Glen, Porsche 962
1. Platz 1000 km Nürburgring, Porsche 956
3. Platz 3 h Portland, Porsche 962
1. Platz 500 Miles Road America, Porsche 962
1. Platz 1000 km Spa, Porsche 956
1. Platz 500 km Pocono, Porsche 962
1. Platz 1000 km Fuji, Porsche 956
1. Platz 3 h Daytona, Porsche 962
1. Platz 1000 km Sandown, Porsche 956

1985
2. Platz 24 h Daytona, Porsche 962
1. Platz 3 h Miami, Porsche 962
2. Platz 12 h Sebring, Porsche 962
2. Platz 1000 km Monza, Porsche 956
2. Platz 1000 km Silverstone, Porsche 956
1. Platz 500 km Charlotte, Porsche 962
1. Platz 500 km Mid Ohio, Porsche 962
3. Platz 24 h Le Mans, Porsche 962
1. Platz 3 h Watkins Glen, Porsche 962
1. Platz 1000 km Hockenheim, Porsche 962
1. Platz 1000 km Mosport, Porsche 962
2. Platz 1000 km Spa, Porsche 962
1. Platz 500 km Ponoco, Porsche 962
1. Platz 1000 km Brands Hatch, Porsche 962
1. Platz 500 km Watkins Glen, Porsche 962


1985: Hans-Joachim Stuck (left) and Derek Bell during a endowment rite for a 1000 km Hockenheim. They won with a Porsche 962 C.

1986
1. Platz 24 h Daytona, Porsche 962
3. Platz 12 h Sebring, Porsche 962
3. Platz 500 km Road Atlanta, Porsche 962
1. Platz 360 km Monza, Porsche 962
2. Platz 1000 km Silverstone, Porsche 962
1. Platz 24 h Le Mans, Porsche 962
1. Platz 500 km Mid Ohio, Porsche 962
3. Platz Supercup Hockenheim, Porsche 956
1. Platz 500 km Watkins Glen, Porsche 962
2. Platz 1000 km Brands Hatch, Porsche 956
2. Platz 300 km Sears Point, Porsche 962
2. Platz 1000 km Nürburgring, Porsche 962
3. Platz 1000 km Spa, Porsche 962
2. Platz 500 km Watkins Glen, Porsche 962

1987
1. Platz 24 h Daytona, Porsche 962
2. Platz 360 km Jarama, Porsche 962
3. Platz 1000 km Jerez, Porsche 962
2. Platz 1000 km Monza, Porsche 962
3. Platz 1000 km Silverstone, Porsche 962
1. Platz 24 h Le Mans, Porsche 962
2. Platz 3 h West Palm Beach, Porsche 962
3. Platz 500 Miles Road America, Porsche 962
2. Platz 1000 km Nürburgring, Porsche 962
1. Platz 3 h San Antonio, Porsche 962

1988
3. Platz 500 km Road Atlanta, Porsche 962
2. Platz 24 h Le Mans, Porsche 962
2. Platz 500 km Watkins Glen, Porsche 962
2. Platz 500 km Road America, Porsche 962

1989
1. Platz 24 h Daytona, Porsche 962