Lunch with a sports car racing hero


derekbellDuring the 1980s Derek Bell personified what racing fans loved about sports car racing, both in Britain and America. For a decade he was consistently the man to beat in European Group C, in partnership in works Porsches with first Jacky Ickx, and then later Hans Stuck. The same was true in the States when he was teamed with Al Holbert in IMSA.

Five Le Mans victories (four of them coming between 1981 and ’87) and three wins at Daytona guarantees his place among the greats of 24-hour endurance racing. He was twice World Champion too – and also happens to be one of the nicest chaps you could wish to meet. No wonder he was popular back then.

That affection survives today, as his welcome from the Goodwood Festival of Speed crowd proved once again in July. Just ahead of Goodwood Simon Taylor met Derek at his Sussex home for his latest ‘Lunch with…’ story, which takes pride of place on the cover of the September issue of Motor Sport.

Taylor plus Bell equals an entertaining and riveting read!

Elsewhere in the issue, Nigel Roebuck gets to grips with the moves for peace in the troubled world of Formula 1, then returns to his childhood to pay tribute to Jean Behra, the French hero who died 50 years ago this month.

Popular newspaper journalist Maurice Hamilton makes a brilliant contribution to the magazine, with an entertaining story drawing parallels between the FISA/FOCA war of the early 1980s and the current turmoil. I won’t say too much here, but it stars a well-informed office cleaner…

We also look ahead to the Monterey Historic Festival, study the Group B behemoth that was the Citroën BX 4TC and revisit Gil de Ferran’s incredible closed course speed record of 241mph that he set in his Penske Indycar.

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