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Porsche congratulates Derek Bell – Famous works driver celebrates 70th birthday

Happy Birthday Derek Bell!

Porsche congratulates Derek Bell

Stuttgart. Derek Bell, one of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG’s most successful works drivers, will celebrate his 70th birthday on 31 October 2011.

Derek Bell (GB), five times winner at Le Mans.
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. Ickx/Bell is nowadays considered as one of the most famous pairings in motorsport history.

Born in Pinner, Middlesex, Great Britain in 1941, Bell is considered to be one of the most versatile and popular racing drivers of his time.

VIDEO: Derek Bell in car Porsche 956 at Nordschleife. Derek Bell drives and describes a lap in a Porsche 956 around the old Nurburgring

Matthias Müller, Porsche AG’s Chairman of the Board of Management has this to say about the birthday boy:

Derek Bell in Monza, 1983

“Derek Bell made motorsport history with Porsche. Whether it was in a 917, 936 or 956 – he was always one of the fastest and above all most reliable drivers. Derek Bell won the 24 Hours of Le Mans four times for Porsche. He won the world championship twice. For that we owe him our gratitude and great respect.” ~ Matthias Müller, Porsche AG’s Chairman of the Board of Management

Derek Bell began his racing career with Lotus in 1964. In Formula 1 he then took his place on the starting grid for Ferrari in 1969. In the 1971 season he drove the Porsche 917 and 908/03 racing cars for the Porsche-Gulf team, forming a successful driver duo with Jo Siffert.

Porsche 917 KH Coupé in Spa, 1971, Drivers: Jo Siffert and Derek Bell

This was followed by appearances in the Porsche 934 and 935 in 1976 and 1977 before Derek Bell took his place on the Le Mans starting grid as a works driver in the 924 Carrera GT. In 1981, together with Jacky Ickx in the Porsche 936/81 Spyder, he won the first of his total of four Le Mans overall victories in a Porsche.

1982 saw the beginning of the Group C era with the Porsche 956 during which time Bell made his mark as one of the most successful endurance drivers of all time.

Derek Bell in Brands Hatch, 1971

VIDEO: Derek Bell in the Porsche 956 gives a running commentary at Brands Hatch.

Together with drivers such as Jacky Ickx, Stefan Bellof and Hans-Joachim-Stuck, he not merely won numerous overall victories in the Types 956 and 962 but also the World Sportscar Championship in 1985 and 1986.

Derek Bell remains in close contact with Porsche to this very day, constantly undertaking ambassadorial tasks for the Stuttgart-based sportscar manufacturer, such as for example at the Oldtimer Grand Prix at the Nürburgring or at this year’s Corso to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the car.

Porsche 956 in Le Mans, 1983, Drivers: Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell

Derek Bell, driver of the #17 Rothmans Racing Porsche 962C celebrates with champagne after winning the FIA World Sportscar Championship 24 Hours of Le Mans on 14th June 1988 at the Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans, France. (Photo by Simon Bruty/Getty Images)

Photos: Haynes –  For further information, visit www.haynes.co.uk.

There’s no question that Derek Bell also remained faithful to the Porsche brand off the race track:

To this very day he can be seen on Britain’s roads driving a 1981 vintage Porsche 924 Carrera GTS.

Derek Bell’s GTS, a special one in that it has a factory fitted road interior with carpets and road seats, one of only 2 done like that.

SOURCE: Porsche AG Media Database
Public Relations and Media
Porsche-Museum – Astrid Böttinger

 

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Display Cars Trace Porsche Motorsport History at Porsche Rennsport Reunion IV

Jacky Ickx at the wheel of the 1977 Porsche 935 “Baby,” which now resides at the Porsche Museum.

 

September 29, 2011 – Press Release

More than 350 Porsche race cars have been accepted to participate in the on-track racing during Porsche Rennsport Reunion IV, October 14-16.

They will tackle the historic 11-turn Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, where many of these same cars once turned a wheel in anger during their professional racing day.

Complementing the race cars in the paddock will be a very special display of approximately 50 Porsche race cars that will be showcased to Porsche fans, and each one has its own story.

This includes cars from two very significant collections: the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, Germany, and The Revs Institute for Automotive Research at the Collier Collection in Naples, Florida.

Special cars from Porsche Museum include:

  • 1971 Porsche 16-Cylinder, the only one built  and  intended for the Can-Am series

  • 1973 Porsche  911 RSR, winner of the last Targa Florio

  • 1977 935/2.0 “Baby,” which “added lightness”

  • “Moby Dick,” the original that many consider to be the ultimate 935 Porsche

  • Porsche 961, considered to be the “Uberporsche” race car, and is the one and only

  • 911 GT-1 98 LM, which is widely thought to be the ultimate 911

The Revs Institute is an internationally-recognized collection that focuses not only on the automobile as a technological device, but as an agent for social and economic change, and worthy to be considered among the masterpieces of creativity. This 501(c)3 not-for-profit educational foundation is a vast collection in the highly specialized field of automotive historical research, comprising an enormous resource on automotive history for scholars, historians, media, institutions and academia.

Cars from the Revs Institute’s exhibit: “Porsche: Designed to Excel” include:

  • 1953 Porsche 550 Coupe, the very first 550 built and raced at Le Mans

  • 1959 Porsche 718 RSK Spyder, raced extensively in 1959 by now-legendary drivers

  • 1960 Porsche Abarth-Carrera GTL, the only factory entry in the 1960 Le Mans

  • 1967 Porsche 911R, winner of the 1969 Tour de France and Tour of Corsica

  • 1971 Porsche 917K, of the famous Martini Racing Team, founded by Louise Piëch

“This is just a sampling of some of the significant Porsche race cars that will be visible for fans,” commented Gill Campbell, CEO/general manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. “With all the supporting entertainment, legendary Porsche drivers, vendors and fan activities, Porsche Rennsport Reunion IV will be a delight for everyone interested in motorsports.”

 

SOURCE: Mazda Raceway, Laguna Seca, Monterey, CA

 

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