As Le Mans legend Derek Bell is inducted into the FIA Hall of Fame, time to remember him at his very best
Really, it seems something of a disservice to Derek Bell that he's not been made a part of the FIA's Hall of Fame sooner. After all, this is a man who won Le Mans five times, Daytona three times and was twice World Sportscar champion, amongst other things.
Still, better late than never, and Bell has now joined a star-studded list of drivers - Mark Webber, Allan McNish, Romain Dumas, Fernando Alonso and more - in the FIA Hall of Fame inductees for this year. Bravo all.
Furthermore, while each and every one of the drivers will have featured in some incredible feats of driving, none of them apart from Derek raced a 956 in period. And only one of them narrated onboard laps of Brands Hatch GP in 1983, seemingly putting the world in fast forward and applying opposite lock out of Dingle Dell...
Yep, this really is one of those dream onboards, with a fascinating look into the speed of Group C racers and just how quick the GP circuit used to be. Despite constantly working at the wheel, managing the boost and navigating around a rogue 911, Bell remains a model of calm throughout, explaining the track, the car and the process of bringing them both together. Don't forget that Bell won the Brands Hatch 1000km in a car very much like this one in 1982, followed up by a third place in 1983, another victory in 1985 and second in 1986 - Derek Bell, Brands Hatch and the Porsche 956 made for quite the trio. Watch the video and you'll see just why!
So congratulations, Derek Bell, on a long overdue recognition from the FIA; with the 956 now just two years (and a month) from its 40th birthday, let's hope the dream team can be reunited again in the not-too-distant future.
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Amazing combination of skill and nonchalance. Filmed laps fast enough to qualify 7th...
More impressive given the 956 was a sheet alloy chassis, not that strong in a crash (compared with later honeycomb chassis’ built for later 962’s, never mind the carbon Jags), and the driver’s feet were ahead of the front axle line.