1985 and 1986 World Sportscar champion
1982, 1986 and 1987 Le Mans winner
15 Group C World Sportscar victories
Britain’s most successful Le Mans driver with five wins in the 24 Hours, Derek Bell began his career at Goodwood in 1964 and became one of sportscar racing’s familiar names.
Before Group C began, he forged a strong partnership with Jacky Ickx, producing one of the sport’s great line-ups.
Bell had a promising junior single-seater record, but things never really came together in Formula 1 and the Briton scored just one point from nine starts. Fortunately, sportscar racing provided more opportunities and Bell became a stalwart of John Wyer’s JWA operation, taking his first Le Mans win in 1975 alongside Ickx.
By the early 1980s, he was one of the leading names on the Porsche factory’s list of drivers and Bell duly assisted Ickx to another Le Mans success (their third together) and the World Endurance Championship drivers’ crown in 1982 with the 956.
For much of 1983 and 1984, Bell was partnered with rapid rising star Stefan Bellof. As expected, he was not as quick as his young German co-driver, but he could be called upon to make sure they hit their fuel-consumption targets, and it wasn’t Bell who had the occasional spectacular accident. The duo was successful and Bellof won the 1984 drivers’ title.
Bell finally got his just reward with his own world crown – shared with new co-driver Hans-Joachim Stück – in 1985. He then narrowly made it a double after a topsy-turvy season finale against Jaguar the following year.