Tuesday, 31 March 2015
This year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed will mark the 40th anniversary of Derek Bell’s maiden Le Mans 24 Hours victory with an incredible line-up of cars that have played a major part in the sports car legend’s racing career.
Bell made his race debut at Goodwood in 1964 and has remained intrinsically linked with the venue ever since, through a career that has included five wins at the world’s most famous endurance race, as well as World Sports Car titles in 1985 and ’86.
Bell’s success behind the wheel will be celebrated with a Hillclimb class exclusively for cars associated with his career. More than a dozen cars are already confirmed for the June 25- 28 event that celebrates the theme ‘Flat-Out and Fearless: Racing on the Edge’.
Pride of place will go to the Mirage GR8-Cosworth in which he and Jacky Ickx won at Le Mans in 1975 to begin an incredible run of results at La Sarthe for the Sussex racer.
Two Porsches with which Bell is synonymous are also set to feature: a Gulf 917 of the type in which he raced in 1971, and the ‘Rothmans’ 962C in which he scored his final victory at Le Mans in 1987, alongside Al Holbert and Hans-Joachim Stuck.
Bell’s career was both long and varied and this will be represented by the inclusion of an example of the Ferrari 246 single-seater in which he raced in the 1969 Tasman Series , and the Tecno PA123 in which he raced in Formula 1 in 1973.
A BMW ‘Batmobile’ 3.0 CSL similar to the one in which he won the 1973 RAC Tourist Trophy and an example of the Broadspeed Jaguar XJ12C he raced in the European Touring Car Championship are also set to appear.
The latter part of Bell’s career will be represented by the Kremer K8 Spyder he raced at Le Mans in 1994 and by the ‘Harrods’ McLaren F1 GTR in which he finished third in France the following season with his son Justin and Andy Wallace.
Derek Bell, five-time Le Mans winner, said: “Goodwood means an awful lot to me, so for Lord March to celebrate my first Le Mans win in 1975 with the Gulf Mirage, having done a heck of a lot of the testing here, is very special. When I was younger, all I wanted to do was race at Goodwood. I’d be on the farm pitching the hay and I’d hear the Formula 1 BRMs testing with guys like Juan Manuel Fangio and Ken Wharton behind the wheel. I never dreamed I’d go on to race other places and achieve so much success. And it all started here at Goodwood.”
Gulf-Mirage 1967 to 1982
Details the origin and history of the Mirage sports cars, designed by the British-based John Wyer Automotive firm to contest the various versions of the World Sports Car Championship.