Derek Bell returns to Le Mans this year, to race a Porsche 962 for the first time in twenty years.
Derek Bell Porsche Le Mans return
DB’s last Le Mans outing was in 1992, with son Justin and Mr Sideways, Tiff Needell. Bell is a five-time Le Mans winner, and suitably excited by his upcoming return.
“As it’s been twenty years and I still enjoy racing in historic series, the invitation was hard to resist. The emphasis is on fun: competitive fun. I’ll enjoy soaking up the unique atmosphere created by the fans who watch the racing at Le Mans, a track that means more to me than any other in the world.”
DB will drive a Porsche 962 in the one-hour Group C race on Saturday morning. 962 chassis CK6-88 is owned by Martin Overington: a very original car, still wearing its Kenwood livery. Jamie and I bumped into Martin at the 2010 Le Mans Classic, just after he had bought the car. It was entered in the Spirit of Le Mans concours (I think – must check my notes) and won that event.
CK6-88 raced at the 1988 Le Mans in 1988, finishing 9th overall and clocking up 5,007 kilometres. Michael & Mario Andretti raced it at the World Challenge of Tampa race in 1988, finishing 6th. The car won the 1988 European Interserie Championship, piloted by Denmark’s Kris Nissen.
Martin says: “I’m thrilled that Derek will race my 962 at this year’s event. Adding ‘driven by Derek Bell’ to a car with an existing Le Mans history is fantastic. As a huge Le Mans fan, it does not get much better than that”.
The Group C race starts at 10:05 hrs CET on Saturday, June 18. Qualifying is the previous Thursday at 16:00 hrs CET. I’m not at this year’s Le Mans 24-Hour, but will be at the Classic in July. We’ll find some online web streams and share them.