Derek Bell returns to Le Mans this year, to race a Porsche 962 for the first time in twenty years.
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.