This month’s 911 and Porsche World magazine features a story on Derek Bell and his 928 Club Sport, written by me with photos by my partner in crime, James Lipman. Thanks to Derek’s hectic so-called retirement, the job took me a few months to set up, but it was well worth the wait: it was a truly fantastic experience from start to finish.
Porsche at Weissach built a small number of tweaked 928s for the works drivers. At the time of shooting, the car was owned by Justin Pressland, but it has since sold to a Belgian enthusiast and well known collector of important Porsche cars. Partly a shame as Justin was the perfect owner: an outright aficionado of the model, who regularly used and enjoyed the car. The 928 is now in good hands, however, and I expect to see it out and about on the European classic Porsche scene in 2010.
As for Derek Bell: what hasn’t already been said? As a five-time Le Mans winner, Derek is obviously a driver par excellence, but behind the glamour of racing, Derek is an intelligent, engaging conversationalist and a very entertaining man to spend time with. He is certainly deserving of his revered status within the Porsche community.
Here’s a brilliant bit of video illustrating the genetic connection between man and machine. This is Derek Bell in the Porsche 956 at Le Mans in 1983. The 24-Hour Le Mans race went right to the final lap, between the number three Porsche 956 of Al Holbert and Bell’s number one car.
Entering the final stint one lap down on Holbert, the number three car began to slow as a blocked radiator generated engine damage. Bell unlapped himself and charged on. On the very last lap, the Holbert car’s engine seized and then stalled. Holbert managed to get it running again but crossed the line just 17 seconds ahead of Bell. What a story!
Observe and absorb the awesomeness of that speed along the Mulsanne Straight: it was a privilege to work with this legend of Porsche. We had lots of fun with Mister Bell and hope to work with him again in the future.