(c) 'Who is Who' by Steve Small, 2000 Родился: 31.10.1941 Пиннер, Мидлсекс Сезонов в Ф1: Лет в Ф1: 7 Гран При: Старты: 9* *не стартовал: 9 Победы: подряд: Подиумы: подряд: Поул-позиции: подряд:
Сезонов в Ф1:
Лет в Ф1:
7 Гран При: Старты: 9* *не стартовал: 9 Победы: подряд: Подиумы: подряд: Поул-позиции: подряд:
9* *не стартовал: 9 Победы: подряд: Подиумы: подряд: Поул-позиции: подряд:
9 Победы: подряд: Подиумы: подряд: Поул-позиции: подряд:
It seems incomprehensible that a driver as talented as Derek Bell has only started in nine World Championship Grands Prix. He seemed to be jinxed when it came to Formula 1 - always in the wrong car at the wrong time - and eventually he was passed over in favour of younger talent.
Tentatively entering the sport with a Lotus Seven in 1964, Bell soon moved into Formula 3, initially with a Lotus which was run - with the support of his step-father 'Colonel Hender' - under the Church Farm Racing banner. It proved to be a character-building couple of years for Bell, who realised that he needed the help of wiser and more experienced heads if his career was to progress. He therefore decided to team up with Peter Westbury, which got his career onto a stable footing and brought results as well.
Despite a lack of funds, Bell and his step-father financed a season of Formula 2 in 1968 with a Brabham BT23, which brought him to the attention of Ferrari, who offered him a drive midway through the season. His debut for the Scuderia started badly with Derek in the midst of a huge pile-up in the F2 Monza Lottery GP. Fortunately he was exonerated from blame and looked set to win at Zandvoort until his gearbox failed. Bell tasted Grand Prix racing in the scarlet cars and enjoyed a trip down-under to contest the Tasman championship. Unfortunately for Derek, Ferrari withdrew from the bulk of their programme in mid-1969, leaving him without a drive apart from a one-off outing in the 4WD McLaren. To the rescue came Tom Wheatcroft, who, after financing a disastrous foray to the Tasman series, sponsored Derek for a full Formula 2 season in 1970, Clay Regazzoni just pipping him to the title. He was also invited by Jacques Swaters to drive a Ferrari 512 in the Spa 1000 Km - a race which was to lay the foundations of his future sports car success - and scored his only World Championship point with an appearance for Team Surtees at Watkins Glen. For 1971 Derek was paired with Jo Siffert in the Gulf/John Wyer Porsche as the team took the sports car championship. Derek stayed with Gulf/Wyer through the next three years, proving his worth as a top-drawer sports car driver while his miscellaneous Grand Prix appearances with Tecno and Surtees proved forgettable.
The 1975 season brought the first of his five Le Mans victories with Jacky Ickx in the Gulf and a successful championship campaign for Alfa Romeo - winning three times with Pescarolo - in the T33. The next few seasons saw a globe-trotting Derek competing in F5000, G8, touring cars, Formula Atlantic, World Championship of Makes events, etc. before joining the Rothmans Porsche factory squad which was to dominate sports car racing in the eighties (Derek taking the drivers' championship - with Hans Stuck - in 1985 and 1986). In recognition of his many fine performances Bell was awarded the MBE in 1986. The nineties found Derek enjoying the cut and thrust of racing in IMSA. With a Nissan GTP he took a splendid second place in the 1993 Sebring 12 Hours and finished fourth in the GTP championship standings.
After finishing sixth in the 1994 Le Mans 24 Hours, Derek announced he had driven in the French classic for the last time. But as he began his 32nd year in motor sport, the urge to race was still there. At Sebring he shared the second-place Spice-Chevrolet with Andy Wallace and Jan Lammers and, contrary to his earlier intentions, he was persuaded back to the Sarthe circuit once again, tempted by the chance of sharing a McLaren GTR with his son Justin and Wallace, the trio finishing a fine third overall.
Although an advanced age for a racing driver, Derek has continued to race selectively for sports car teams around the globe, confirming that his experience and reliability are still highly regarded commodities.
(c) 'Who is Who' by Steve Small, 2000
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