Derek Bell at 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans Grand Marshal
For the upcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans 2021, five-time 24 Hours of Le Mans overall winner Derek Bell will be leading the participating cars in the event.
On that occasion, he will be the one who drives in front of 62 cars on the formation lap for the upcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans.
In the 89th edition of the racing event, he will lead out those cars on 21 August, from 16:00.
I guess it is a fair decision by the officials because Derek Bell was the most popular driver in his era. He drove various race cars, including Mirage G58 Ford, Renault Alpine A442, as well as Porsche p62C, and more. He is considered the fastest driver on the competing circuit.
As mentioned, he won the 24 Hours of Le Mans five times, in 1975, 1981, 1982, 1986, as well as 1987. He also performed on the podium.
The last appearance was at the 1995 race in a McLaren F1 GTR.
Bell is rightly considered to be one of the most versatile and popular drivers of his time. Whether at the wheel of a Mirage GR8-Ford, a Renault-Alpine A442 or a Porsche 936, 956 or 962C, he was always one of the fastest and most reliable drivers on the circuit. He won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1975, 1981, 1982, 1986 and 1987 and had five additional appearances on the overall podium, the last in the 1995 race in the iconic Harrods-liveried McLaren F1 GTR. He was also twice World Endurance Champion in 1985 and ’86.
Bell started his career with Lotus back in 1964. He won his first formula tree in 1966 at Goodwood.
After F2 races with Ferrari in 1969, Bell performed at the Formula 1 British Grand Prix.
The achievement was followed by the Barcelona European F2 Championship as runner-up.
Bell debuted in Le Mans in 1970. But then, his first victory was in 1975 at the wheel of a Gulf Racing Mirage. Switching to Renault-Alpine, but no wins in the 1977 and 1978 races. He then won back when driving a Porsche 936 in 1981 and 1982.
Bell won the World Endurance Championship back in 1985. At that time, he was with Stuck. Meanwhile, he won again in 1986 by himself. Bell also won the Daytona 24 Hours three times: 1986, 1987, and 1989. Then, in 1995-1996, was the last appearance of Bell in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In 2019, the FIA Hall of Fame inducted him. Now, for the upcoming event, all the racing fans have the opportunity to witness his appearance once again.