DEREK BELL – All My Porsche Races (Book Review)
The new book by Porsche racing legend Derek Bell, with author Richard Heseltine, is filled with amazing unpublished photographs and stories. The short version of this review is that it is a most worthy purchase for any motorsports fan or Porsche enthusiast. For more read on.
I worked with Bell recently while photographing for the Gunnar Racing camp at Rennsport Reunion VI this past fall. Everything I experienced with him rings true with what you will read in this book. He’s the real deal – ready to talk with anybody who approaches him, a heck of a driver through the corkscrew at Laguna Seca or anywhere else, and the most worthy ambassador for all things Porsche that you could imagine.
The 276-page tome All My Porsche Races provides readers with proof of this, plus virtually everything you might want to know about his races. It documents every single one of his escapades from 1971 to 2000. The multitude of unpublished photographs alongside his many drives and accomplishments will astound even the most knowledgeable motorsports book collector.
Of course, we all know that Bell was one of the most successful British drivers in racing history. He piloted the Porsche Gulf 917, 934, 935, 936, and 956 at the height of their racing dominance. You could even be excused for thinking there isn’t a numbered Porsche he hasn’t driven. He’s won the Le Mans 24 hour race five times, the Daytona 24 three times, and two World Sports Car Championships. And there’s more. It turns out that nobody has won more Group C races than Bell – 15 in all – while partnered with Rothmans Racing and American Al Holbert in the late ‘80s. That’s not to mention his affiliation with co-drivers Jacky Ickx, Jochen Mass, Stefan Bellof, and Hans Stuck.
Fortunately, for me, Gunnar Racing had prepared the Löwenbräu Special Porsche 962 #14 that I photographed with Bell at RR VI. In the book he writes, “Racing with Al Holbert really was magic.” You will find this quote and countless more, along with multiple chapters on the Rothmans 956 and 962s, in All My Porsche Races.
There are so many revealing stories in this book, they will have your head spinning at what it must have been like to experience that era. 200 races, 39 wins, and 86 podium finishes. Through it all, Bell has kept smiling with his perpetual boyish manner. Perhaps Heseltine said it best in his introduction, “Few racing drivers have extracted more enjoyment from motorsports than Derek Bell MBE.”
Copyright Randy Wells. All Rights Reserved.
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