Derek Bell talks Porsche and Goodwood Festival of Speed


Derek Bell at Goodwood Festival of Speed
Credit: Porsche / Dan Bathie

Goodwood local Derek Bell is no stranger when it comes to the Festival of Speed and the 70th anniversary of Porsche. The legendary driver took the German marque to no fewer than four victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, three wins at the Daytona 24 Hour race and the World Sportscar Championship twice.

Talking at the festival Bell spoke about his career with Porsche, “Well, I drove for them from 1971, so there are not many drivers that drove for them before that here this weekend, and it was the most fantastic period, driving the 917 in that era, and then going on to drive the 956 and the 962 in the 80’s.

“Then, of course, being part of the Porsche family for all of those years, I still have the opportunity to drive the cars, it’s just remarkable when you consider how long they’ve been there, and what they have done for motorsport, and for so many drivers. Without them, I wouldn’t be standing here being interviewed now. They really have done so much for so many people.”

Bell then spoke about Porsche celebrating 70 years and those celebrations taking place right on his doorstep, “Well, it’s great to be alive every day, starting with Porsche in the 70’s and still being with still today.

“Seeing what they are doing all throughout motorsport, and when Porsche isn’t racing, then there’s not much racing going on, that’s the remarkable thing. The cars have always been so accessible, so easy for people to drive, and so cheap and easy for them to buy and run [sic]. It’s great to see them all here.”

Bell then reflected on the Festival itself, “What makes it so special is what’s happening now [Porsche 70th Anniversary], I mean last year it was Ferrari‘s turn, and next year it will be Bentley. If you think of those three brands and the people involved with them, Enzo Ferrari, the Porsche family, and W.O. Bentley, and you think that these great men had such great vision to produce such magnificent cars.

“What’s so fantastic about the Goodwood scene, is that it has set a level that other people aim to achieve, so instead of seeing these cars in a museum or private collection, you can get to see them here, doing what they were made to do. A very generous owner can be here, with his car, either driving it himself or letting an in-period driver take to the wheel and then for visitors to be able to get up close and touch the cars, it’s a remarkable thing.”