Racing legend Derek Bell MBE from Pagham has been inducted into the Motor Sport Hall of Fame.
The five-times Le Mans winner, considered England’s greatest endurance racing driver, was inducted at the Royal Automobile Club’s Woodcote Park country estate on Tuesday, May 31, along with Sid Watkins, Dan Gurney, Valentino Rossi and Sébastien Loeb.
For the first year they were decided by a public vote, and more than 25,000 votes were cast.
Bell was at his prime during the 1980s and early 1990s, becoming the most successful driver of all time during the reign of the Porsche 956 and Porsche 962, achieving no fewer than 16 outright victories in the World Endurance Championship and 19 in the IMSA Camel GT Championship, a total of 35 wins in seven years.
In 1970, Bell filmed the cult movie ‘Le Mans’ with Hollywood legend Steve McQueen, the two became firm friends.
During the course of filming Bell showed that motorsport, even for the silver screen, can be a dangerous business, suffering burns to his face when the Ferrari 512 he was driving caught fire following a racing sequence on the Le Mans circuit.
At the peak of his career he was one of the top sports car and endurance race car drivers in the world.
In 1986 Bell was awarded the MBE for services to motorsport.
The racing legend has never officially stopped racing professionally and still enjoys driving at historic races, including Goodwood race weekends.
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