We were absolutely delighted to hear that racing legend, and OV, Derek Bell (S 56-58) has been appointed Grand Marshal at the 89th 24 Hours of Le Mans. Derek will take the wheel of the pace car to lead out the 62 cars through the formation lap ahead of the start on 21 August 2021.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the world’s oldest active endurance-based sports car race, and the most renowned. There is no official finish line, just the clock counting down – the winner is the car that has covered the greatest distance in the 24hours, without mechanical failure.
No stranger to Le Mans 24 Hours, Derek has won the race 5 times, and driven 26 times in 27 years, many with podium finishes. He also won the Daytona 24 three times, and the World Sportscar Championship twice. Derek has also raced for the Ferrari, Wheatcroft, McLaren, Surtees and Tecno teams in the Formula 1.
In 1986 Derek was awarded an MBE for services to motorsport, in 2012 he was inducted into the Motor Sport Hall of Fame of America and in 2014 he was presented with Honorary Life Membership of the AA in recognition of his 50 years in Motorsports. As you may have also read, Derek recently joined forces with OV Tom Yates (W 99-06) as development driver for the prototype McMurtry Spéirling electric track car.
A much-loved member of the King’s Worcester family, Derek joined the ranks of the Barnabas Group in 2019. OVs who have excelled in their chosen careers are invited back to join the Barnabas Group, named after St Barnabas, son of encouragement, to share their life experiences and to offer advice and inspiration to the school body. You can listen to the audio of Derek’s address to the School here
On his appointment as Grand Marshal, Derek said, “I don’t ramble on about awards and honours, but in reality they are all very special and accolades to all of us.”
We look forward to watching you behind the wheel, Derek!