Derek inducted into the 2012 Motorsports Hall of Fame of America
Friends, family, members of the automotive and motorsport industries and legends of motorsport gathered at the historic Fillmore Theatre in Detroit to usher in an illustrious group of seven motorsport icons into the 2012 Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, the organization's 24th Annual Induction Ceremony.
The Class of 2012 includes event attendees Ed Pink (Drag Racing), Derek Bell (Sports Cars) and Ricky Johnson (Motorcycles) who were joined by friends and family members that touchingly memorialised and enshrined deceased inductees Pop Dreyer (Historic), Neil Bonnett (Stock Cars) and Vic Edelbrock, Sr. (At Large). Inductee Danny Sullivan (Indy Cars) was forced to miss the event after an unexpected schedule change kept him in England on a television shoot, but he was capably represented by AutoWeek Editor and Associate Publisher Dutch Mandel who both inducted and accepted the honour for his friend and the 1985 Indianapolis 500 winner.
The evening moved off to an appropriate start with a keynote address by Honorary Chairman Jim Campbell, General Motors Vice President Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. In addition to acknowledging the achievements and contributions of other well-known manufacturers represented at the event, Campbell focused on the Chevrolet brand's important role in motorsports history, as well as its presence at the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.
Derek was ushered into the Hall by his son and fellow sports car World Champion Justin on the night's second family-style enshrinement.
"From farmer to Ferrari Formula 1 in just a few years, to five Le Mans victories, two sports car world championships to an award from Her Majesty the Queen, my father Derek Bell has had the most extraordinary life," Justin said. "But there is another side of his life that I am equally if not more proud of and that is there has never been a bad word said about my Dad. This is an extraordinary thing in a sport that is based on such fierce rivalry. To be in the sport over 40 years and to find that people everywhere appreciate and love what you do is amazing.”
Derek’s success also includes three overall victories in the Rolex At Daytona in the United States.
"It is obviously a great honour to be up here tonight as a member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame, particularly for a Brit," Derek said. "As I have said too many people over the years, we are very, very lucky to be racing drivers. People like Ed Pink and the Edelbrocks, and others we have heard from tonight, all of these wonderful engineers, as drivers we are actually nothing compared to them. They really are amazing people, it's amazing what they have done for the sport, and obviously that means for me as well. I still appreciate all of those people that have done so much for me over all these years."
Derek is still very active in both motorsport and the automotive industry, as the Bentley brand ambassador. The award is very much deserved.