ICKX AND BELL: GO, BUT NO EGO
Jacky Ickx won far more races with
Jochen Mass than he did with Derek
Bell. Their victory tally together in world
championship events hit 20 in the
Belgian’s final season before retirement
in 1985. They won together in Porsche
935s, 956s and 962s, but what they
didn’t do was win the big one at Le Mans.
Compared with the Ickx-Bell alliance,
theirs was a “different relationship,”
says former Porsche motorsport boss
Manfred Jantke. “Jochen was much
less serious than Jacky,” he continues.
“Maybe he enjoyed life a bit more.”
That victory haul for Ickx and Mass
is remarkable, given that only two
other drivers, Bell and Henri
Pescarolo, topped 20 wins in the
40-season history of the original
World Sportscar Championship.
Bell enjoyed two great partnerships
during his career. The other was with Al
Holbert in the IMSA Camel GT series in
the mid-1980s, which yielded 16 race
wins. All but three came as a duo and
two were at the Daytona 24 Hours.
Pescarolo was similarly successful
with Gerard Larrousse at Matra. They
didn’t just have a 100-percent record
together at Le Mans aboard the French
marque’s MS670 derivatives in 1973
and ’ 74, but notched up seven more wins
in the World Championship of Makes
(one sharing with Francois Cevert).
Phil Hill and Olivier Gendebien can
claim the same hit rate at Le Mans as
Ickx and Bell. They started the race
together at Ferrari four times, won
three times in 1958, ’ 61 and ’ 62, and
were even more deserving of a fourth
victory, being some four laps up after
19 hours in ’ 59 when overheating put
their 250 Testarossa out.
(ABOVE) Olivier Gendebien and Phil Hill
(at the wheel) celebrate the first of their
three Le Mans wins together in 1958.
ever-dependable Bell who managed to
heave off the tail section and fix the
problem. They were within a half lap
at the end as Bell, fading brakes or no,
chased down the ailing sister Porsche
shared by Al Holbert, Hurley Haywood
and Vern Schuppan.
Surprisingly, Ickx and Bell teamed up
only a handful of other times. They
shared a Gulf Mirage once in 1974 and a
956 only twice outside of Le Mans in ’ 82,
although Bell helped his teammate to the
World Endurance Championship crown at
the Brands Hatch finale. Totally forgotten
is their very first outing together, in a
BMW 3.0CSL in a European Touring Car
round at the Nurburgring in ’ 74.
Quite rightly, they’re remembered for
success where it mattered most – Le Mans.
(ABOVE) Ickx (seated) and Bell look suitably
suave in deference to Porsche’s 1981 sponsor, a
pungent cologne called Jules. (BELOW) The ’ 82
start: 956s to the fore, with Ickx/Bell on pole.