Toggle Sidebar
Recent updates
  • Post is under moderation
    The problem with attending most historic car events as an ancien pilote is that you are always on duty. By that, I mean sometimes it would be nice just to be able to stop and have a nose around; kick some tyres and actually chat to people for more than a picosecond before bidding them farewell. This was brought home to me in late September when I participated in the fifth Rennsport Reunion, at Laguna Seca. I have been to all five, the first staged at Lime Rock back in 2001, and this was the best yet. I loved the sense of informality and cannot wait for the next one.

    This Porsche-only event attracted close on 50,000 spectators over the three-day weekend, not to mention 1400 or so 911s, including the very latest model, which made its global debut before the marque faithful. Oh, and there were more than a few racing cars, too, ranging from smallcapacity air-cooled machines to Can-Am monsters.

    Porsche has such a rich competition history in North America, not least in IMSA GTP, but this year’s central theme was Le Mans. I was one of 11 drivers on hand who have won the 24 Hours aboard a Porsche. Our ages ranged from this year’s co-winner Earl Bamber at just 25 years old, to Hans Hermann, who claimed the first win for the marque back in #1970 . The 87-year-old German was joined by Richard Attwood, with whom he shared the winning 917 all those years ago. Then there was my dear friend Jacky Ickx, Gijs van Lennep, Hurley Haywood, Jürgen Barth, Hans-Joachim Stuck, Vern Schuppan and… Well, you get the idea.

    It wasn’t just drivers, either. It was a pleasure seeing #John-Horsman , who I knew from my JW / #Gulf days. John tends to get airbrushed out of the story behind the #Porsche-917 but, in many ways, he made the car work. John, and John alone, sorted the aerodynamic issues that blighted the 917 in the early days, and he did so without factory assistance. It was all down to brainpower and intuition.

    It was great catching up with old friends from either side of the pitwall, but what I enjoyed most was meeting the young guns, not least fellow Brit Nick Tandy who, along with Bamber and Nico Hülkenberg, claimed outright honours in June aboard the factory 919 Hybrid. I had an opportunity to meet Nick in the run-up to the 24 Hours but, the thing is, I know what it’s like to be distracted when you’re preparing for a major race, so I left him alone. At Laguna Seca, there were no such constraints and Nick turned out to be a super chap as well as a supremely gifted driver. We had a long chat, and I was surprised and humbled by how much he knew about my career. Nick reached the big time via an odd route, starting out racing on short ovals as a kid when his contemporaries were battling it out in karts, but he went on to enjoy success in single-seaters before making the switch to GTs and sports cars. He told me he wants to win Le Mans at least another five times to eclipse my record. I wouldn’t put it past him.

    A particular treat and a real eye-opener was being able to wander around the cars that were either on display or lined-up on the grid for the many – many – Porsche-only races. I have been to countless Porsche events, including those catering for the old stuff, but this was something else entirely. When you see every conceivable Porsche from late-1940s 356s – the jumping-off point, if you will – to the latest models via all manner of one-offs, small-series specials and heaven only knows what else besides, you really grasp just why Porsche matters. Even I was surprised by the diversity of the cars at the Rennsport Reunion.

    And in what passed for a moment of introspection (as much as I do introspection), it made me realise just how important #Porsche has been to my career. To be honest, getting the JW/Gulf drive back in 1971 was a huge boost at a time when my #F1 prospects were a little shaky, while my 1981 victory alongside that man Ickx paved the way for a works drive in the 956/962 and two world titles.

    I was lucky enough to drive the ’81 Jules-sponsored 936 over the weekend. That, and the DHL-livered RS Spyder that was the dominant player in LMP2 in 2008. There really was no point in trying to compare them, or today’s 919 Hybrid which I sat in and would one day love to test, but it made me further appreciate just how different sports car racing history would look had Porsche not made such a huge contribution, and in so many classes.

    ‘NICK TANDY TURNED OUT TO BE A SUPER CHAP. I WAS SURPRISED AND HUMBLED BY HOW MUCH HE KNEW ABOUT MY CAREER’
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Derek Bell
    Derek Bell joined the group Le Mans forever
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Derek Bell
    Derek Bell is now friends with Bob Harper
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Derek Bell
    Derek Bell is now following Bob Harper
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Derek Bell
    Derek Bell is now friends with Richard Heseltine
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Derek Bell
    Derek Bell is now following Flid Chepushilo
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    MODERN MACHINES BMW 1 SERIES #E82

    Read how this awesome Bimmer went from stock to shock in less than two weeks!

    HOT RIDE: #BMW-135i 3.0 TWIN TURBO

    TOP MARK... WITH PERFECT PAINT, BLINDING RIMS AND KILLER STANCE, MARK STEWART GETS 10/10 FOR THIS MIGHTY BMW BUILD…

    The sign of true talent is when something is made to look easy through great skill. Take Lionel Messi for example. The way he effortlessly glides past opponents gives the impression football is simple. Then there’s F1. Surely it’s all about how good the cars are, so anyone can do it, right? Well, give it a go and see how far you get.

    This logic can also be applied to modifying cars. It’s easy to look at a finished project, spot the main mods and think, “Yeah, I could do that”. But most likely, you don’t realise what has gone on behind the scenes with the problems solved, custom parts, the trial and error process, the calculations to ensure things fi t and the taste to ensure it all blends together to make an awesome show car.

    Dealing with Mark Stewart can leave you with this false impression, as he makes it all look and sound so straightforward. On many occasions he’s transformed a car from stock to show-ready in almost no time at all. A few years ago we featured his S2000 that he turned around in four days! This BMW 1 Series took a lot longer. A whole 12 days. So it must be easy then, right? Er… not quite! Mark was looking for an RS6 towards the end of last year, when he spotted this rare manual 135i in grey. After a test drive he snapped it up, but only intended keeping the car for a short time. It came with coilovers, but once a set of Schmidt rims were fitted the Beemer was looking well enough that Mark decided to keep it a bit longer and take it a lot further!

    A plan was hatched and it was one that required lots of part sourcing, custom work and decision-making. Once the bits arrived, Mark had the bulk of work to do with less than two weeks until the big reveal. Everything had been worked around the chosen Cosmis XT-206R wheels... that were completely the wrong fi t. Mark had them re-drilled to 5x120. But the offset was an even bigger obstacle, or should we say ‘wider’. To cope with the extra girth, M Sport wings and an M Sport front bumper were fitted, while rear arches were pulled and rear bumper and side skirts modified. Only then could the body be hunkered down on AirREX struts and bags to provide the all-important lows.

    During this time, Mark finally decided on a new colour. Overall, his idea was to make the 135 look like it was a special edition from BMW, so he picked M4 Marina blue and it really works, especially with all the extra carbon bits added.

    This OEM+ theme is continued inside the cabin with just a few touches needed to lift the quality, such as #Recaro CS seats, the yellow show cage and a custom pillar mount for extra gauges. The boot build is fairly subtle too, but classy and high-end, like the rest of the car. Even though the 135i comes packing an awesome 3.0 twin turbo lump, Mark didn’t rest. To help breathing, out came all four cats and an AC Schnitzer exhaust was added, along with Injen induction kits. Finally, an Auto-Tune remap made sure it was all put to good use.

    So, there you have it, a show stopping slammed #BMW done and dusted in less than two weeks. Easy? Far from it! The truth is this project called upon all of Mark’s skill, vision and work ethic. The fact he was able to do it all in such a short space of time is testament to his expert planning – and those 12 days included working day and through the night! But, it was all worth it in the end as the car was ready for the big reveal on the Paintworx stand at Dubshed where it went down a storm. Top Mark indeed!

    TECH SPEC: #BMW-135i-E82 / #BMW-E82

    STYLING: Full respray in #BMW-M4-Marina-blue ; 1M front wings, 1M front bumper; carbon boot spoiler; custom side skirt blades; carbon mirrors; carbon V8 M3 style bonnet; carbon aerial; carbon kidney grilles; carbon bumper intakes; carbon rear diffuser; carbon 1M indicators; custom canards; rear arches pulled and flared; factory privacy glass; factory Xenon lights.

    TUNING: #N54B30 / #N54 3.0 twin turbo engine; 386bhp; 400lbft torque; 6-speed manual; #Injen induction kits; all cats removed; #AC-Schnitzer exhaust, map by #Auto-Tune .

    CHASSIS: #AirREX air-ride with #Air-Lift-V2 management and 2x #Viair-380 compressors; #Cosmis XT206R wheels custom drilled to 5x120; size 18x9.5 et10 front and rear; #BMW-Performance 6-pot brakes; #Mintex Fast Road pads.

    INTERIOR: Black #Recaro-CS seats; full colour coded dashdodger roll-cage painted Maserati yellow; custom pillar mount for gauges; boost gauge; air fuel gauge; custom mount for air controller; colour coded dash trims; rear seats removed; custom boot install.

    THANKS The Paintworx team!; PPG/Nexa Autocolor for paint, Stephen at SC Cages; Autotrend.

    MARK STEWART

    Two cars featured in two months – what have you got for our next issue?

    “Well, you may have to wait a bit longer for the next one. Although the BMW is now sold and I do have another project on the go!”

    Any clue on what it will be?

    “Yes, it’s an RS4 that already came to me in a nice unusual colour, but I’ll be putting my own stamp on it of course.”

    How’s the new business going?

    “It’s still early days but going well. The website is still being set-up but keep a look out for Autotrend, supplying and fitting AirREX air-ride as well as many other tuning parts.”

    Cosmis XT-206R wheels are available from Driftworks.com


    “He only intended keeping the car for a short time…”

    CARBON CRAZY!

    There are loads of carbon goodies added, such as the bonnet, rear diffuser and mirrors. But look out for the more subtle touches too, such as the 1M indicators, boot lid spoiler and kidney grilles, which all combine to make a difference. Even the compressor tank is coated in genuine carbon fibre. Nice!
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.
  • Post is under moderation
    Derek Bell
    Derek Bell unlocked the badge Journalist
    Journalist
    Loves browsing photos
    Stream item published successfully. Item will now be visible on your stream.