Sports Car Legend Derek Bell Joins RVO Pontiac Team For Rolex 24 At Daytona; Three Time Rolex Winner Returns
Detroit, Mich., January 17, 2008 -- Three time Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona winner Derek Bell returns to the World Center of Racing to drive the No. 12 RVO Motorsports Pontiac Riley in next week's twice around the clock Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 season opener.
Bell is an accomplished all around racing legend. He's won two World Sports Car titles, has five victories in the Le Mans 24 Hours and three in the Daytona 24 Hours. Bell joins team owner/driver Roger Schramm and his son Justin Bell for the famous 24.
"I had never driven a Rolex DP car until the test two weeks ago," Derek Bell said. "I have been keen to drive one. I took a few laps at night and did about six circuits. I felt like an old woman driving it. The last time I drove a sequential gearbox was when I drove here in 2003 with Gianpiero Moretti in the Ferrari 333 SP. The next day I got back in and got the gear shifting down and it was very enjoyable. It is a very easy car to drive. It can be nervous, the tail kicks out and that just makes you drive it a little more. The last time I was here I was the Grand Marshal of the race three years ago. It is great to run with my son Justin. We ran Le Mans together in '95 and we led the race for almost 14-hours."
For Derek, participation in this year's Rolex has even more significance, it may finally be his last international motor race.
"Obviously there comes a time when you simply cannot run at an international level forever, and while I will continue to drive in historic and classic race events, I can think of no better place to run my final race on the world stage, than at the Rolex 24 At Daytona where I have had much success and history".
Justin Bell will team with Schramm to run 12 Grand-Am Rolex series races this season.
"It will be great to run with Dad again," Justin Bell said. "Roger and the team have done a lot of work on the car in the off season and our times were a definitely more competitive in the test. Dad's experience will be welcome with regard to the setup of the car as well as how we run the race. He has so many sports car miles under his belt that we would be foolish not tap into that experience and knowledge. And let's face it, how many people get to drive with their father at this level?"
For Schramm it was an opportunity to help prove the speed of his Riley Pontiac as well as get a racing legend together with his son.
"Justin is a great driver in his right, but bring the two together and I think all three of our games will be raised," Schramm said. "We have made some competitive upgrades to the car in the off season and our times showed that this weekend. We just need to keep the car on the track and on pace for 24 hours. Anything can happen here. With our driver lineup we definitely have the discipline and experience to make the right decisions."
That driver lineup is rounded up with the addition of Paul Dallenbach and Tonis Kasemets which makes the No. 12 RVO entry on track for a solid run at this year's Rolex 24.
-credit: gm racing