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Driving Dream Date: Derek Bell and Bentley

Still pinching myself over scoring time in the passenger seat next to World Champion Racecar Driver Derek Bell MBE in a brand new Bentley around the track at Palm Beach International Raceway.  Derek Bell MBEYou know how people make bucket list’s?  If I wasn’t such a realist, this would have been towards the top of my list.

Bentley Track Day  Courtesy of Bentley Motors, my husband and I were invited to drive brand new Bentley’s, every model in the line-up.  But then the surprise was announced:  a few hot laps with Derek Bell! 

Derek Bell and Lisa SmithHa, little Lisa, getting a driving lesson from none other than Derek Bell.  OMG doesn’t cover it.

The minute he buckled into his seat our instruction began and it was amazing.  His humility was charming and his ability to transfer driving tips at rapid fire speed, while driving at speed, was mesmerizing.   I hope osmosis worked because I was not in the position to take notes.  (I asked questions, though was too in the moment to remember what.) 

He talked line, breaking, acceleration, where to turn in, and how to line up to create the most straight lines.  A racetrack regardless of curves, is in the mind of a driver, a collection of straight lines.  The more straight lines you create, the faster you will be.  Derek Bell and Bentley Flying SpurThe new Flying Spur, is no slouch on the track.  You know how little dogs are overtly aggressive and don’t realize their diminutive size when they are in the presence of a big dog?  The Flying Spur is the opposite, a big car acting with the nimble qualities of a smaller car. 

More Than A Spokesmodel    The humble but legendary British gent with the Rod Stewart hair and the legendary elegant British carmaker which greets you in style and delivers you with a roar make a perfect marriage.  Derek and Bentley go together like a horse and carriage.Bentley Continental GTC V8 & 4 1.2 Litre Blower on way to 2012 Le Mans Classic Derek is currently a brand ambassador for Bentley and provides the brand with unparalleled driver feedback when creating and tuning new models.  And he enjoys driving the cars, new and old.   Derek Bell at 2102 Le Mans ClassicLiving Proof   Okay, so this guy drives all the time and has had more time in a seat than any of us ever will, what does he do at the track while not giving instruction?  It was almost like watching a child play with his favorite toy, he hopped into the Flying Spur and drove around the track on his own.  Proof he loves to drive and loves driving a Bentley. 

Highlights Of A Racing Legend

  • Five times LeMans winner
  • Three times Daytona winner
  • Back to back World Sports Car Championship titles
  • 16 victories at World Endurance Championship
  • 19 IMSA Carmel GT Championship victories

He has been called the most successful driver in racing history and was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2012.  He was hand selected by Enzo Ferrari to drive within three years of beginning his lifelong career in motorsports.  Read more about Derek’s exciting career on his website.

And you were wondering why I needed to pinch myself?  To be in the company of car racing greatness was beyond cool, to be in the passenger seat, definitely a dream date.   Thank you Bentley Motors!


PS. Next week I’ll be at the Daytona 500.  Watch for me on Twitter & Instagram!

Photos of Blower Bentley courtesy of Bentley Motors.

Our participation in this driving event was courtesy of Bentley Motors. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thanks for supporting these sponsors that allow us to create new and special content like this for Decor Girl Media.

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