Le Mans drivers reminisce in Credit Suisse Historic Racing Forum during Goodwood Revival
Five times Le Mans winner Derek Bell was joined by 1980 winner Jochen Mass and Alain de Cadenet in the highly popular Credit Suisse Historic Racing Forum hosted by Bruce Jones that took place on the Saturday morning of the Goodwood Revival. They were joined by designer Gordon Murray whose McLaren F1 GTR won the race in 1995.
The topic being The Challenge of Le Mans, Bell recalled that in his debut for Ferrari in 1970 he was told simply to “get in and drive”. His later races for Porsche were much more disciplined, and Bell describing the German team as being the greatest for which he ever drove.
Mass discussed the unique eight-mile circuit itself, speaking of its many challenges and its dangerous nature. He also remembered partnering a young Michael Schumacher at Mercedes, and instilling in the future seven-times Formula One World Champion important lessons about how to approach the 24 Hours.
De Cadenet described how Murray did “a year’s work in a few weeks” to create a sports-prototype for him to compete in the 1972 race, doing it alongside his day job. Murray told how he used to finish at Brabham at 9pm, then work on de Cadenet’s car until 3am. They were rewarded with the first Le Mans finish for a car powered by the Cosworth DFV engine. The team subsequently went on to achieve a number of giant-killing results.
Murray also shared his memories of adapting his McLaren F1 road car into the GTR racer, which won at Le Mans on its debut in 1995. Throughout the F1’s development, he’d been adamant that it was not going to go racing, but eventually he relented and the GTR wrote itself into the history books.
Fellow Le Mans competitors Jackie Oliver and John Fitzpatrick were in the audience, while 1970 Le Mans winner Richard Attwood joined the panel towards the end and raised the biggest laugh of the morning by wryly remembering that Le Mans “wasn’t that difficult, really”.
Introduced in 2004, the Credit Suisse Classic Car Program has become immensely popular. Over the past decade, Credit Suisse has built a network of friends and enthusiasts who share a passion for classic cars. Its partnership with outstanding classic events, including its own rallies and collection of historic vehicles, underline Credit Suisse’s commitment to the classic car scene.