Five-time Le Mans winner Derek Bell has been named the Grand Marshal for the 89th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The British driver will drive the pace car to lead the 62-car field on the formation lap on Saturday 21 August.
“I am extremely honoured to be invited to be Grand Marshal at the Worlds greatest race, having raced at Le Mans 26 times in 27 years plus spending many weeks whilst assisting on the Le Mans movie with Steve McQueen in 1970,” said Bell.
“I believe the best memory of my life was to lead the 1995 race with my son Justin and of course Andy Wallace in the Harrods Mclaren and finish in 3rd position on Fathers Day, to stand on the podium with my son was truly unique.”
“Le Mans has become my second home, its always a thrill to attend the event, having such a history there with so many great teammates. Thank you Le Mans.”
Bell is one of the most successful drivers ever to compete at Le Mans. He first made his debut at the race with Ferrari in 1970 before embarking on a nearly three-decade long career at the French endurance classic that saw him compete for Porsche, Mirage and McLaren.
He first won the race in 1975 in a Gulf-liveried Mirage alongside Jacky Ickx. Bell and Ickx would be a partnership for many years at Le Mans, with three of Bell’s Le Mans wins (1975, 1981, 1982) coming alongside the Belgian.
As part of Porsche’s dominance of Le Mans in the 1980s, he would go on to take four victories and three additional podiums in the 936 and all-conquering 956 and 962.
“It is a tremendous honour to welcome Derek Bell back to Le Mans,” said Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest. “Derek marked the history of the 24 Hours, and motorsport in general. As one of the five most successful drivers at the 24 Hours of Le Mans ever, he is part of a select breed.
“With this year’s race being more eagerly awaited than ever, we could not dream of a better person to lead out the 62 cars on 21 August. I would like to thank Derek for agreeing to fulfil this prestigious role.”