If you’re as much of a racing fan as we are, names like Hurley Haywood, Derek Bell and Brian Redman are the stuff of legend. We’d call them heroes, but there’s more to it than that, since all came from a time when racing meant much more than it does today.
Now, it’s a job. Then, it was often a matter of life or death, since neither cars nor racetracks had the same margin of safety that they do today. Crashes and devastating injuries were regular occurrences, and driver fatalities weren’t infrequent.
To some degree the cars were heroes, too, as anyone who’s ever listened to the exhaust note of a Porsche 917 or a Porsche 962 can attest. They were capable of incredible performance, and they were driven by men like Bell who worried more about turning the fastest lap time than about keeping sponsors happy or landing a big endorsement deal.
In 1971, Bell drove a Porsche 917K to 246 miles per hour, on bias-ply tires, on the Mulsanne Straight, and that makes both the man and the machine heroes in our book. Enjoy the latest video from Porsche's Rennsport Reunion IV, below.