Derek Bell grew up on a farm and helped to run a caravan site near Pagham Harbour before being encouraged by his stepfather to take up racing in 1964 with a Lotus Seven. He graduated to Formula 3 the following year with a Lotus 31 and in 1966 switched to a Lotus 41 in which he scored his first race win at Goodwood. He then enjoyed a very successful Formula 3 season in 1967 with seven wins. In 1968 he graduated into Formula 2 with a private Brabham BT23C fielded by his stepfather Bernard Hender's Church Farm Racing team, putting in several promising performances which caught Ferrari's eye and he made his Grand Prix debut at Monza where he retired the 312. In 1969 Bell raced in the Silverstone International Trophy for Ferrari then gave the one-off four-wheel-drive McLaren M9A its sole race outing in the British Grand Prix. Bell was runner-up in the 1970 European Formula 2 Championship driving Tom Wheatcroft's Brabham BT30 and that year he raced a Surtees at Watkins Glen. In 1971 he raced briefly in a Frank Williams March and also appeared in a Surtees before getting regular work in 1972 with the Tecno F1 team, although he shared the drive with Nanni Galli. In 1974 he did a number of races with the Surtees team again but then spent some time in touring cars before building a reputation as a fine sportscar racer. He won two World Sportscar titles, five victories in the Le Mans 24 Hours and three in Daytona 24 Hours. Bell now lives in the United States of America and does commentary work on Formula 1 races.