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Brands Hatch revved up for Porsche extravaganza

Tuesday, September 16 2014

Porsche's illustrious history on road and track will be celebrated at the all-new Brands Hatch Festival of Porsche this Sunday (21 September) where the guest of honour will be five-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Derek Bell MBE. From some of the most distinctive road-going machines of all time, to groundbreaking Le Mans winners, many of the marque's most iconic cars will be taking part in displays both on and off the track.

Bell will be at the forefront of festivities, leading on-track demonstrations of famous cars in the first of Porsche's groundbreaking 956s to be built, in iconic Rothmans livery. Derek was key to the brand's success throughout the thrilling Group C era of the 1980s, winning two World Sportscar Championships, and there will be plenty of chances to find out more about his exploits at autograph sessions throughout the day.

Bell commented, "I am flattered to be part of the Festival of Porsche. If it hadn't been for Porsche, I wouldn't have had the sports car successes that I enjoyed. Porsche and I were just meant for each other and I'm very proud to be part of their sporting heritage."

Porsche boasts an impressive racing record at Brands Hatch, winning nine times in the 1000km and six-hour contests between 1966 and 1988, including two successes for Bell. "Of all the tracks in the country at the time I was racing, Brands Hatch, with its fantastic mix of corners and its undulations, was always the most challenging to drive on and the most satisfying to win at," said Bell. "I'll miss Jacky Icxx [on Sunday], that's for sure! We won together at Brands Hatch in particularly difficult conditions one year, with rain and poor visibility; he had an amazing drive and I had a very good one."

Porsche enjoyed success at Brands Hatch throughout the Group C era, with 956s and 962s winning five times consecutively between 1982 and 1986. Derek Warwick and John Fitzpatrick's winning 956 from 1983 will be part of the special car displays in the paddock, alongside the similar Canon-liveried machine which won the following year in the hands of Jan Lammers and current circuit owner Jonathan Palmer.

Other notable cars appearing will include the Rothmans-liveried 956 in which Stefan Bellof recorded the fastest ever lap of the Nürburgring Nordschleife and the fastest 962 ever built, as raced by Derek Bell to his last 24 hours race victory on the high-speed banking at Daytona International Speedway in 1989.

Porsche's subsequent successes will be remembered by cars such as the Sebring 12 Hours-winning RS Spyder and the 911 GT1-'98, which recorded Porsche's last outright Le Mans win 16 years ago. Things will be brought up to date by a full-scale replica of the 919 hybrid-prototype, which has already established itself as a front-running machine in the World Endurance Championship.

Important road cars will also be showcased, most notably the 911 Turbo, which celebrates its 40th anniversary with a special parade and displays. 74 cars will take part, from the original 930 Turbo, as unveiled at the 1974 Paris Auto Show, to the state-of-the-art 991.

Other cars being displayed include models from the current Porsche range, such as the plug-in hybrid 918 supercar.

On-track action will be provided by the Porsche Club Championship, Porsche Club Speed Championship, BRSCC Porsche Championship, and a special Porsche Open Race, which benefits from a diverse entry list, including a 993 GT2.

Off-track attractions will include trade stands, question-and-answer sessions, autograph sessions, a fun fair and live music.

The inaugural Festival of Porsche is organised by circuit owner MSV in association with Porsche Club GB and supported by Porsche Cars GB. More information and discounted ticket offers are available at www.festivalofporsche.com until midday Wednesday 17 September.