The unusual mixture of revenge and a tribute to a fallen friend were the major motivating factors that resulted in the latest Porsche victory in the Daytona 24 Hours.
Derek Bell of Britain, Bob Wollek of France and American John Andretti combined to drive a Porsche 962 to victory Sunday at Daytona International Speedway.Bell, who twice won America's most prestigious sports car endurance event as a teammate of the late Al Holbert, the five-time IMSA champion who was killed in the crash of his private plane last September, said the race was dedicated to his friend and colleague.
"This was a little bit special to me, especially with Al Holbert dying last year," said Bell, who also has won the 24-hour race at LeMans, France five times. "I thought about Al quite a bit this week. He is missed."
Car-owner Jim Busby, whose cars battled Holbert on the racetrack for years, said, "He was a friend as well as a competitor. I'm proud we're able to carry on for him. It was an inspiration to our whole team and all these drivers."
The revenge factor may have been even more important, though, with the 962s no longer being produced by Porsche and the new, state of the art Jaguars and Nissan GTP-ZX cars looming as the wave of the future in endurance racing.
Tom Walkinshaw's Jaguar team ended Porsche's string of 11 straight Daytona 24 Hours victories last year with its new XJR-9 prototype.
Wollek, who drove the final two hours, holding off the second-place Jaguar XJR-9 of Jan Lammers of The Netherlands, John Nielsen of Denmark, Andy Wallace of Britain and Price Cobb, said, "I was just fighting against the Jaguars.
"They won last year; we won this year. It was just revenge," added Wollek, like Bell a three-time winner of this event.
Bell said, "He's talking on behalf of all the Porsche teams when he says that."