#7 : Neel Jani & Derek Bell, live from the Porsche garage at Le Mans

#7 : Neel Jani & Derek Bell, live from the Porsche garage at Le Mans
The Edge
#7 : Neel Jani & Derek Bell, live from the Porsche garage at Le Mans
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Episode 7 August 21, 2021 00:50:26

Hosted By

TAG Heuer

Show Notes

This time on The Edge, a podcast by TAG Heuer, we’re going for a spin with Swiss superstar Neel Jani as he competes in the FIA World Endurance Championship and 24 Hours of Le Mans for Porsche, and Derek Bell, the British racing legend who won Le Mans five times, as well as the Daytona 24 three times and the World Sportscar Championship twice. The pair talk about starting out, simulators, and their passion for Porsche. Your host for this special podcast edition live from the Porsche garage at Le Mans is none other than Nicholas Biebuyck, Heritage Director at TAG Heuer. Watch out - this is The Edge.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:00 Everything was just bur you know, you know, just going up and down a hundred ribs as you went along, and this sound all the way up there, an incredible eerie sensation of loneliness yet a man on his own. Exactly. It was like climbing to the bloody stars. Yeah. I mean, it was absolutely incredible cause you're sitting in the shell and there you are. And it's actually silent except for the wine of the engine. It's amazing experience, but we had it for a whole minute, you know, and it that's a long time to, it's not just like up there and down, it was magic. Speaker 2 00:00:39 What gives us our edge and how do we go beyond it? How thin is the line between taking part and tipping into victory? What inspires those moments of rare advantage that change the shape of a race, a winners born or made and what happens when things go wrong or when it all goes right. Welcome to the edge. We'll be talking to people operating at the very edge of possibility from athletes to actors and from artists to entrepreneurs. I'm your host te van and BRCA watch out. This is the edge, a podcast by tag Hoya. Speaker 4 00:01:30 Hello everyone. Uh, welcome to the edge. It's a great honor and a pleasure to be here, live in the Porsche garage at Lamar, uh, for the racing ahead this weekend, my name's Nicholas Bebe. I'm the heritage director for tag Hoya and I'll be hosting today's podcast with two legends of motor racing, uh, multidisciplinary specialists, uh, multiple Lamar winners in the room. Uh, so it's amazing to have Derek bell, uh, uh, a personal hero of mine, five times overall Lamar winner, uh, four times a witch with Porsche and, uh, Neil Johnny overall winner in 2016 also has been through the formulary program and is back in world endurance championship here. It's so great to have you guys both with us, uh, for this podcast. So thank you very much for, for joining. Um, just to kick off quickly, uh, Derek, can I ask you, uh, you know, what does being here at Lamar mean to you? And can you explain a bit about your, your role in the racing, uh, this weekend? Well, Speaker 0 00:02:26 It's rather like being home because, um, I did race here for the first time in 1971 and it's a long time ago, isn't it? And, uh, that's 50 years or something, isn't it? Yeah, that's ridiculous. Anyway, 51 in driving for Ferrari will have to use that name occasionally as part of my history. And, uh, I obviously stayed here and worked on the McQueen movie for three months after that first race I did driving Ferrari and also Porsche with Joes and Steve. So Lamar became almost my second home. I spent so much time here. Then I did basically 26 years out of 27 racing here in, in, in a, we just missed one year and, uh, you know, so it really has become my home and the races are so long and we finished a tremendous percentage of them. So I guess I've been around here a few times. Speaker 4 00:03:14 You certainly have. And, uh, and, and what's bringing you back. What's your role now with the, the organization? Well, Speaker 0 00:03:19 This year, eventually you become the grand marshal, Neil. If he sticks around long enough and keeps his nose clean, he'll be here as well, one day <laugh>. But, um, you know, it's a great honor to be, to be asked to be the grand marshal's something I was never in a rush to do, uh, cause I just like racing, but when they start to call you a legend, when you're in your forties, you know, you're in for trouble when you get into your late sixties and early seventies, but it is fantastic to be back with all the people. And I, you know, like there's guys at Porsche, I still recognize who actually recognize me, which is probably more important from those early days. And I have strong affection and obviously relationship with Porsche because, you know, I've stayed with them. I'm part of a Porsche dealership in America and that sort of thing. So it is part of my pedigree, Speaker 4 00:04:05 An amazing, amazing legacy here, Derek. So, uh, amazing to have you back with us and Neil, can you, I mean, understandably you are, uh, you're a bit busier this weekend. You've got quite a lot going on, but uh, you know, what does it mean for you being back here? You know, obviously overall winter in 2016 and now in the, the RSR, uh, you know, what, what makes it special for you? Speaker 5 00:04:23 You know, lamo is, is this one race, uh, where you come and, and you know, uh, anything can happen. Uh, it's just proven over history and it has this big, mid, this big history, which makes it even nowadays special. And, and because of what happened in the past with guys like Derek on this track and, and many other, uh, great racing drivers. So it's, it's always special to be Speaker 4 00:04:50 Here. Fantastic. And now we know why we are here on what we are doing and, you know, to be live at this amazing circuit is, uh, is fantastic for us. Uh, Derek, can we rewind a little bit and can you tell us a little bit about how you got started in your motor racing and, uh, you know, what really brought you into the, into the four wheel four wheel world? Speaker 0 00:05:08 I really feel sorry for Neil having to sit there and listen to this stuff. I apologize, Neil, but, um, yeah, Speaker 5 00:05:14 I like history. Speaker 0 00:05:15 I know, I know history. I love it. Well, it was after the second world war we're talking about. So we're looking good. Yeah. Speaker 5 00:05:21 So, no, but you know, I think, you know, most things we actually enjoy in our days in, in the cars in terms of already safety, but also technology, uh, came because of what happened and what you guys dealt lot. And it's just a process. And that's why I think history is an important part for racing driver also to understand, to know what you have nowadays and also what you can contribute to the future. And that's why, so go ahead. I'm, I'm happy for Speaker 0 00:05:49 Listening. Yeah, no. I mean, from the beginning, I, I, I grew up on a farm in England. Uh, we had several hundred acres, so I was driving from the age of nine. So driving was second nature for me. And, uh, obviously at the certain stage, I thought, you know, I wouldn't mind doing a bit of racing and Goodwood the race track at Goodwood's. I can hit see part of the track. I live on the sea in the complete south of England, but six miles away is Goodwood. And, uh, so I used to go and be a, about 13, 14 used to be a corner worker, or we called it a marshal in England. And, uh, I was there the day Sterling Moss in 1962 had his big crash, which finished his career, which seems remarkable really. And, um, you know, I, I just wanted to race, but of course in those days there weren't racing schools particularly, or how did you start? Speaker 0 00:06:32 I didn't have any money to start with. And I always find, I had a puzzle with young people. How the hell they ever do it? Like, how did he do it? And I maybe find out in a minute, but how it, you wanna do it, but who the hell's gonna pay for you to do it? Cuz your parents are never keen on putting up money. If that's the case to go out and try and kill yourself. So, um, you know, it's a bit tricky, but, um, I actually, I think I was in my teens when I heard about the Jim Russell racing school. So I went there as I had left college and um, I did very well. And Jim Russell one day picked me out as having an unusual, exceptional talent. He actually said, and he said, I can do nothing more for you. Speaker 0 00:07:08 Haven't finished the course, but you should go out. I guarantee within you you'll be in a factory team. So that was me out of that driving school stuff. And of course, um, two years later I ended up going to partnership with a friend with a little Lotus seven and I won my first race at Goodwood in the rain. And, and then my father then became interested cuz you know, they, people said to him, you can't let this guy stop. So we continued with formula three and then I went up to formula two and I on my third race in formula two, uh, I had some, a good result against Jackie Stewart and people like that at Truxton and in Barcelona. And I got a call from Enzo Ferrari and then sort of things started to fall in place. And Jimmy Clark had been killed at Hawkin Heim. Speaker 0 00:07:52 That was my second race in four two, which shattered me somewhat cuz he was my hero on the track, uh, has been ever since really, he was such a clean, modest sort of driver and imaculate the whole time never got into trouble, but something broke that day and it wasn't his fault and it often isn't. And uh, so that was really how I got started. And you know, as I say, I, I actually went to Ferrari, which um, a lot of people said would, was a big mistake. He'll ruin your career. But I think if you asked Neil, would he in his career, he would probably would like to drive a formula one car for Ferrari. There's something about it. Even with Enzo not being there. And uh, just to have had that 18 months raving for the fact. I mean my first former two race in as a professional, my first grand Prix was the Italian grand PR next to Jackie Stewart and Denny a that sort of thing on the third row. And my first Lamar was in 1970 with Ferrari with Ronnie Peterson. So it was funny. I should have that sort of, you know, thoroughbred back there yet. I went to Porsche straight away. And then of course with Porsche, we had a lot of successes with the nine seventeens. I was there the last year of that project and God, it was a magnificent car. I mean we were doing 396 Dan Moza that year, which is pretty quick. Speaker 5 00:09:06 That's how they put in the chicanes now. No, Speaker 4 00:09:08 <laugh> exactly. Speaker 0 00:09:08 Yeah. I didn't want, yeah for you guys, it's just as well, you're being 500 kilometers an hour <laugh> but the car was so stable, but it was an amazing experience. And um, you know, that was the beginning and then I, you know, sports car racing in the seventies was in the not doing so well, but I raced a bit of formula one and a bit of Canam and a bit of world championship sports cars with, without for mayor, that sort of thing and moved on. Yeah. And uh, you know, then with Porsche, we had those great successes in the eighties with the 9 5 9 3 6 9 5 6 9 6 2. And I was part of that program. So really has been, my life has been with Porsche to be honest Speaker 4 00:09:44 And amazing that you spent your time between, you know, the two most illustrious teams in, in competition, motor sport, really, you know, really great lorded powers. So, uh, you know, just an incredible, incredible career. Yeah. Yeah. So Neil, can you tell us a little bit about, you know, obviously a very different era from when Derek got his start, you know, motor sports changed dramatically, not only the cars, but also, you know, the financial and business aspects of it, you know, how, how did you get into the racing? Speaker 0 00:10:08 Um, Speaker 5 00:10:08 Basically a little bit like Derek, I <laugh> grew up, uh, in Switzerland and uh, and my, my dad always liked cars. We went go-karting there and I used to do a bit of carting. Uh, we did some race and Swiss championship that was still just hobby. You know, it always starts off as a hobby. You it's not, there was no thought process of becoming race driver. It's just like, okay, we like it. Um, then I remember going rental carting in, uh, in a track in Switzerland and uh, there was a guy called Peter Collins, which you might know, oh Speaker 0 00:10:45 Yes. Speaker 5 00:10:45 Uh, good load former notice. Yes, that's right. Yeah. He was there in Switzerland and then he was like, oh, you, you need to do more racing. So with him, his connection, then I started doing international go card races. And then we started looking at it a bit more professionally and uh, yeah, that's when it started taking off and he's still a good friend. We never had any management, but he's just a good friend because he doesn't live too far from where we are. And uh, went to formal re and so on. And one, uh, I think the deciding point, maybe that's one important thing, deciding point to when I became a professional racing driver or not, or when we decided to go ahead was 2002 in spa. We had a formula rental European championship race. And, uh, I was on pole was 69 cars or so, and it rained overnight and it was just like, you know, the semi Speaker 0 00:11:42 Conditions. We no spar in the rain, Speaker 5 00:11:44 It was the semi conditions. So I opted to go for ring tires. I was on pole. I thought maybe last lap would be okay. I was 17. And there were a lot of good drivers on the grid. Uh, if you, if I look back, you know, there was Louis Hamilton, there was Robert Coit, Christian, Colleen, Jamie green, Bruno Spangler. I mean, EV I think the top 15 all have made a professional career. So I won that race, uh, with eight seconds lead. And, uh, then I got called by McLaren, uh, first time Dave, Ryan, which you might know as well. And, uh, but also Williams, uh, and saber former one team. So that was for us. Hmm. I think now we need to look at it. And that was at the age of 1718. So that was basically, I would say the, the turning point. Speaker 4 00:12:34 It, it's amazing to think that, you know, you guys have made this incredible career out of motor racing, but you know, as you both said, you don't really think about it as a career to begin with and you probably need a contingency plan. And, uh, Speaker 0 00:12:45 There's one thing I'd love to say, this is what, it's a big difference between this. Although we had a similar way is I never sat in a race car until I was 23. Oh wow. Because we didn't have carting. You see? So I, I drove farm tractors when I was 10 years old. Yeah. Doing 12 miles an hour, you know? And so that is the big difference that we started much later than they did that had to be such an advantage to him. But I'm not saying I had an advantage of what he had the fact was it meant that everybody has an advantage to get into the, the rules of, of the road of driving cars. So young, whereas in our era, we really didn't. Yeah. Before Speaker 4 00:13:22 Me, and, Speaker 5 00:13:23 And now I think you, you went to the next step, you know, and that's the simulator. Yeah. Speaker 4 00:13:28 They e-sports them, Speaker 5 00:13:29 The, all the, the younger drivers which are coming. I can see that, that I'm now actually one of the older ones. Yeah. Because they already do simulators at the age of 7, 8, 9. They know all the tracks, they come to a track they're well prepared. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, there is no thing, like a new race track. There is no thing that they don't know the steering wheel with the buttons. And, uh, there are a lot just the next step of preparation is already happening there. So nowadays, if you don't do a simulator, you're also in trouble. And, and I think it's interesting, just the thement. And so in that way, also I'm getting quickly old <laugh>. Speaker 0 00:14:07 But the interesting thing also there is what he's saying is that, cause we went, I mean, I always used another ring as an example. I mean, 170 odd corners on the old track. If not more then actually, and you know, I went round in my E type for six lectures and he wouldn't do more than four without burning the brakes up. And I wasn't going past it. Just stop it going downhill. But you know, you, there's no way to learn a track. And nowadays, as he said, I mean, I guess you you've obviously raced the ring. You've no doubt I've ridden some of it in probably a good simulator at some point. Speaker 5 00:14:37 I've only seen it on simulator first. Is that right? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Like didn't learn it differently. Speaker 0 00:14:42 No, the only, I mean, I'm never sure about simulators because the ring has got such a feel to it. You know, we're coming off the ground and the feel of the card coming off, I guess it I've driven on a good simulator. I have to play the Hong Kong ly enough, but the only time, but it never gives you enough sensation. I mean, would you say that's true? Speaker 5 00:15:02 Yeah. Obviously, you know, this, the running over crest and so on how the car falls and so on. But that's where I think the go-karting is important. Yeah. It's the basic feeling you produce as a kid. Yeah. Yeah. But for the line, the line stays the same, the bumps you feel in the same, uh, obviously how you handle it is then the question, but you don't come anymore to like the den CROs thing. You don't turn up there and there are surprised the air there nearly or yeah, that's right. There's no surprises anymore. No, Speaker 0 00:15:33 No, no, no. Good. Speaker 4 00:15:35 Well, I, I guess there's this component of being a, a good racing driver, you know, entry and exit speed following the line and everything else. But then, you know, from the SIM, all this kind of stuff, you know, these young drivers can learn the etiquette. They can learn the buttons on the wheels and they can learn, you know, getting in and out the pit lane. So it's, you know, as you said, it's, it's a very, very different era and it, it really gives them a head start in a way. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. But you know, I guess for each generation it's a level playing field because you all have the same, same ingredients, but I just to, to move on to the next step, uh, you know, obviously the two of you have raced in a whole host of disciplines in motor sport, Derek you've done formula three, formula two formula, one endurance, Neil, you've done endurance. You've done, uh, formulary. Speaker 5 00:16:13 Yeah. Formula E formula two formula one as well tested. So all the cars. Yeah. Speaker 4 00:16:19 What, what's so special about endurance racing, uh, you know, what really makes it so, so close to, to both of your hearts? Speaker 0 00:16:26 I think we are, I think we are sick. That's the problem <laugh> who needs pain for six hours or 24. I mean, when you think about it, I mean, they have three drivers and it's a slightly different, we had two drivers. So I knew I couldn't fail because if I fail, we were out. There's a possibility if he was out, the other two could carry on. That's the only thing I'd look at it is that there was always a bit of relief there, but you went into a race going got, if I screw up or I feel ill or I eat something or I shouldn't eat, you know, we're out, but that's, as far as the that's concerned, not the driving. I just think that it get, I think endurance racing suits some drivers better than it does others. I know it's called endurance. And it is, but I mean, I mean these days they drive them absolutely flat out. Speaker 0 00:17:08 We drove them flat out to a different limit. You know? I mean, I remember I never remember going around slowly and saying, oh, just cruise here. There was none of that. I mean, it was always flat out, but they were telling you, we were trying to conserve fuel inevitably all the way through the eighties. It was Purry. And so you'd have to have the boost down. You had the mixed, everything was down, but you had to drive it flat out, uh, but save fuel. And that was a horrible way to go. It got better. Cuz Porsche, the reason Porsche go racing is for the development of something. Every race has to be the development of something. Every time I moaned about some new thing, like the PDK coming on and the, and then we had abs was put on us just before qu practice or qualifying at Fuji. I mean, what a bloody thing to do to us <laugh> was already struggling through PDK. And then they say, ah, is this weekend, Mr. Bell, you will drive with the abs and I'm going, that's not really very fair. <laugh> you know, but, but it wasn't just me. It was all of us, but it was just was crazy. And, but you know, you Porsche's philosophy is you have to be developing something and that's what we've done for tra and that's what endurance racing has done to a great degree, I think has improved the car. Speaker 5 00:18:19 Yeah. I think one thing which is, has a huge influence nowadays is software. And I think the most difficult thing is to produce a car, which still feels natural that you drive. And yet the software works in its way to assist you because what happens mostly is you have a software that works very well and you have to drive to the software, but then it's not natural. So that's the, the constant struggle nowadays to, well, how can I rely on my feeling and make the software work, you know, with break bias migration, a bit more front rear TC, uh, torque vectoring, okay. It's not allowed anymore, but you have all these things. And, and uh, I think that's again where it comes in with the simulator, you know, the young guns, which just do simulate driving, they just drive according to the software and this developing in that way, you can see it's going more that direction, but the big struggle or the big difficulties, how do you keep it natural so that you can rely on your senses? And, uh, this is a, the big story right now, I would say. Yeah, Speaker 0 00:19:30 Yeah. I mean, when you get back, ours was quite crude. It was very basic. I mean, I don't think they're any more intelligent than we were or there, or I am was ever necessarily better than him or he better than me. We were just bloody good at what we did. And he adapted to the way he's had to go. And I had to adapt the way we were given. And that was it. I always say, you know, for any of these young guys or put Louis Hamilton, you know, in Fios Mercedes, and he would've been good, let's say use him as an example for this. Because if you're a racer, you're a racer. I know we're talking about the balance of the car and all that. That's a hell of a lot they've had to learn. And I'm not sure that I want, I want to do that. Speaker 0 00:20:11 I just wanted to get out and race. And I swear, that's what they, they want to. And I remember David, Kard saying to me, one day, the only time we can really enjoy it is when the flag drops and we off we go, cuz it's up to us then. And you know, they can't tell us anything from the pits anymore. We're on our own going for it. And I that's and I thought, well, I'd admire them for that. Well, what a pain in the ass, cuz we, we, we never had to worry about the technology side. They set the car up, told us that. I mean we would change the handling of the car, of course. Yeah. But you know, when it came to mixtures and all the different, uh, items you're talking about, we didn't have to worry. And I, in a way he's grown up with it, that it is part of his, his, his body now. So he's used to it. He's never thought if he looks at it like Wes Mako, they're lazy busts in those days. Cause they Speaker 5 00:20:57 Have to, well actually I have a good story there. Um, because you call it that the technology you guys had crew, it was a very simple crude, but actually, you know, we, we ran the solitude for the Porsche museum. Yeah. I ran the 62 formula one car from Speaker 0 00:21:13 Porsche. Oh yes. Speaker 5 00:21:14 And uh, the museum told us, uh, that actually they can't use the young drivers anymore nowadays because they don't know how to stick with the peers and everything. So for them it's not simple technology for them in nowadays. It's hard, difficult technology. Yes. Because you don't need to learn. So I still learned it from the very old days when I drove RO cars, but I I'm just in the middle. So they said like, yeah, you are you. And, and we were one of the last ones to be able to drive those cars. Yeah. It's, it's just interesting how this yeah. Speaker 0 00:21:47 Yes. I understand. I think that's, it's such a good point cuz often people say to me, thank God we got you driving the car this weekend, Derek cuz you know how to shift gear. Yeah. You can't believe it. Can you and you go really? You assume everybody can, you know, I've got two sons and one's 22 now. And you know, he, he, he couldn't wait to get to learn to drive manual because he knew he had to because he wants to be able to drive everything at any time, not racing any particularly, but just driving. Yeah. And I think it's such an asset. Speaker 4 00:22:15 Well, and it's amazing, you know, I've spoken to a number of other, you know, professional drives in a lot of motoring enthusiasts and they go from, you know, a 62, 2 liter short wheel based nine 11, and then they go to a brand new GT, three RS or something. Yes. And it's totally different, you know, there's no real comparison between the two, you know, totally different mindset to thinking and how you drive. Okay. There's some, some fundamentals underneath, but there, you know, chalk and cheese really mm-hmm so big, big changes. Uh, Speaker 5 00:22:40 That's why I would say it's not simple technology really. Anyway, it's, it's a point of view. Yes, Speaker 0 00:22:45 Exactly. Speaker 5 00:22:46 I think it's a time, point of view. You can't see, it was more simple because some can't handle it from nowadays what happened than no, no. Yeah. Speaker 4 00:22:53 And you know, when you look at a car like the, the nine 17, you know, with huge horsepower, you know, ultra lightweight, you know, clearly that's, that's a tricky thing to drive, but so as a 9 1 9 Speaker 0 00:23:03 <laugh> no, we know that. Well the tur I drove the, the Canam car too. That was quite a monster. I remember tur. Yeah. I drove it at Goodwood up the hill at Goodwood. I did rid at we up soon after we'd won from the clouds in eighties. Was Speaker 5 00:23:17 That the Brunos one? Speaker 0 00:23:18 Yeah. I just drove the one from the factory. Okay. Which is identical anyway, pretty much. And I, so I, we went to, uh, to Goodwood and I remember came after my first run. Every time I accelerated, um, I got, I got clutch slip, you know? And um, I came back down to Peter Phelp cuz it's only four gears on the bottom, Peter Phelp. And I said, oh, I said, Christ, Peter. I said, think you're gonna have to, uh, you know, do something about, you know, about the, uh, clutch. Cause I it's slipping every time I accelerate, he said, no, that's not clutch. He said that's, that's uh, that's wheels full. And I was going up the hill and every time I checked, my and the wheels are just spin and I thought it was clutch slip. <laugh> unbelievable. Isn't it amazing. Speaker 4 00:23:58 Yeah. Speaker 0 00:23:59 Amazing. Yeah. Speaker 4 00:24:00 Yeah. Thousand plus horsepower or something in Speaker 0 00:24:02 Falls, 1300 if you needed it. But I only drove it with a, I say only with a thousand and I think they've probably cut it back a bit from that, but that was so you've driven it. Speaker 5 00:24:11 I have not driven the, the Bromo one I've driven. Um, Speaker 0 00:24:15 The one Speaker 5 00:24:16 Jackie X, the, the jewel Speaker 0 00:24:20 Car. Oh that Speaker 4 00:24:20 Was the 9 35. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:24:22 I think you right car. We won with that. Yeah, Speaker 5 00:24:24 Exactly. It was the winning car because that had a huge tour Speaker 0 00:24:26 There. Yeah, that's right. He did well, they did. And then he goes, yeah, but we, yes, it's strange that we did. But of course then we went to the nine, six. I mean that actually that car was what became a 9 62 engine and that car was sitting in the museum. Uh, and at the end, when it came to that year, which is 1982, um, who Peter Schutz, the president American guy, president of Porsche, can you believe he said, what are we gonna run at the mark this year? And they said, well, last year we drove the 9 24 career GTS or GTR that I drove, we had three cars there and they said, we've got nothing to drive yet. Cause of the new rules coming out, which was the 9, 6, 2 coming out. And he said, but we must have a car to win the race somewhere. Speaker 0 00:25:07 They said, well, we have the 9 36 in the museum. And he, he said, but the engines really not up to it anymore. So they went, they were walking apparently stories around the museum and Peter Schutz. They were in the engine department and he said, what's that there? Then they said, that's the engine that we built for, um, indie. So he said, well, can't we just run that in the car, but make it run on fuel rather than methanol. So they put it in the car, we took it Tomar and we won them up. And that's the car you drove. You see? Yeah. But you still had lag. Yeah. Yeah. But just, but it wasn't obviously it wasn't twin Toba, but it long Speaker 5 00:25:42 For a ski also. Speaker 0 00:25:43 Yeah. Long for a ski, but it was, uh, it was a heck of a heck of a project, you know, and that was the beginning of the 9 6 2 era really? Or 9, 5 6. Speaker 4 00:25:52 I mean that, that's an amazing topic to touch on, uh, you know, this development from the 9 35 to the 9 36. Yes. And then obviously the 9, 6 2. Yes. Um, you know, Derek, obviously you've driven all of these kind of legends from Porsche motor sport and nearly sounds like you've had a go and all of them, you know, where, how do you benchmark them? How do you compare them? Is there any, which are particular favorites for you? Speaker 0 00:26:13 Um, I mean, all I'd tell you was a 9 35 and I dunno if you really drove a hot one, but I mean, those things used to make your hair curl. I mean, you get in it. And I used to get in that nine three, which is the nine 11 looking car you used to get in it. And we had, I mean, I drove with John. I drove right at the very end of that era. So the car was perfected as far as being quick and every respect, it was K basically Kramer did the modific. They were called a K four, I think, or maybe more than that. And they had so much power, but I mean, I used to get in it. You had the gear lever was up almost by your shoulder like this and you'd get in the car, start the engine up. Speaker 0 00:26:49 And I would say, normally it's you or me today? It's me. And I just fucking, I stick it in the first gear and just broke off you go. And you come to the corner, says massive wheels on the back and you, its gonna push like, hell. So you turn in the corner and you're waiting, come on power, come on power like this, you and then nothing, any pushes. And you had to tan it absolutely perfectly so that the power came on when they all spun, they spun out and you grabbed the line out the corner, but what an animal, that was the real animal of the Porsches in my opinion. But it was, it was a perfect animal. You know, you knew what it was, you attacked it. And it was, it was a real man's car. So if you ever get the chance to, you know, okay, flex your muscles and get in and grin it and drive it, it's magnificent actually. Speaker 5 00:27:32 Okay. Speaker 4 00:27:34 And knew any for you. I mean, you know, obviously your, your career is dominated by the moderny, you know, the 9 1 9, which has become yeah. An equal legend in the Porsche history, but then, you know, the RSRs of today, which are just amazing pieces of engineering. Yeah. Anything there or anything from the past that really, you know, speaks to you, Speaker 5 00:27:51 I've driven all the old ones. So nine, 17, uh, obviously the, the jewels car, uh, and, but I've never pushed them hard, you know? So it's, it's hard to compare to when you drive on the limit I think, and, and driving just for exhibition a bit around. Um, but in that terms for me, for sure, it's the nine 19, because I had, I had the poll positions here, two in a row, the lap record I did on that one. Yeah, yeah. Um, yeah, it was for me, that's the I've been in and where I've obviously developed the car from zero up and uh, with a lot of gimmicks and technology also over 1000 horsepower. Yeah, yeah. Four wheel drive. Speaker 0 00:28:33 Yeah. Amazing. Speaker 5 00:28:34 So from that point of view, I think that was really the, the car at the moment, the latest with, with a lot of technology, which we see now in, in the rogue car. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:28:44 And I, I say one thing about what he's saying is that he didn't quite say it, but the fact is to me, I remember being told for qualifying, I had everything I had in the 9 62 and just give it everything you've got and you must have had that at a certain point in qualifying. Yeah. And that this circuit is unbelievable when you're absolutely got everything on the limit, you know, that you can take sort of chances with it because if you stop it, well, we got 24 hours to rebuild it, but it's not the race. You're not letting anybody down. And it it's the most amazing place when you just go out there and it's, it's like you've got a wild animal and it, and it just flows. And even last night I did a lap in a, in one of the RSRs and it, it was just fabulous to drive for me, having not driven here for 15 years, but these corners, they, they, none of them are nasty, not really, maybe a bit flowing, they flow. And that's what you wanted. They keep building these tracks with these corners that tighten up this track is still flows, I reckon. And that's what makes the beauty of it. Speaker 4 00:29:44 And I wonder if there's an element of the fact that, you know, due to the fact that you've, you've both raised here over the 24 hour period, you know, you've put in so many laps over and over and over again, you become so familiar and you know, there's not many serious corners on the track that you can really, you know, uh, embrace it and, you know, get close to it and fill this flow and this rhythm. Yeah. Um, you know, I, I, I have the utmost respect for both of you because, you know, I imagine this, you know, driving through the night, you know, you're thundering down, Moza, you know, full throttle, uh, you know, what does it really feel like? You know, what's this, what's this emotion when you're sitting there in the cockpit by yourself, you know, uh, just, just in this, in this moment, enjoying it, Derek, I mean, was there, Speaker 0 00:30:21 Yeah. Look at me first, but you don't have to, but I'm sure the thing is we used to have, it is, you know, without the chicanes and it had a different atmosphere, because I remember when we used to drive into the track on a Monday, you know, whenever you came in, drive into the town for the plaster of public, for the SCT, which you no doubt had at early stages for you and you drive in there and you drove that bloody tunnel coming into under the cathedral and, and sudden you're going, I'm gonna be driving into the unknown tomorrow afternoon because you knew that nobody, every time I drove, it was a, a newer car than had been the year before or better car. And you are gonna be doing something nobody else ever done. I know your teammates are doing it too, but you individually are gonna do it. Speaker 0 00:31:01 And this track has that uniqueness. That to me, no other track has in the world because you've never done it as often. And, um, you know, you'd, you'd get onto that track and out, you'd go and you'd, you have so much respect for it, cuz it is so fast. And I think that's, that's the amazing thing about it. It's purely the speed and having the car that will do it. And because of Porsche, they've done it. So for donkey's years, you know, as we say in English and so they know all the answers, they know absolutely everything about it and what to do, whether it was the 9 1 7 in my first time. And Norbit said to me that after qu after test weekend and he would drive walking across the paddock and he said, Hey young, he said, how many river you're pulling on your last run today? Speaker 0 00:31:43 And I said, eight one. And he said, ah, that is good. Cuz at eight two, she blows up <laugh> I thought this is German technology just taken to that limit. You know, they're unbelievable. Yeah. And then he started to laugh and he had a slide rule cause he didn't have computers. I mean talk about the shit you have <laugh> we didn't, we didn't have, he didn't, he didn't have a computer, he had a slide rule and he's working it out, walking across the paddock and um, and he, and he, and he started to laugh. I said, what you're laughing about? He said, I just calculated your top speed. So I said, what is it? He said, I think it better. You don't know. And I said, look, if we gotta drive this thing for 24 hours, it really is nice to know. It's just a nice thing to know. And he said, well, three allow for tire growth. That's 396 kilometers. I went, geez, bloody Whis Speaker 5 00:32:27 Said he didn't put a G in. So you didn't know how work you go. They just gave you the reps. Speaker 0 00:32:33 <laugh> unbelievable. Yeah. And that was their way Porsche did it. And I mean, it never let us down. I mean, you know, we never had accents as such Speaker 4 00:32:42 And Neil from your side, you know what what's that sensation like, you know, blasting through the night, all on your own in the cockpit. Speaker 5 00:32:49 I, I think in, in one way, it's two different things. You know, qualifying is obviously not that important for the race, but yet it's still important. It's just a thing because it's the moment as Derek before said, you get new tires, low fuel, full power, it's everything, and you have to go for it. You can take every curb, you go for it. So, you know, also that around this track, even nowadays, uh, you go for it, it means taking risks, which you have to take. There is no quick lap around LA mall without the risk. And uh, and for me still the moment, uh, in 2015, when, at my first poll with the nine 19 at that lap record, I remembered, I said, okay, 10 o'clock qualifying starts. You go out first one set of tires, one run. Speaker 0 00:33:39 Yeah. Speaker 5 00:33:40 All cars line up the Audis, Toyotas, all of us. And I knew it's now or never. And it was, it should be a front row for Porsche first time with the nine 19. That was the aim. And, and you know, just that pressure build up and you the kind of excitement. Yeah. But you also know it's turn one Dunlop. It needs to stick. And when you come out of that corner, mm-hmm, <affirmative> you start off a qu lap. Right? Good. In turn one, you know, it's gonna go mm-hmm <affirmative> you start it off. That it's just, it already all falls apart. Speaker 0 00:34:11 It's a long way around <laugh>. Yeah. Speaker 5 00:34:13 And, and for me that moment then, okay. That all worked out and then leaving the track. I had that one song was on the radio. I still hear that song. It puts me right back in that time. That feeling of how I felt right then. Yeah. Yeah. And, and I think that's what makes LA more special. You relate with either a song or something. It just puts you back. Yeah. In the moment of that tension, fear is the wrong word. Yeah. But respect of the moment. Yeah. And yeah. And everything, Speaker 0 00:34:44 It's the only place you have that there's no other track. I didn't, you might, I don't there's any other track, I'm sorry if I'm busting in, but I, I didn't actually, I totally answer your question about driving in the night. I'll very quickly do it cuz we didn't have the cans as you know, so we were one minute full throttle and one minute's a long time flat to the floor in fifth gear. And um, I remember you were droning down that straight and he goes on and on and on and on. You need to look at an incar in a big screen to sort of really visual. You've done it. But with that, with the cans, which is no ways pity. Cause if you did it flat, there's something about it at night and you suddenly find how close you are to this car. You're sitting in it in front of you with a control course. Speaker 0 00:35:24 In our case, we could read things. <laugh> there, weren't lights telling us and you just look at it. You know, the water temperatures were the same on both sides of the engine oil pressure was consistent. Everything was just burned. You know, you know, just going up and down a hundred ribs as you went along and this sound all the way up there and, and, and an incredible eerie sensation of loneliness yet a man on his own. Exactly. It was like climbing to the bloody stars. Yeah. I mean, it was absolutely incredible cuz you're sitting in the shell. Yeah. And there you are. And it's actually silent except for the wine of the engine. It's amazing experience. But we had it for a whole minute, you know, and it that's a long time to, it's not just like up there and down it, this went on, it was magic. Speaker 5 00:36:06 It's true. About that night driving. I still get that uh, extinct tur Rouge towards the first she came. Yeah, Speaker 0 00:36:13 Sure. Speaker 5 00:36:14 And you're there at night and there's no car in front or the back or you just see them exiting the yeah. The next the other, she came, you see the tail lights, someone far away at the back. You no one photographers flashing. Yeah. Yeah. Uh that's. It gives you that feeling of loneliness at some stage, but in a, in a positive way. Speaker 0 00:36:33 Yeah. Speaker 5 00:36:33 In, in a calming way, Speaker 0 00:36:35 It's almost romantic. It's a strange thing. Calming way. You really feel part of that car. That car is you and it's and basically it's keeping you alive. It's amazing. You know, you're part of the car you're in it. You're holding it. It's just wonderful. Speaker 4 00:36:48 I mean, both of you have spoken about, you know, the qualifications spec thing, I find fascinating, but we've probably got not got much time to dig into it, but I think, you know, this understanding of risk and this calculation of risk. Yeah. You know, you guys are clearly masters at it because you know, to make your way through a, the qualification and hitting every apex and doing what you've gotta do, but then to survive these long stints at Lamar. Yeah. You know, how, how do you balance this idea of risk and how do you make the decisions? And I mean, you know, obviously Derek, you, you know, if you're in a nine 17 or something with virtually, nothing is separating you from the outside world, it's one thing. But you know, near, when you're in a 9 1, 9 Evo with all this power underneath you and you know, the risk that you're gonna hit a slower car, uh, you know, how, how do you do those calculations and how do you make those assessments in, in the heat at the moment, Neil, if you wanna start with this one, Speaker 5 00:37:35 I was talking with Derek before, uh, we said at his time, uh, Motorsport was dangerous and uh, sex was safe, you know, <laugh> and uh, we asked this the other way around. So in a way, you know, we, we have this for sure. Great technology for safety and so on. So small crashes don't hurt really. But we do know when, when you go off with our car, because you're so quick yeah. In the Porsches or ter Rouge, it's not necessarily that you will, uh, break a leg, but it's a G force. Yeah. It's a G force that you worry from because you know, the hit can just knock everything out of Speaker 4 00:38:12 You, concussions and Speaker 5 00:38:14 Yeah, yeah. And a lot more and you can't breed. First moment you hit, then that that's the worst feeling when you can't breed. Uh, you know, it's all these things that come together. But nevertheless, you don't think of that because of course, yeah. Racing in the end. It's it's, for me, it's a calculated risk. Speaker 0 00:38:33 Exactly. I use that term all Speaker 5 00:38:34 Time. If, if you take risk, uh, full a hundred percent risk, you can do it once or twice, but it will not last long. Even nowadays I think it's about this calculated risk. Yeah. And I think that's where you will find the good and the bad drivers at LA mall because there's many drivers who can be quick, but there's not everyone who can be exactly on this edge, knives edge without falling over. We Speaker 0 00:39:00 Don't know the limit, Speaker 5 00:39:00 Do they? Exactly. And, uh, you and I think that is where very excited correctly also is in endurance racing. The one which are good. They're just good on that edge. You know, overtaking cars, not taking too much risk. Sometimes give up a second, wait. Yeah. And then go, Speaker 0 00:39:21 Well, it, it is great for me to hear you say that. Cause the one thing that's worried me about this modern era is they don't wait very much. And I used to, I mean, times you've mentioned how many times we caught cars. Well, there was a bigger speed differential in my day. I'm sure. But you catch a car going into, well, shit, let's say Porsche curves, for example, it's not always easy to get around somebody there cuz you're coming up so fast, but I would time it so I could pick them up between a corner I'd rather than jump inside them, screw my line up and my time and screw his time. It's better to back off, lose half a second, but go buy him and then make it up again, you know, coming out. Um, and I've always felt that. And I I've watched quite a bit, quite a lot of their racing and I always, there was, they guys are getting a bit desperate and to me there's almost been too much into team fighting. Speaker 0 00:40:10 Now I haven't noticed it at Porsche, but I noticed it with another, uh, one of the companies and I thought, why do they battle so much between cars? We're in a team? I mean, if I had done that night day and punched one of my teammates off John, why would've thrown the keys away and said outta here, you know, don't bother to come back. One of my teammates, Mike Haywood had an insulin in the rain. And when he eventually got back on the back of a motorbike, John wife stood and looked to him and he said, hello, Mike, don't call us. We'll call you. <laugh>. In other words, when we're ready for you to come back in five years, time, we'll call you. You know? And that's the sort of, it was like a headmaster. The other thing I must say, cuz I'm sure we've got to go. Speaker 0 00:40:49 Um, is the fact that he was talking about the curbs you see now I, from what I recollect, we could not hit curbs. And I wouldn't, I, I think in some cases they might have been higher, but I certainly know we dare not hit curbs. And you know, I remember nor but singer saying don't hit the curbs. So everything we did had to be between those flanges across the road. And I see them, I've seen a picture just somewhere magazine this morning cars got all four wheels bouncing off a curb and the times I've seen I'm going shit. We could never do that. Yeah. Speaker 5 00:41:22 It's a lot of lap time in there. <laugh> yeah. Speaker 0 00:41:24 Well Speaker 5 00:41:25 Of course, you know, curb riding nowadays, you do it properly. It's one and a half, two seconds Speaker 0 00:41:30 Later. Yeah. That's amazing. Speaker 5 00:41:31 And the thing is always with the curb, you either hit it full or not. If you hit it halfway, it will throw you off. Yeah. And that's the thing, that's why we say qualifying is a full commitment lab. What's on the curb. Yeah. In a race you could not hit them flat out like that, uh, all the time because you know, it will go wrong at some stage Speaker 4 00:41:52 <laugh>, but I guess that's, uh, you know, a product of this, you know, modern safety era where the curves have become a bit flatter and less slippery and you know, you've got a bit more track to play with. So, uh, you know, different eras Speaker 5 00:42:03 For different, better, better suspensions and, and data to see if you have a problem that could break the car nowadays, we don't have to wait until it breaks. We can see it already. Tanko sensors. Well, Speaker 4 00:42:13 Yeah. I mean, you know, we've, there you go. We've spoken about computers a lot, but you know, with, you know, modern, you know, CAD design and fi finite element analysis, you know, it's a bit different from your slider. Exactly. Calculating top speed. So I, I mean, one thing, you know, we've got a bit of time for a few more questions, but I think one thing I really wanna touch on is we're, you know, good friends with, uh, good friends with Porsche here and we're in the garage with them. You know, let's just finish up on the note of, you know, Derek, you've driven for a couple of teams, but you know, what do you think makes Porsche so successful here with so many, uh, so many overall wins at Lamar? You know, what is it? Is it the preparation? Is it the relationship with the drivers? Is it the engineering? Speaker 0 00:42:50 It's the total commitment to Motorsport? So many people come in, they come in for five years, three years and then duck out and they sort of think they've got their bit of glory. They come in and basically screw up the future for a while, with way out cars, way out technologies and then clear off and leave us tidy up the dirt. And Porsche have always been there. And I remember as at one stage or, or put this way, people criticize Porsche. And I say, well, in my era, it hadn't been for Porsche. There've never been sports car racing because the, the, the group see era, they supplied all the cars for the grid. Now, when they built your 9 1 9 S I respect it was a different era. But if Porsche had built more of those and sold them to private teams around the world, um, they could have kept it going per years. Speaker 0 00:43:41 But because then, but because one, cause then cause one became so damn good. The other people had to drop out and I think that's a pity. But when you were set, I mean, we, there were 20, there'll be 29, 60 twos on the again, and they weren't called Porsche. It was called the learn brown call, the Rothman's car, the, the Richard Lloyd car. Yeah. Walter B car Walter to bro car, you know, and the years cut. I mean all these different Porsche, but they didn't always use the word Porsche. I Porsche might say, well, we're not interested in that. Our name's out there, but Porsche got their, their coverage. So every damn poster was about a Porsche cut. Um, but they supported sports cars to such a whole, and they have to be, you know, celebrated for what they've done for racing. And even if they weren't at the highest level, they were at the low level with GTS and they've always supplied. And I go, if you hadn't been for Porsche, there wouldn't be any Dudy sports car race would all be racing mgs <laugh> Speaker 5 00:44:34 Yeah. They have a great history cuz that's there's this famous advert. Yes, nobody's perfect. They have like the top 10, except one is not a P shirt. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:44:44 I got my T shout out the other day. Fabulous red t-shirt and I was gonna wear, I can't wear it. I don't wear those sort of shirt, but I literally got it out at home just last week, unfolded a Porsche. Oh my God. That wonderful. Speaker 5 00:44:56 And I think that's, that's actually, even for non Porsche fans, you know, someone who supports another brand or the, even for them, that's an iconic t-shirt or an iconic thing. And it's, it goes beyond the brand. There mm-hmm exactly. It goes for what we love in racing, Lama and so on. And I think that's, that's the bigger picture in the end. We are all here for the same love. Speaker 4 00:45:18 And you think of this seriousness of all the preparation that Porsche put into win overall, and then you get this great, you know, German joke in a sense of this. Nobody's perfect. You know, it's such a, a wonderful piece of the history. Um, I guess we've, we've gotta get pretty close to wrapping up, but you know, obviously we are, we are looking towards the future now, you know, we have electrification, we have the hyper car class coming, uh, you know, do you guys have a bit of perspective on, on where you see the future going and, and, you know, are you optimistic for how, how Motorsport's developing, uh, long term Neil, if you wanna chime it. Speaker 5 00:45:48 I see it, uh, very positive now, uh, with these new rules L MDH coming, um, for endurance racing, uh, first of all, they're building the quickest cars off the field so that customers can buy them again-hmm and can actually run them because the 9 1 9 for example, is so complicated, it's impossible for a non-factory team to run it. And, uh, but there's Ferrari is joining again. You know, BMW is coming. Audi is joining perio. Is there Toyota? Is there so many brands all going for outright victory at Lamar? And you know, when have you seen that last time? I think Derek was there Speaker 0 00:46:28 Probably not even in our era, but there was a lot of it, but I mean, no, I agree with you. I think it, you have to look to the suit of the future in a big, big way. Not just little way. I'm sort of personally, I'm not the greatest electoral person. He is obviously after winning championships, but I, the reason I love formula E is the fact it's given these guys who didn't have a decent drive for two or three years to get out there and keep their, their racing going. And look, there's more than you, the other chaps out there. And it always felt, you know, it's such a devil when you've been right at the top of your racing here three or four years, and suddenly it stopped that the rules change and they stop, but fortunately formulary was there to help them and whatever you, if it's any criticism, I haven't got it for formulary. I'm not a great electrical person. I just love the smell of a, of a ordinary engine and a sound of a B12 10,000 ribs. We all love it Speaker 5 00:47:16 Though. Speaker 0 00:47:17 Yeah. Yeah. And so you can't get away from it, you know? Uh, but I realized I'm in the old school and that's all I really knew. And I've been driving an electric car. Uh, I drove it to Goodwood the other day and it's an interesting experience, you know, with a thousand horsepower and all that stuff. It was pretty undrivable, but anyway, um, but it's, uh, it was an experience, but, and I guess the future's there. I, what I can't quite get to grips is that there's no, there's no shift in gear. Yeah. You know, I mean, I, twice I felt like vomiting when I first drove it once, the first time up straight, the second time up the hill at Goodwood and I put my foot down it, Speaker 5 00:47:51 I think, I think there is you have to like differentiate nowadays. I think there is like driving from a to B. Yes. How do you wanna get from a to B and you just get transported and what's emotion. When do you want some emotion to drive? Like, let's say I'm driving from Switzerland to Lamar all on the motorway. I wanna get a to B. Yeah. Okay. I don't care what it is, but I'm like driving somewhere with a bit of motion that's and it's not yeah. In the up, and it's not about speed. Sure. It's about you take a five 50 spider. You just drive 50, 60 K from the fifties, the car it's just pure emotion. Yeah. And I think that is what's happening now. Uh, that it just differentiates what is show fun emotion and what is just getting from a to B. Yeah. Yeah. And I think, uh, that technology is coming and, and now racing is finding its part its way. What is show and what is relevant maybe for the car from a to B. Yeah. And that's why I think Mosport will have an interesting future. And I think, uh, also still a good future. Yeah. Yeah. Speaker 4 00:48:56 I, I think or both. Right. You know, they're fantastic complimentary forces, you know, things like the take and for putting on the cruise control and hitting the, uh, the auto route. And then of course this great smell of, uh, you know, oil and petrol and, you know, high RPM engines that are about to blow up because they've been so highly tuned, you know, on the Motorsport circuit. So, you know, I think we are, we're really fortunate for the era that we are in right now. Yeah, absolutely. Um, so I think we, we can wrap it up now. So I just wanna say, you know, thank you to both of you, you know, it's been a great honor and a privilege for me to, to, to share this conversation with you live in Porsche's garage, uh, at Lamore. And, uh, thank you everyone for tuning in. And, uh, we're looking forward to you, us joining for the next episode of the edge in the near future. Speaker 5 00:49:36 Thank you. Speaker 2 00:49:42 Thank you for joining us at the edge. A podcast by tag Hoya. Don't forget to subscribe on Spotify, iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. The edge is also an online magazine. Go to magazine dot tag, hoya.com for more articles, interviews, and photo series that bring together our love of watches and our desire to push ourselves to the edge of our limits. I'm your host te van and BRCA until next time, keep an eye out. This is the edge.

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