Porsche has unveiled a triptych of new special-edition 911s celebrating three British racing drivers who have taken Porsche to the top step of the podium at the Le Mans 24 Hours. The British Legends series honours Richard Attwood, Nick Tandy and Derek Bell.
British Legends: Richard Attwood
Richard Attwood helped claim Porsche’s first Le Mans victory in 1970. Driving a theoretically outdated 4.5-litre 917 in the Porsche family colours of Salzburg Racing, Attwood and partner, Hans Herrmann, outlasted many other competitors including the newer 4.9-litre 917s to reach the finish first. Just sixteen of the original fifty-one starters took the chequered flag.
Herrmann – a Porsche factory driver from the early 1950s – had promised his wife that a Le Mans win would be his last ever race. After the race, he kept his word and retired, much to the surprise of his Salzburg team bosses. Attwood raced another 917 at Le Mans in 1971, finished second and retired at the end of the season. Attwood currently features in a Porsche 928 racing video.
British Legends: Nick Tandy
After a blistering early career in Ministox and single seaters (Formula Ford and F3), Bedford-born rockstar and Porsche tart extraordinaire, Nick Tandy, first blipped on Weissach’s radar with an exceptional Carrera Cup debut at Dijon for Konrad Motorsport in 2009. Despite no testing beforehand, Tandy finished second in this round of the highly competitive Carrera Cup Germany, so Konrad invited him back for the Abu Dhabi race, where he impressed them again and earned himself a full season Carrera Cup drive for 2010.
Tandy went from strength to strength in 2010, narrowly missing the title to Rene Rast, who was insanely quick: the pair were the class of the field. The championship was Tandy’s in 2011, at which stage he shifted to the world stage, ending up in Porsche’s LMP programme and taking his first Le Mans win for Weissach in 2015 alongside Earl Bamber and Nico Hülkenberg. He continues to be a key part of the Porsche works driver squad.
British Legends: Derek Bell
Born in leafy Pinner in 1941, Derek Reginald Bell went on to claim five wins at Le Mans – four of them with Porsche – and remains Britain’s winningest Le Mans racer.
Bell’s first Le Mans 24 was in 1970: the same race won by Richard Attwood in a Porsche 917. Driving alongside Ronnie Peterson in a works Ferrari 512S, the duo was forced to retire from the race, but Bell stayed on afterwards to help his friend Steve McQueen film the classic: “Le Mans”. The 512 used in the film caught fire with Bell in it, and he narrowly escaped with minor burns.
DB’s most memorable successes at La Sarthe came when teamed with Jacky Ickx. The pair claimed victory for Mirage in 1975 and then for Porsche in 1981 and 1982. Bell’s other Porsche Le Mans wins came in 1986 and 1987, alongside Hans Stuck and Al Holbert.
Carrera GTS ‘British Legends’
The ‘British Legends’ 991s are based on 991 Carrera 4 GTS models and come with options including LED headlights, Sport Design body styling and satin-finish mirrors, lots of carbon and a Union Jack badge on each car with the driver’s signature alongside. Porsche says:
“Using the design of the winning race cars as the starting point of each car, joint workshops between Porsche Cars GB and the drivers ensured their passion was built-in to each 911. The ideas were then taken forward by the design team at Style Porsche in Weissach and the craftsmen at Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur in Stuttgart.
“Each British Legends Edition is finished intricately by hand in the new Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur workshop. Special features such as the Satin finish black door mirrors, carbon floor mats with Alcantara edging and a steering column casing in Alcantara make their first appearance on this 911.”
The 911 Carrera 4 GTS British Legends Edition is on sale from 9 October, priced at £122,376 inc VAT for Attwood Red – add an extra £900 for Tandy White or Bell Blue paint. A bargain! Whatever about the cars, there is no doubt that all three drivers are proper Porsche legends so it’s great to see them get the hat tip of a special edition. Watch the video below – it has some nice archive stuff in it: