JUSTIN BELL BEGINS NEW ERA AT VIR
Set on Winning Event That Bears His Name
Delray Beach, FL - 10/23 - Justin Bell rejoins the Trans-Am Series action during
the season finale, the VIR SpeedFest, Presented by the Justin Bell GT
Motorsports Experience at Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Va. The race
will be broadcast live on Speed Channel, Sunday, Oct 27 at 1 p.m. ET.
Justin will be back in his familiar orange and blue #40 Xtreme Lens/Derhaag
Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette. The 2001 Ameri-Suites Rookie of the Year is
determined to conquer his named raced and end this year season in the same
fashion as he did in 2001; victoriously.
"This season has been so messy for both Jim Derhaag and myself that we want
to end on a high note," said Bell. "We have done as much as we can
with what we had. Second place on my home turf in Miami was great and to follow
it with a win at VIR would be a huge boost to all of our somewhat damaged
emotions at the team. I have to thank Jim for all his support this year. He
deserves all the credit for anything we may pull off this weekend."
The 2002 Trans-Am Series racing season began with such promise for Justin Bell.
However, sponsorship struggles and mechanical problems have plagued his
sophomore year. Bell rebounded with a second place finish during the Grand Prix
of the Americas. His only other 2002 podium was at Mosport. In 2001, Bell won
the final two Trans-Am Series races and nearly made history when he challenged
for the win during the first 2002 race at Long Beach.
Justin Bell is the managing partner of the Justin Bell GT Motorsports
Experience, founded in January 2001. The Chevrolet driving school is based in
Florida. Bell will host a school Oct. 28-31 at VIR. It marks the first three-day
Justin Bell GT school program to be held at the historic track. Justin views the
pairing of the event and the school as a natural fit.
"The Justin Bell GT Motorsports Experience has been involved with this race
since it was announced at the start of the year. We have a great working
relationship with VIR and so we are very excited about having our name on the
door. The three days after the race is when we are holding our first ever VIR
Three day race school and the response has been fantastic. We are sold out and
it is a good indicator that we will be doing more business up here!"
Virginia International Raceway first operated from 1957 through '74, then was
dormant for 26 years before reopening for the 2000 racing season. Bell feels
that the 3.27-mile, 17-turn road course at VIR, which features 130 feet of
elevation changes, will be an enjoyable challenge for both the competitors and
"I think all the drivers have been looking forward to this final race of
the season at VIR. In some ways we have no idea what to expect of the upgraded
track, but we do know that it will provide some of the most demanding driving we
have seen all year"
Justin Bell nurtured and developed his passion for speed and competitive racing
from an early age which, combined with the added encouragement of his World
Champion father, Derek Bell, allowed him to carve his own place in history.
Since beginning his career in 1988, Justin has achieved many major racing
accomplishments including his winning of the 1998 Le Mans GT2 race and the 1997
FIA GT2 World Championship.
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BELL BACK WITH A BANG
Justin Returns to Trans-Am on Podium in Miami
Miami, FL - 10/6 - After an extended absence from the 2002 Trans-Am Series
season, Justin Bell reasserted his status as a front-runner during the Grand
Prix of the Americas, Oct 6. Bell finished 2nd in the #40 Justin Bell GT
Experience / Xtreme Lens Chevrolet Corvette on the slippery and confining Miami
The Trans-Am qualifying session was rained out. The gird order was determined by
the current driver’s championship point standings. Since Justin has been
sidelined for three races due to insufficient sponsorship, his absence from the
season cost him on the grid. Justin started from 13th. However, he was able to
move up through the field quickly. Bell, a south Florida resident, was extremely
satisfied with his showing in front of the home crowd.
“After having to watch the last three races on Speed Channel, it was good to
get back in the car,” said Bell. “It’s quite satisfying since not having
driven for a while. Everyone was really happy. I just wish I had a bit more to
give to Boris. It was all we had left really. At the end, I was hoping two cars
were going to fall out instead of just the one.”
Team owner Jim Derhaag is not surprised with the results. He feels, like many
others, that a street circuit suits Bell’s driving style.
“He is very very precise and very consistent,” said Derhaag. “He makes few
Jim admits he made an educated guess for set-up, but feels their flawless pit
stop made all the difference.
“We did ace that one. The strategy was perfect and the guys were perfect. You
think about all the street circuits you’ve ever run, and then you take your
best stab at it. After the first session, I made some adjustments to the tire
pressures and the shocks, but for the race, the gears were the same ones as I
had on the car when we rolled it off the trailer.”
The Miami street race had a “déjà vu all over again” feeling for many.
Bell, Said and Gentilozzi were embroiled in a battle for position in Miami much
like the start of the season at Long Beach. There, the final lap became one of
the closest and most celebrated in Trans-Am Series history when the lead changed
four times between the three drivers. Similar to Long Beach, Bell had an
extended absence from the race car before Miami. Getting back into a car with
very little time to warm up, then finishing 2nd is considered extraordinary.
Bell credits much of their success to Jim Derhaag’s 27 years of Trans-AM
Bell will contest the final round of the Trans-Am Series for the BF Goodrich Cup
at Virginia International Raceway on Oct 27, 2002 during the VIR Speedfest
Presented by the Justin Bell GT Motorsports Experience. Justin Bell is the
Trans-Am Series’ 2001 AmeriSuites Rookie-of-the-Year. Bell won the final two
races of the 2001 season in the Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette. A
class-winner at Le Mans and FIA GT2 Champion, Justin is the managing partner of
the Justin Bell GT Motorsports Experience, a Chevrolet Driving school.
Caroline B. Wright
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