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Justin Bell – Social Climber

Justin Bell in the pits at Sebring. [Photo by Jack Webster]

Justin Bell in the pits at Sebring. [Photo by Jack Webster]

by Jack Webster & Eddie LePine

Justin Bell, son of Le Mans legend Derek Bell, started racing in 1988 and had a pretty good career behind the wheel. He won the 1997 FIA GT2 Championship, had a couple of SCCA TransAm victories, won class at Le Mans in 1998 driving for Viper Team Oreca, followed that up with a second in class at Le Mans again for Viper in 1999 and in 2000 drove for the factory Corvette team with second place finishes at Daytona and Petit Le Mans.

All the while, Justin was perfecting his television skills, doing TV work for various outlets around the world, developing his unique, entertaining and well informed style, which has made him one of the most popular motorsports commentators on television.

As Justin told us: “I talk faster than I drive.”

We don’t know about that, for he was a pretty fast driver, but there is no doubt about the fast talking part. He is one of the best we have seen.

That fact has put him on the leading edge of motorsports coverage going into the future. Not only is Justin Bell doing very interesting and entertaining reporting for Fox Sports on IMSA and Le Mans broadcasts, he is a firm believer in the power of social media as well.

Like just about everyone, we thoroughly enjoy Justin’s features on Fox – in particular his walkabouts at Le Mans.

In addition to his Fox broadcasts, we also follow Justin on his live Facebook broadcasts and one of his most recent – a tour of the television compound at the 24 Hours of Le Mans – was vintage Justin Bell. It was informative and very entertaining. Justin has a down to earth style that really connects to his audience. You feel like he is talking to just you.

As Justin told us when we sat down at Watkins Glen (Justin is always on the move, so you have to be persistent); “When it comes to building an audience, you have to be consistent, you have to be engaging. You have to let go of your preconceived notions of that if you do A and B, C is going to happen.”

Justin continued: “Too many people go corporate mode, and social media does not obey those rules. I spend a lot of time doing that (social media) and it’s a commitment.” Justin sees the importance of attracting younger fans to motorsport as well. “We need the young guys to get involved in our sport. Video games are driving new customers to racing. Connecting the dots between the online virtual racing world and the real world is the most important thing there is. Getting the car manufacturers and the series’ to encourage the young kids to come in is vital.”

Justin Bell is obviously on to something, because he is one of the most popular guys in the paddock. He cannot walk ten feet without being stopped by fans that compliment him on his Fox Sports work or his Facebook appearances.

You can learn more about Justin Bell on his website: justinbell.com

His homepage sums him up pretty well: Racer, Lover of Life, Entertainer, Host.

That pretty much says it all. We’re sure you will see Justin on Fox Sports or social media soon.

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Eddie LePine & Jack Webster
Jack Webster has been shooting motorsports since the early 1970's, covering Formula One, CanAm, F5000, TransAm, GrandAm and American Le Mans races, among others. In addition to his photography, he has also worked on racing teams, both in IMSA and IndyCar, so has a complete knowledge of the inner workings of motorsport. Both his photography and writing can be seen here on racingnation.com. Eddie LePine has been involved in motorsports for over 30 years as photographer, columnist, and driver. Eddie also is now a retired racer (well, retired unless a good ride pops up). You can usually find Eddie in the paddock area, deep in conversation with a driver.
Eddie LePine & Jack Webster

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