He raced in Formula One and the Indianapolis 500. His professional racing career spanned 19 years. His experiences are nothing short of breathtaking. His story is one that precious few have lived to tell.
Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland to a middle class working family, Derek’s career path was set at the age of twelve when he attended his first auto race. On the way to his dream, he worked as a laborer in the iron ore mines of Australia. While traveling the race tracks of England, even took up residence in a converted school bus.
He won Irish, British and European championships. In 1978, he made a stunning Formula One debut, taking the lead on the very first lap. Just two short years later Derek was ranked 10th in the world. In 1983 he made his first of six starts in the Indianapolis 500.
In 1984, Derek was almost killed when he hit the wall at Michigan International Speedway at 212 MPH. After fourteen surgeries and three years in therapy, he returned to full-time racing. He competed in the 12 Hours of Sebring - one of the premier motorsport endurance races in the US – and won the race two years in a row.
He has seen tragedy and success stand side by side, but most of all, he witnessed first hand, exacting human performance out on the edges of what might be possible. He has spent just about his entire life in the colorful, glamorous success oriented sport of motor racing, where the small details make the big things possible. His stories are breathtaking.