Born in London on June 10, 1935, Vic Elford was one of the fastest drivers in the highly competitive 1960s and ’70s racing scene. Elford’s lap records include Targa Florio, Nurburgring, Daytona, Sebring, Norisring, Monza, Road Atlanta, Laguna Seca, Riverside, and Le Mans – where he was the first driver to lap at over a 150mph average in the Porsche long-tail 917 in 1970.
Known as “Quick Vic” to friends and competitors, Elford is one of the few drivers to excel in sports cars, rally cars, and Formula 1 at a championship level. His 1968 season began by winning the prestigious Monte Carlo Rally in a Porsche 911, followed by an overall win the next weekend in Daytona at the Rolex 24 Hour race – Porsche’s first 24-Hour race victory. He finished second at the 12 Hours of Sebring a month later, then in May scored an epic victory at the Targa Florio, considered the greatest win in Targa history. Two weeks later Vic won the Nurburgring 1000 Kilometers. Then in his first F1 race in July, Vic took an out-classed Cooper to a stunning fourth-place finish in the soaking-wet French Grand Prix.
Despite beginning the second lap of the ten-lap, 450 mile race more than 18 minutes behind, Vic and co-driver Umberto Maglioli came back to win the 1968 Targa Florio with their Porsche 907 by over a minute. In recognition of his efforts, Porsche dedicated their traditional victory poster not to the car, but to the driver for the first and only time.
Although he raced for Porsche for five years and was the only driver to race every version of the Porsche 917, Elford was one of the most versatile drivers of his or any era. Elford raced in Sports Cars, Rally Cars, Formula 1, Can-Am and the Daytona 500 of NASCAR.
During the 1972 24 Hours of Le Mans, when a Ferrari crashed in front of him, Vic stopped mid-race to try to extricate the driver from his burning car. Television cameras caught the action and Vic was named “Knight of the National Order of Merit” or Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite by French President Georges Pompidou for his act of courage and heroism.
Vic has been a featured guest at all four previous Porsche Rennsport Reunions, and will attend the upcoming Rennsport Reunion V this September 25-27, 2015 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Elford was elected to the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2001 and currently lives in South Florida, with his wife Anita.
[Source: Porsche NA]
A great life. My greetings.
Happy birthday Vic. Mr. Elford was always kind and gracious to anyone who worked the races. A true gentleman from the golden era of endurance racing.
A very talented driver and a thorough gentleman who I was fortunate to meet at Laguna Seca in 1998 and get his autograph which I still treasure. Happy birthday wishes to a real gentleman from another era of motor sport. May there be many, many more birthdays ahead. Barry Edmunds, Australia
Happy Birthday Vic,
I was member of the crew, when you drove the Triumph Dolomite in the 24 Hours of Francorchamps in the seventies. It was a short but very memorable race, thanks to your skill and kindness. Stalpaert Garage, Stapé Racing of Belgium. Thierry Peers.
Happy Birthday Vic you are a real gentleman! It was my pleasure to get to know you during your visit to the Saratoga Automobile Museum for our tribute to Porsche. Thanks for the memories and stories from all your friends in Upstate NY.
The late José Rosinski once sensibly called him “Gentleman Vic”. His tight duel with Gérard Larrousse at the Monte 68 is unforgettable as well as their common victory at the Sebring 12 Hours in 71. Vic Elford was instrumental in the success of the Rondeau-Inaltéra endeavour in Le Mans. This and his selfless action at Le Mans 72 made him very popular among the French public. Best wishes from an unknown fan!
….un grande, forse il più grande stradista di sempre! Rally di Montecarlo, Targa Florio, Green Hell e tutti gli altri circuiti più famosi. Ed anche un gran Signore. Lo conobbi al GP di Germania del 1968, quando si correva sulla mitica Nordschleife e in tale occasione mi fece l’autografo, che tuttora conservo come una reliquia. Buona vita, grande Vic…