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Vic Elford

Full Name:
Victor Henry Elford
10th June 1935 (Age 85)
Peckham, London
Most recent race (in database):

Feted as the most versatile driver of his era, Vic Elford started 13 Grands Prix and was a winner in international rallies and international sports car events.

Rally champion and sports car race winner

A former co-driver, he started rallying a Mini in 1960. Works drives for Triumph and Ford followed but it was in a Porsche 911S that Elford came to the fore when third in the 1967 Tour de Corse and that year’s Group Three European Rally Champion. Elford was also a member of the Stuttgart marque’s sportscar team and third place finishes in the Targa Florio and Nürburgring 1000Kms confirmed his circuit racing prowess.

The 1968 season might have been a bleak one for the sport but it was exceptional for Elford. It began with victory in the Monte Carlo Rally (with a 911) a week before he won the Daytona 24 Hours when the lead driver in a works Porsche 907. Second at Sebring, Elford won the Targa Florio (recovering from 18 minutes lost to a puncture) and Nürburgring 1000Kms.

Formula 1 with Cooper

He also made his GP debut in the wet French GP that year when his Cooper T86B-BRM came from the back of the grid to finish fourth. Elford remained with the team for the rest of the season – qualified fifth in Germany and finished fifth in Canada but the once-great team closed down at the end of the year.

Elford even ventured into stock car racing at the start of 1969 when he drove H.B.Ranier’s Dodge to 11th in NASCAR’s Daytona 500. Elford entered the race for the next two years and was 10th in 1972 with a Don Robertson Plymouth.

Porsche’s sports car programme was his main focus in 1969 although he did start another five GPs with Colin Crabbe’s privateer outfit – his McLaren M7A-Ford fifth in France and sixth at Silverstone. But that season was cut short after he ran into a wheel that had been shed when Mario Andretti crashed during the German GP. Elford broke a collarbone and arm in his ensuing accident.

Return to sports cars and final Grand Prix

He returned to sports cars to star in the mighty Porsche 917 – completing his hat-trick of victories at the Nürburgring and winning the 1971 Sebring 12 Hours in partnership with Gérard Larrousse. He also made a final GP start in the 1971 German GP with a BRM.

He joined Alfa Romeo’s sports car team in 1972 but would not win at world championship level again. He continued to compete in Can-Am and Formula 2 before retiring in 1974.

Elford was team manager for the ATS Wheels F1 concern in 1977 for little more than a week before he tired of team owner’s Günther Schmid’s eccentric ways. He later ran a driving school in Florida and acted as a consultant for Porsche.