Bob Wollek (4 November 1943–March 16, 2001), nicknamed "Brilliant Bob", was a race car driver from Strasbourg, France. He was killed on March 16, 2001 at age 57 in a road accident in Florida while riding a bicycle back to his accommodation after the day's practice sessions for the following day's race, the 12 Hours of Sebring.
 Skiing career
|Competitor for France|
|Gold||1966 Sestriere||Men's Downhill|
|Gold||1966 Sestriere||Men's Giant Slalom|
|Gold||1966 Sestriere||Men's Combined|
|Silver||1966 Sestriere||Men's Slalom|
|Silver||1968 Innsbruck||Men's Combined|
Prior to his racing days as a university student, Wollek was also a member of the French National Skiing Team between 1966-1968 competing in the Winter Universiade, he won three gold and two silver medals altogether (see table on the right)
 Early racing career
Prior to a skiing accident which ended his skiing career, Wollek began racing cars when he entered the Mont-Blanc Rally in 1967 driving a Renault 8 Gordini and won. The following year, when his career ended, he started his career when he entered a Volant Shell scholarship taking place at Le Mans' Bugatti Circuit, finishing runner up to François Migault. Wollek later entered the Alpine Trophy Le Mans which he was the winner, earning himself a place for the 24 hour race where he finished 11th on his debut.
In 1969, Wollek made his debut in single seater series competing in Formula France, then graduated in the French Formula Three Championship.
During a round at Rouen-Les-Essarts, Wollek was involved in a fatal accident which killed Jean-Luc Salomon, when the pair plus Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Richard Scott and Mike Beuttler was all fighting for the lead in Scierie, a two-lane road.
In 1971, Wollek switched to Formula Two driving for Ron Dennis's Rondel Racing. Despite a shaky start with only one point that year, he improved his performance for the following year with a single win at Imola and 21 points, placing him seventh. Despite this, he abandoned his Formula One ambition to concentrate in sportscar racing with which he became synonymous.
 Sportscar racing
Wollek had already won there in 1985 with A. J. Foyt, driving a Porsche 962. Despite being over 50 years of age and still racing competitively, Wollek had developed a fitness regime of riding bicycles to stay in good physical condition, especially for the longer races such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, to which he rode from home across France.
During his three decades of sports car racing, almost exclusively in Porsches, he won the 24 Hours of Daytona four times (1983, 1985, 1989, 1991) and the DRM in 1982 and 1983, with the Porsche 936 and Porsche 956 entered by the Joest Racing team.
For many years, Monsieur Porsche challenged the factory team with privately entered cars, as he was seldom hired to become part of the official Porsche crew, like at the 1978 24 Hours of Le Mans (also 1979, 1997, 1998). In 1981, he even raced a Group C-spec Kremer-built Porsche 917, about a decade after these cars were retired initially.
Wollek never managed to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans overall, despite coming close in a few of his thirty attempts. In 1997, his leading Porsche 911 GT1 suffered damage in a minor incident, so the factory entry had to retire. In 1998, Porsche scored a 1-2 win, but Bob was once again on the less-lucky car.
After the 1998 season, Porsche retired its GT1 cars from the Mercedes-dominated FIA GT Championship, providing only Porsche 911 based cars for the lower GT classes. In 2000, Wollek scored many class wins at the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) in a Porsche 996 GT3.
On Friday, March 16, 2001, while leaving Sebring International Raceway following practice for the 12 Hours of Sebring, Wollek continued a tradition of cycling between the circuit and his accommodation, which took him west on Highway 98. While he had been riding close to the edge of the pavement, he was struck from behind by a van driven by an elderly driver from Okeechobee, Florida at approximately 4:30 p.m. He was transported to Highlands Regional Medical Center in Sebring and was pronounced dead on arrival. Wollek was due to start in the Petersen Motorsports Porsche 996 GT3-RS with Johnny Mowlem and Michael Petersen, however out of respect the car was withdrawn from the race. On race day, the organizers held a one minute silence in memory of Wollek. Prior to his death, he announced he would retire from racing to serve as an ambassador for Porsche, and was due to sign this agreement upon returning home after Sebring.
- HickokSports.com - History - World University Games Alpine Skiing Medalists
- Top 100
- 8W - Where? - Rouen-les-Essarts
- OldRacingCars.info » Brabham BT36
- Formula 2 1971 - Championship Tables
- Formula 2 1972 - Final Tables
- Sunday Telegraph, 18th March 2001
- Bob Wollek, racing driver, 56
- Elsewhere in Racing: Updates from the Rest of the Racing World