Elford in 2010
10 June 1935|
Peckham, London, England
|Formula One World Championship career|
|Active years||1968 – 1969, 1971|
|Teams||Cooper, McLaren, BRM|
|First entry||1968 French Grand Prix|
|Last entry||1971 German Grand Prix|
|24 Hours of Le Mans career|
|Years||1967 – 1974, 1983|
Automobiles Charles Pozzi
|Best finish||6th (1973)|
|Class wins||2 (1967, 1973)|
Victor Henry Elford (born 10 June 1935, in London) is a former sportscar racing, rallying and Formula One driver from England. He participated in 13 World Championship F1 Grands Prix, debuting on 7 July 1968. He scored a total of 8 championship points.
Elford started as a co-driver, partnering David Seigle-Morris in a Triumph TR3A. By 1961 he had acquired the confidence to see himself as a potential driver in his own right: the confidence was not shared by team manager Marcus Chambers, and Elford purchased a race-tuned Mini which he rallied as a privateer with limited success before selling it at the end of the season. 1962 found him achieving success in several UK rallies driving a factory sponsored DKW Junior. The next year saw a return to Triumph and Elford achieved impressively fast times with the Triumph TR4s, although reliability of the cars in Elford's hands was disappointing, and the following year Elford switched to Ford: this was the beginning of a successful three-year rallying stint with the Ford Cortinas.
In 1967 Elford was European rally champion in a works Porsche 911. Among other victories he won the 1968 Rally Monte Carlo in a Porsche 911 and only a week later the 24 Hours of Daytona in a Porsche 907, Porsche's first ever overall win in a 24-hour race.
Later that year, he also won the Targa Florio teamed with veteran Umberto Maglioli in a famous come-from-behind race after he lost 18 minutes in the first lap due to a tyre failure. Elford then entered the French Grand Prix and finished fourth in his first F1 race – a wet one, too.
Racing in the World Sportscar Championship for Martini Racing against the mighty JWA Gulf team, he was clocked at over 380 km/h in the Porsche 917LH in practise for the 1971 24 Hours of Le Mans. He went on to win the 1971 12 Hours of Sebring in a Porsche 917K, as well as several 1000km Nürburgring races.
During the 1972 24 Hours of Le Mans, when he saw a burning Ferrari Daytona in front of him, Elford stopped in mid-race to save the driver. When opening the door, Elford found an empty cockpit, as the driver already had escaped. Elford then noticed the wreck of a Lola among the trees, with Jo Bonnier having been killed. Cameras caught the act and Elford was named Chevalier of the National Order of Merit by French President Georges Pompidou.
A Targa Florio, Sebring and Daytona winner, his favourite track was nonetheless the Nürburgring despite the disappointing results in his three F1 attempts there, of which the first two ended in lap 1 accidents. His two last GPs were at the Nürburgring. In addition to the 1000 km, Elford won some 500 km races there, winning a total of 6 major races. Only Rudolf Caracciola and Stirling Moss beat that record.
On 4 February 1967 at Lydden Circuit, he won the first ever Rallycross event. Later that year he won the 84 Hour "Marathon de la Route" event at the Nürburgring, on the full 28 km long combined versions that was rarely used since the 1930s. Fellow pilots Hans Herrmann and Jochen Neerpasch preferred "the rally driver" to steer the Porsche 911 through the 7 hours long, four consecutive night turns in rainy and foggy conditions. The winning car was fitted with a semi-automatic Sportomatic transmission, as was another Porsche 911S entered by the factory team.
Although he raced five years for Porsche, Elford also raced for Ford, Triumph, Lancia, Alfa-Romeo, Ferrari, Chaparral, Shadow, Cooper, Lola, Chevron, and Subaru. He also drove McLaren in F1 & CanAm, Chevrolet in TransAm.
Elford nowadays lives in South Florida, United States.
Complete Formula One World Championship results
|1968||Cooper Car Company||Cooper T86B||BRM||RSA||ESP||MON||BEL||NED||FRA
|1969||Antique Automobiles Racing Team||Cooper T86||Maserati||RSA||ESP||MON
|1971||Yardley Team BRM||BRM P160||BRM 3.0 V12||RSA||ESP||MON||NED||FRA||GBR||GER
Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans results
|1967||Porsche System Engineering||Ben Pon||Porsche 906K Carrera 6||S
|1968||Porsche System Engineering||Gerhard Mitter||Porsche 908||S
|1969||Porsche System Engineering||Richard Attwood||Porsche 917L||S
|1970||Porsche KG Salzburg||Kurt Ahrens, Jr.||Porsche 917L||S
|1971||Martini Racing Team||Gérard Larrousse||Porsche 917LH||S
|1972||Autodelta SpA||Helmut Marko||Alfa Romeo Tipo 33TT3||S
|1973||Automobiles Charles Pozzi||Claude Ballot-Léna||Ferrari 365 GTB/4||GT
|1974||Robert Buchet||Claude Ballot-Léna||Porsche 911 Carrera RSR||GT
Elford has authored a number of books on the subject of motorsport:
- Porsche High Performance Driving Handbook ISBN 0-87938-849-8 (1994)
- Vic Elford: Reflections on a Golden Era in Motorsports ISBN 1-893618-52-8 (2005)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Vic Elford.|
- "The Official Web Site" of Vic Elford
- "Reflections on a golden era of motorsports" interview of Vic Elford
G1: Lillebror Nasenius
G2: Sobiesław Zasada
G3: Günter Klass
| European Rally Champion G3 Class