THE LEGEND LIVES ON
During the course of the past few weeks, may of the Porsche personnel responsible for the company’s keys successes at the circuit have reached milestone birthdays. Le Mans winner, Gijs van Lennep, for example, has just celebrated becoming eighty years old. The same anniversary has been reached by Manfred Schurti, best known for his performances behind the wheel of the 935. Helmut Flegl, the man responsible for taming the 917, is also now a member of Club 80, while two-time World Rally Championship victor and long-time Porsche test driver, Walter Röhrl, has just turned a spritely seventy-five.
While corks are popping, it’s important to pay tribute to personalities the Porsche world has lost during the same period. The most high-profile of these departures has been Vic Elford, regarded as one of the most versatile speed merchants on account of his capabilities across a variety of disciplines, including touring car racing, rallying, endurance motorsport, Canam, NASCAR and Formula One. His efforts in the British Saloon Car Championship alone helped put the 911 on the map, while his ability to wring the neck of various Porsche sports-prototypes, including the 906, 908 and 917, saw the Zuffenhausen trophy cabinet become increasingly short on space — in an extraordinarily short period of time, he won the European Rally Championship, the Monte Carlo Rally, the 24 Hours of Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring, the Targa Florio and the 1,000km of Nürburgring. And I’m scratching the surface.
‘Quick Vic’ (as he became known) is regarded as the greatest driver to have never won Le Mans, though he did score two class wins at Sarthe. The first came with the 906 in 1967, the second was when he was racing a Ferrari 365 GTB/4 for Charles Pozzi in 1973.
These achievements and much more are recounted in this issue’s eight-page tribute to Elford, who has passed away in Florida at the age of eighty-six following his yearlong battle with cancer. I hope you enjoy reading the article as much as we loved pulling it together.