2009 – 5th Motor Sport Luncheon with Vic Elford

5th Motorsport Luncheon

Guest Speaker: Vic Elford

1960’s and 70’s rally and racing star.

Once again we had yet another motor sport icon as our guest. For our 5th luncheon, the Club was delighted and honoured to have, probably motor sports most versatile exponent, Vic Elford, flying all the way from Florida to regale us with stories from his illustrious past.

There can be no other motor sport personality, Stirling Moss included, who has had such a span in our cherished sport. Not many will know this, but Vic’s career started as a ‘humble’ navigator on British club rallies. He was lucky to sit aside the late David Seigle-Morris, who later became a reputable ‘works’ rally driver himself and no doubt he learnt a thing or two from him. But Vic always wanted to be a driver and no doubt he will tell us how his transition from navigator to ace driver came about.

Vic’s ability as a rally driver soon became evident and works drives with Triumph, Ford and ultimately Porsche came his way. He was a very fast driver and victories on many International events soon followed. In 1967 he became European Rally Champion. However it was 1968 that he had his crowning glory by winning the prestigious Monte Carlo Rally. Vic would be the first to say that you don’t win rallies just as a driver, you need a good co-driver sitting next you and it was David Stone who helped him to victory on the Monte along with many other events. Up to now he is the last British driver to win the Monte Carlo Rally.

However Vic is probably better known as a racing driver, following the Monte victory in 1968 his racing career took off. Having already a Porsche rally contract, the management soon recognised that here they had a potential racing driver and if we look at an extract from his own biography for what he claims was his most successful year we get a good idea of what a brilliant driver he was.

‘Vic’s 1968 season began with his win on the prestigious Monte Carlo Rally followed by a win the next weekend in the Daytona 24 hours. He was second at Sebring a month later, then in May scored an epic victory at the Targa Florio, which is considered the greatest win in Targa history. Two weeks later Vic won the Nurburgring 1000 kilometres. Then in his first F1 race in July, Vic took a badly out-classed Cooper T86B to a stunning fourth-place finish in the soaking-wet French Grand Prix’.

Although he raced 5 years for Porsche (he was the only driver to race every version of the Porsche 917), he also raced for Ford, Triumph, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Chaparral, Shadow, Cooper, Lola, Chevron, Subaru. He also drove McLaren in F1 and CanAm, Chevrolet in TransAm.

Lap records include: Targa Florio, Nurburgring, Sebring, Norisring, Monza, Buenos Aires, Road Atlanta, Laguna Seca, Riverside…and at Le Mans – where he was the first driver to lap at over 150mph in the Porsche long-tail 917 in 1970.