Porsche motorsport legend Vic Elford passed away at his home in Plantation, Florida on March 13. The 86-year-old battled against cancer in recent years with the same tenacity and determination that made him one of only four drivers to record six major victories at the Nürburgring during his long racing career. Elford earned the nickname “Quick Vic” for his ability to wring speed from cars ranging from hill climb specials to rally racers, open-wheel Formula One cars and rocket-fast sports car prototypes. Elford is survived by his wife, Anita.

Elford was the first driver to have an average lap of the Circuit de la Sarthe (Le Mans) above 150 mph – he did so in a 1970 Porsche 917 LH (Long-Tail). He was a two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner (1967 and 1973) and famously won the prestigious Monte Carlo Rally, driving a Porsche 911, and the Rolex 24 At Daytona, behind the wheel of a Porsche 907, in back-to-back weeks in 1967. The ’67 Daytona win was the marque’s first international 24-hour race victory.

Vic Elford, Porsche AG
Porsche mourns the death of Vic Elford

Elford made eight starts at Le Mans, six in a Porsche, with the first victory coming piloting a Porsche 906 K, the second in a Ferrari. His last start at the endurance racing classic came in 1974 in the seat of a Porsche 911 Carrera RSR. His remarkable driving career also spanned into Can-Am and NASCAR’s Daytona 500.

Nickname 'Quick Vic'

While his on-track success is nearly mythological, the greatest of all the accolades Elford achieved came in 1972 when he was named Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite by French President Georges Pompidou. The prestigious honor was awarded for his act of courage and heroism during the 24 Hours of Le Mans when he stopped to assist a fellow driver from a burning car. The same outreach and consideration of his fellow drivers reached through the generations as Elford is recognized as a hero and mentor by countless drivers of today.

Elford’s skill can readily be seen in the movie Le Mans where Steve McQueen chose him to handle the high-speed close-up action shots driving the famous Porsche 917. A role that celebrated its golden anniversary in June 2021 with the 50th Anniversary of the premiere of the iconic film.

A longtime driving coach, Elford also wrote two books: The Porsche High Performance Driving Handbook and Reflections on a Golden Era in Motorsport.

Comments

Kjell Gruner, President and CEO, Porsche Cars North America.

“We have stayed close to Vic and Anita, particularly in recent years, and while we knew Vic was ill, the loss is still felt acutely - we send our sincere condolences to Anita and to the whole family. His achievements on track are simply staggering – I grew up in awe of him, as many of us at Porsche did - yet it will be his warmth, his kindness and decency that will remembered most by the colleagues who knew him well.” 

Volker Holzmeyer, President and CEO, Porsche Motorsport North America.

“I’m desperately sad to hear this news. We have lost one of the all-time greats from our motorsport community. At Porsche we’re often described as a family – but in motorsport especially so. On behalf of every one of us at Porsche Motorsport North America we want to express our profound sadness at this news. Vic was – and will always be – a hero to us. Our immediate thoughts are with his family and his friends at this time.”

Impressions from the racing career of Vic Elford

Porsche Typ 718/2, 1960, Porsche AG
Porsche Formula Race Car 1960: Vic Elford on Porsche Type 718/2.
Porsche T 2.0 Coupé, Lyon-Charbonnières, 1967, Porsche AG
1967 Lyon-Charbonnières 60: Porsche T 2.0 Coupé winning car with drivers Vic Elford and David Stone.
Vic Elford, David Stone, l-r, Rally Monte Carlo, 1968, Porsche AG
1968: 1st place overall at the Rally Monte Carlo on Porsche 911 T, Vic Elford (right) and David Stone (left).
Porsche 911 T, Rally Monte Carlo, 1968, Porsche AG
1968 Rally Monte Carlo 210: Porsche 911 T with Vic Elford (driver) and David Stone (co-driver) (1st place overall).
Porsche 907, Targa Florio 224, 1968, Porsche AG
5 May 1968 Race Targa Florio 224: Porsche 907 with drivers Vic Elford and Umberto Maglioli (overall winner).
908 KH, Zeltweg, 1968, Porsche AG
908 KH with Vic Elford in Zeltweg in August 1968.
907 LH, Daytona, 1968, Porsche AG
24 Hours of Daytona 1968: Hans Herrmann, Rolf Stommelen, Vic Elford, Jochen Neerpasch and Jo Siffert took turns driving the 907 LH and scored the overall victory.
Vic Elford, Norisring, 1969, Porsche AG
Norisring 1969: Vic Elford in the 908/02 Spyder.
Porsche 908/03, Nürburgring, 1970, Porsche AG
30 – 31 May 1970, Int. ADAC 1000 km race Nürburgring: Vic Elford on Porsche 908/03 (winner).
Kurt Ahrens jr., Vic Elford, l-r, Nürburgring, 1970, Porsche AG
31 May 1970, Int. ADAC 1000 km race Nürburgring, award ceremony, 1st place: Vic Elford (2nd from right) and Kurt Ahrens jr. (2nd from left) on Porsche 908/03.
917 LH Coupé, Le Mans, 1970, Porsche AG
14 june 1970, 24h Le Mans: Vic Elford and Kurt Ahrens jr. on a 917 LH Coupé (retired). Behind the car from left to right: Helmuth Bott, Gerhard Küchle, Kurt Ahrens, Helmut Flegl, Vic Elford, behind him Roland Bemsel, next to Vic Elford stands Werner Enz.
917 KH, Sebring, 1971, Porsche AG
12 Hours of Sebring on 20 March 1971: 917 KH with Vic Elford (in the car) and Gérrard Larrousse (1st place overall).
Porsche Typ 908/03 Spyder, Targa Florio, 1971, Porsche AG
1971 Targa Florio: Porsche Type 908/03 Spyder with Vic Elford and Gérard Larrousse.
Porsche Typ 928 S, Daytona, 1984, Porsche AG
Daytona 1984: Porsche Type 928 S, Drivers: Richard Attwood, Vic Elford, Howard Meister and Bob Hagestad.
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Hurley Haywood. 

“Vic Elford was truly an icon. He was loved by many. His accomplishments were unmatched, and he will be greatly missed by all.  Vic and I became friends later in his career. We never raced against each other, but I respected the man greatly. I feel terrible for Anita. She was his right hand man. She, his family and his friends are all in my thoughts. Anita is a strong woman and I take some comfort in knowing she will succeed in her next step.”

Patrick Long. 

“As a factory Porsche driver, I got to know Vic quite well – at first, I was a in awe just to be in his presence.  Quickly– his direct approach and immense humility immediately made you feel at ease. Always upbeat, it was such a treat to hear Vic tell stories of his legendary journeys with a massive smile.  I will always be grateful for the fun we had, his encouragement and the kindness he showed me. My thoughts are with Anita and everyone who knew Vic. I’m so sad he’s gone.”

More from the Porsche Museum

Elford was fully committed to the qualities of the Porsche 911 for his whole life: "It's the only car that's adaptable enough to use in all possible circumstances. Snow, ice, tarmac, uphill, downhill, fast or slow – the 911 can do anything." Despite being a humble man throughout his life, Elford knew what he was capable of. He once said: "Could a Porsche 911 have won the Monte Carlo Rally without me? Yes – but not in 1968. I don't think anybody else could have driven a 911 like I did at the time."

The legacy of Vic Elford

Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG is paying its respects to one of the most successful and versatile works racing drivers ever to represent the Stuttgart-based sports car manufacturer:

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Career and highlights at Porsche

1967
European Rally Champion in a Porsche 911 S

1967
First race at Le Mans, finishing first in his class and seventh overall in a Porsche 906K Carrera 6

1967
Winner of the first rallycross event in history in a Porsche 911 R

1968
Winner of the 1,000 kilometre race on the Nürburgring in a Porsche 908

1968
Winner of the Monte Carlo Rally in a Porsche 911 T

1968
Winner of the Targa Florio in a Porsche 907 KH

1968
Winner of the 24 Hours of Daytona in a Porsche 907 KH

1968 – 1971
Thirteen starts in Formula One

1969
Winner of the Nürburgring 1,000 kilometre race in a Porsche 908

1970
Winner of the Nürburgring 1,000 kilometre race in a Porsche 908