The name “Vic Elford” is practically synonymous with “Porsche.” The British driver from Peckham, London tackled everything from rally to sports car racing to Formula One, establishing a legacy that could only be dreamt of today. Elford died on Sunday, March 13 after a long fight with cancer, but his legacy as an icon no matter the terrain will continue to live on.
“I didn’t go racing because of the danger,” he once said, as quoted by Autoweek. “But being able to look that close in the eyes, yes that was part of it.”
Quick Vic, as he was called, started his career as a co-driver before realizing that he was much better suited to controlling the car himself — something that he was more convinced of than his team owner, which resulted in Elford starting his rallying career as a privateer before swapping to a factory-sponsored DKW Junior effort. Within six years of his start, he was the European rally champion in a works Porsche 911.
That alone would have made a comfortable career, but Elford didn’t want comfortable. In 1968, he took victory in the Rallye Monte Carlo, the 24 Hours of Daytona, the Nurburgring 1000km, and the Targa Florio, where he crushed the lap record. And that could have made a comfortable career — but Elford also made his Formula One debut that year at the French Grand Prix, where he finished fourth in a rain-soaked event.
As his career progressed, Elford went on to make starts in other series, like Can-Am, Trans-Am, and NASCAR, where he found varying degrees of success. But his legacy as a longstanding wheelman — the kind of racer that would race anything.