Vic Elford is in need of help from the legions of friends and fans who’ve marveled at his exceptional talent and grace for more than half a century.
With the return of an aggressive form of prostate cancer, and the added complication of a broken leg suffered in a recent fall, the 85-year-old Englishman has been unable to travel and earn a living as a featured guest at automotive and vintage racing events.
Regarded as one of the sport’s great all-rounders, Elford made his name in the 1960s with a string of results that continue to defy comprehension. The 1968 season stands out as the ultimate expression of his skills. He opened the year with a famous win at the Rally Monte Carlo driving a Porsche 911 on January 25, then traveled to Florida where he won the Daytona 24 Hours on February 4 in a Porsche 907, and added a victory in a 907 at the treacherous Targa Florio in Italy, where drivers braved the 45-mile course formed on public roads. And he wasn’t done in 1968; upon his Formula 1 debut in July at the Rouen circuit in France with the modest Cooper-BRM outfit, Elford placed fourth behind future world champion Jackie Stewart.
Revered by his peers and a cadre of today’s most successful drivers, Elford’s ability to drive almost anything and take it to the front has placed the veteran of rallying, sports cars, F1, Can-Am, Trans Am, NASCAR, and two-time class winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the pantheon of greats.
As Elford and his wife face the tough reality of being overwhelmed by medical bills, an urgent need to outfit their home with a stairlift and assistive mobility devices, and securing his future care requirements, friend and fellow legend Brian Redman is trying to gather support for his former teammate.
“Vic’s many successes and accomplishments are well-known, but what stood out for me was his desire to race the new and unproved Porsche 917 at Le Mans in 1969,” he said. “Why? Because it was 20 mph faster on the four-mile Mulsanne straight than anything else! Vic and Richard Attwood were leading with only three hours to go when the gearbox casing cracked.
“In 1970 with the new long-tail 917, Vic set a new qualifying record at an average of just over 150 mph and the fastest lap in the race at an average of 149.90. So, not just ‘Quick Vic,’ but ‘Brave Vic,’ whose bravery is demonstrated once more while combating cancer.”
At Redman’s request, a GoFundMe account has been established to benefit Elford.