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50th Anniversary of 24 hours at Daytona: 1968 – Vic Elford wins for Porsche

Submitted by on January 28, 2012

As a galaxy of stars get ready for the 50th running of sportscars at Daytona this weekend at the 24 Hours we celebrate the  event’s most successful marque: Porsche

There are two things that are great about the Rolex Daytona 24 Hours, as it is now. Firstly, you know it’s the start of another racing season, and secondly, as other championships haven’t started yet, it brings a mix of top-line drivers from all-disciplines around the world to ‘have a go’.

One all-rounder to hit the record books in many ways was “Quick” Vic Elford. This is what he achieved in 1968: He won the Monte Carlo Rally in a Porsche 911, then a week later – yes, a week later – scored Porsche’s first 24 Hour win, at Daytona in the 907. It was the first of many endurance race wins for the German manufacturer.

In that summer Elford also made his Formula 1 debut, finishing fourth, and if that wasn’t enough won the terrifying Targa Florio road race that year too. Later in his career, he added NASCAR, Can-Am and rallycross to his resumé…

His Daytona win, with Rolf Stommelen and Jochen Neerpasch was a landmark, though, Porsche’s first of – to date – 18 wins at the high-banked Florida track. Not only was it the first, they filled the podium too.

Among Porsche’s 18 wins at Daytona came a spectacular run of victories between 1977 and 1983. To put this in perspective, fierce rival Ferrari won just five times between 1963-1998.

And there is no doubt that the iconic Porsche 917 from the 1970s – whether in the legendary light blue and orange colours, or different liveries – even 40 years on, is a work of art. Porsche’s sportscar success has continued, as has the Stuttgart company’s commitment to motorsport. As the cars and stars from all worlds of racing at Daytona for this year’s 24 Hours, the grid will again be full of Porsches racing for the GT class win, and continue the legacy.

By Andy Hallbery. Follow me on Twitter @hallbean

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