Elliott Forbes-Robinson

Elliott Forbes-Robinson

31/10/1943

EFR is known for his wins and championships in many different forms of motor sport. Known in NASCAR circles as a road course ringer, he won the Daytona 24 hour race three times (twice overall once in class).

Born Elliott Robinson in San Francisco in 1943. His Australian mother persuaded Elliott Robinson Snr to move down under. There he discovered that everybody was named Robinson so he added the hypenated Forbes to be different. They returned two years later settling in Los Angeles.

Elliott’s father got interested in motor racing while in Australia racing an MG TC and, on his return, sold MGs and Triumphs on Sunset Boulevard during the week and raced an Austin-Healey Sprite on weekends. Meanwhile while EFR Jr. started out autocrossing a VW Beetle with a canvas sunroof.

Affectionaltely known as 'EFR' he was due to take over the Sprite on his 21st birthday but a few months before a spindle broke while racing at Riverside and EFR Snr crashed. He was quite badly hurt and never raced again.

EFR rebuilt the Sprite, entering it in slaloms and trials. At the time he was working for Technicolor at Universal Studios but was continually calling in sick at weekends. Eventually their patience ran out and EFR went to work for Richie Ginther, working in his Porsche parts department in Culver City.

In the early ’60s, Elliott attended Glendale College and qualified as an aircraft mechanic and though he never worked in that industry it taught him about precision engineering, weight saving and aerodynamics.

In 1967 he attended an SCCA drivers’ school in a 289 Cobra. He raced the Cobra against Corvettes and Mustangs, winning at Stardust Raceway, Willow Springs, and Del Mar. Suddenly he started to get support from a Texan called Mr Shelby. 24 months later, at the age of 25, he drove a sponsored Porsche 911 to victory in the U2 class at the Sears Point Trans-Am, in front of four factory teams. He next won in the 1971 Riverside SCCA Pro SuperVee race en route to fourth ranking in points, a position he also took in 1972, with four wins, and 1973, with two victories. Forbes-Robinson won the SuperVee title in 1974 with seven race wins

1974 was also the year of EFR's first Sports Car GT victory, at Road Atlanta, he also won at Laguna Seca and in 1975 he took a win at Mid-Ohio. Elliott competed in SCCA Formula 5000 in 1975, ranking 14th in points, and won two Formula Atlantic races (St. Jovite, Mosport) en route to fourth in points.

EFR developed an empathy with the cars he drove and was famous for nursing cars through a whole race. He was also intelligent enough to step out of the 1100bhp Nissan GTP car. The car generated so much downforce that the Bridgestone Tyres began blowing out. It happened at Watkins Glen, and at Riverside, where he crashed and broke his shoulder. Then when the same thing looked like happening at Del Mar, he walked away from what was probably the most prestigious drive of his career. Typically he turned up at the next IMSA race driving a friend’s GTU-class Mazda. From one exteme to another.

In 1976 he drove in GT3, winning at Pocono and finishing seventh in the points. He also won two SCCA Runoffs titles at Road Atlanta, in B Sedan and C Production.

Between 1977–80 he raced in Can-Am racing against the likes of Rosberg, Jacky Ickx, Al Holbert, and Patrick Tambay, so wins at Charlotte and the one at Trois-Rivières in 1978, pressurising Alan Jones, who was in the lead, into making a mistake, were especially sweet. He also won the SCCA Runoffs A Production title at Road Atlanta that year. He won again at the Trois Rivieres Can-Am round in 1979 and was runnerup in the Can-Am series. He continued to compete in Can-Am in 1980, finishing fourth in the points.

At that time he was offered a test role at Ferrari but turned it down to drive Paul Newman’s Can-Am car. He tried his hand at Winston Cup racing in the early ’80s, earning three top-10 finishes, but didn't like the ovals. EFR contested Winston Cup races

He tried his hand at Winston Cup racing in 1976 and 1977 and from 1981 through 1984. He achieved three top ten finishes, but didn't like the ovals.

1982 saw Forbes-Robinson return to Trans-Am competition, winning four races (Laguna Seca, Kent, Mid-Ohio, Trois Rivieres) en route to taking the title. In 1983 he took just one win, at Kent, finishing fourth in the points.

1984 saw EFT back in GT3 taking wins at Riverside, Watkins Glen, Pocono, and in the Daytona 3 Hours en route to fifth place in the championship.

EFR drove in Trans-Am in 1985, winning at Detroit and Sears Point, and in ALMS Lights. He also won the Nelson Ledges 24 Hours showroom stock classic.

In 1989, Forbes-Robinson drove a Mazdaspeed Mazda 767B in the Le Mans 24 Hours, finishing ninth overall and second in the GTP class.

He drove in GT1 in 1990, ending the season in sixth place. The following year he finished sixth in the Nurburgring 24 Hours touring car classic.

He won the Trans Am Series in 1992 and was the ALMS' first prototype champion in 1999 with Dyson Racing. He also won the 1999 USRRC Can-Am championship. He was the first driver to score a race victory in both the "old" and "new" Can-Am when he won the 1998 Mid-Ohio event

He’s won major races in each of the past five decades, with victories in Super Vee, winning the championship in 1975, and Formula Atlantic Lolas, in all manner of SCCA Nissans (from a Datsun 610 to a 300ZX Turbo), in IMSA Camel GT Porsches (from 911s to 956s), in Trans-Am Pontiacs and Buicks, in Can-Am NF-10 Spyders, in IMSA GTP Nissan ZX-T factory prototypes, and in World Sports Car and Grand American Ford R&S Mk III prototypes.

Driving a Dodge Viper, he won One Lap of America. He’s won his class at Pikes Peak in the Legends cars that he and Humpy Wheeler invented. He’s nailed the 24 Hours of Daytona three times — twice overall and once in class. And at age 61, he won a pair of Grand American races (at Mid-Ohio and Daytona) driving a Crawford-Pontiac Daytona Prototype. In total, he’s won eight SCCA championships — everything from three national club-racing titles to the 1982 Trans-Am crown, as well as the 2003 Rolex Vintage Enduro Championship.

He has competed in twelve Sebring 12 Hours classics, making his first start in 1973! His best finishes have been thirds, in GTP in 1987, GT1 in 1990, and WSC in 1998! He was fifth in WSC in 1997 and eighth in WSC in 1996. His twelve starts have produced four Top Three, six Top Five, and nine Top Ten class finishes!

He has had 51 major victories in his 30 year career.

Career Highlights

Championships

  • 1974 SCCA Pro Supervee
  • 1982 SCCA Trans-Am
  • 1993 SCCA World Challenge
  • 1999 ALMS GTP
  • 1999 USRRC Can-Am
Endurance Wins

  • 1974 Road Atlanta 6 Hours
  • 1975 Mid-Ohio 6 Hours
  • 1985 Nelson Ledges 24 Hours (Showroom Stock)
  • 1997 Daytona 24 Hours
  • 1997 Watkins Glen 6 Hours
  • 1999 Daytona 24 Hours
Endurance Class Wins

  • 1984 Riverside 6 Hours GTU, Watkins Glen 6 Hours GTU
  • 2000 Daytona 24 Hours Sports/Racer
GTP Wins

  • 1987 Miami
Can-Am Victories

  • 1978 Charlotte, Trois Rivieres
  • 1979 Trois Rivieres
  • 1998 Mid-Ohio

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