- October 31, 1943
- United States
- Not Active
Elliott Forbes-Robinson is an American former racing driver who achieved the most in the sports car racing, with numerous victories spanning over five decades, from the late 1960s to early 2000s.
He was the overall winner at Daytona 24 Hours two times, in 1997 and 1999. In 1999, he was the winner of the inaugural American Le Mans Series. Early in a career, he was the 1982 Trans-Am champion and 1974 Formula Super Vee champion.
Shelby Cobra as the first race car
Born in October 1943, in La Crescenta, California, Forbes-Robinson started to race with Shelby Cobra in the SCCA Regional races, scoring few class victories. In 1969, he switched to Trans-Am Series with Porsche 911. Next year, he was driving Porsche 914 in SCCA National races, winning few races and finishing fourth in the SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road Atlanta.
Le Mans 24h debut in 1971, Formula Super Vee champ in 1974
In June 1971, Forbes-Robinson traveled to Europe to a Porsche 911 S for Richie Ginther Racing at 24 hours of Le Mans. He was sharing the #34 car with Alan Johnson. They didn't finish the race.
In 1971, Elliott raced for the first time in the American edition of the Formula Super Vee. He won one race, becoming a regular race winner in the following years and winning the championship in 1974.
Fourth place in Sebring 12h debut; wins at Road Atlanta and Watkins Glen
In 1973, Forbes-Robinson made a debut at Sebring 12 Hours and he scored great result on his first attempt, finishing fourth in the #81 Far West Racing's Porsche 911 Carrera RSR he was sharing with Grey Egerston.
In April 1974, Forbes-Robinson and Al Holbert were the winners at Road Atlanta 4 Hours, a part of the IMSA Championship. In July, Elliott scored GT class victory in the Watkins Glen 6 Hours, a part of the World Championship and Trans-Am Series. He was sharing a Porsche 911 Carrera RSR with Sam Posey and David Hobbs.
Daytona 24 Hours debut in 1975
In February 1975, Forbes-Robinson made a debut at Daytona 24 Hours, together with Al Holbert in a Porsche 911 Carrera RSR. They didn't finish the race. Later that season, they won Mid-Ohio 6 hours, a part of the IMSA Championship.
In the same season, Forbes-Robinson also participated in competitions with prototypes and single-seaters, finishing third in the Can-Am Challenge with Lola-Chevrolet and taking part in the F500 Championship or CASC Challenge Series.
In 1976, Elliott was driving Datsun 240Z for Bob Sharp Racing in the IMSA GTU Championship. His other commitments were in the IMSA Formula Atlantic and CASC Challenge Series.
Driving for Paul Newman's team in the Can-Am Challenge
In February 1977, he participated in Daytona 24 Hours in a Ferrari 365 GTB/4, finishing in the fifth place with Milt Minter and Hollywood actor Paul Newman. In 1977, he was driving Lola T333CS-Chevrolet for Bill Freeman Racing in the Can-Am Challenge, finishing in the third place behind Patrick Tambay and Peter Gethin.
In 1978, Elliott continued to race in the Can-Am Challenge for Newman-Freeman Racing, finishing fourth in the points with Spyder NF10-Chevrolet. He stayed with the team in 1979, finishing second in the Can-Am Challenge, losing a title to Jacky Ickx. In 1980, his third season with Paul Newman's team in the Can-Am Challenge, Forbes-Robinson scored five podiums in a Lola T530-Chevrolet to finish fourth in the championship.
NASCAR debut in 1977, twenty-two starts until 1984
While he was regular participating in the Can-Am Challenge, Forbes-Robinson made a stock car racing debut in 1977. He made three starts with Dodge, recording DNFs in all three races.
He returned to NASCAR in 1981, starting in eleven races, ten times in the #86 Buick. His best was 8th place at Riverside International Raceway. He recorded eight more NASCAR starts until 1984, collecting in total 22 starts in the premier stock car division.
Trans-Am Series champion in 1982
After four Can-Am seasons, Forbes-Robinson focused on stock car racing in 1981 and then returned to road racing in 1982, entering the Trans-Am Series. He was driving the #55 Pontiac Firebird for Huffaker Racing, winning five out of ten races and winning the championship title. In 1982, he had just one race out of Trans-Am, driving a Porsche 924 Carrera GTR in season's finale of the IMSA GTO Championship at Daytona. He and Deborah Gregg finished 22nd.
He continued to drive Pontiac in the 1983 Trans-Am season, scoring one victory and finishing fourth in the points. Elliott was also driving a Pontiac at Daytona 24 Hours, not finishing the race. He also participated in two IMSA GTU races, retiring with Datsun 280ZX at Mid-Ohio and taking the podium with Porsche 924 Carrera GTR in season's finale at Daytona.
1984 - four IMSA GTU wins in a Porsche
In 1984, Forbes-Robinson participated mostly in the IMSA GTU Championship with Performance Motorsports, driving the #87 Porsche 924 Carrera GTR. John Schneider was his full-time partner. They won four times (Riverside, Watkins Glen, Pocono, Daytona finale) to finish fifth in the final GTU class standings.
In 1985, Forbes-Robinson started a season with two DNFs at Daytona and Sebring. Later in a season, he switched to IMSA Lights class with Whitehall Motorsports, scoring one class victory in the #72 Fabcar-Porsche. He also returned to Trans-Am Series, scoring two wins in a Buick Somerset Regal to finish fourth in the points.
Joining Nissan GTP project in 1986
Forbes-Robinson started the 1986 IMSA Championship season with Dingman Bros Racing's Pontiac Firebird in the GTO class but later joined Nissan and Electramotive Engineering to drive a Nissan GTP ZX-T. His best result was 4th place at Sears Point.
In the 1987 Trans-Am Series, he continued to drive Buick Somerset Regal for Performance Motorsports, not scoring wins and finishing fourth in the points.
Combining Nissan and Porsche in 1987
In 1987, Forbes-Robinson started a season with a retirement at Daytona 24 Hours, where he was driving the #8 Porsche 962 for Primus Racing. In the next IMSA GTP Championship round, he and Geoff Brabham won the race at Miami Grand Prix Street Circuit in the #83 Nissan GTP ZX-T.
At Sebring 12 Hours, Elliot returned to Primus Racing's Porsche, finishing third together with Brian Redman and Chris Kneifel. For the rest of the season, Forbes-Robinson rejoined Nissan. In the 1987 Trans-Am Series, Elliott scored one victory in a Bruce Jenner Racing's Porsche 944, finishing sixth in the points.
A season with Hendrick Motorsports' Chevrolet Corvette GTP
In January 1988, Forbes-Robinson joined AJ Foyt and Al Unser Jr in the #1 Porsche 962 at Daytona 24 Hours. They finished in the sixth place.
For the rest of the IMSA season, Elliott joined Hendrick Motorsports to drive a Chevrolet Corvette GTP. His best result was 3rd place at Watkins Glen, together with Sarel van der Merwe.
Driving for Mazda in 1989 and 1990
In 1989, Elliott joined Mazda to drive a Mazda 767B. At Daytona 24 Hours, he, Yoshimi Katayama and Takashi Yorino finished fifth. At Le Mans 24 Hours, he was sharing a car with Takashi Yorino and Herve Regout, finishing in the ninth place and second in the GTP class. He also participated in one IMSA GTO race in a Mazda RX-7.
In 1990, he completely switched to the GTO class with Mazda RX-7, finishing sixth in the final championship standings.
First Daytona 24h victory with Dyson Racing
In the early 1990s, Forbes-Robinson temporary stopped his career, participating only at 1993 Daytona 24 Hours with Dyson Racing, finishing fifth in a Porsche 962C. He returned to races in 1995, driving Nissan 300ZX Turbo in the IMSA Supercar Championship. In 1996, he joined Bobby Brown Motorsports in four races of the IMSA World Sports Car Championship, driving a Spice HC94-Oldsmobile.
In 1997, Forbes-Robinson joined Dyson Racing for the full season in the IMSA Championship. The success was immediate. In February, he scored his first overall victory at Daytona 24 Hours, sharing the #20 Riley & Scott MkIII with six co-drivers. At Sebring, they finished fifth. Later in the season, Elliot added a victory at Watkins Glen to finish second in the championship, behind teammate Butch Leitzinger.
Champion in the inaugural American Le Mans Series season
Forbes-Robinson continued to race with Dyson Racing in the 1998 IMSA Championship, finishing 9th in the points without victories. In 1999, he had a double programme, driving Dyson Racing's Riley & Scott MkIII prototype both in the US Road Racing Championship and the inaugural season of the American Le Mans Series.
In January, he won Daytona 24 Hours, the first round of the USRRC. He was sharing the #20 Riley & Scott MkIII with Butch Leitzinger and Andy Wallace. In March, the #20 car was second at Sebring 12 Hours, the first round of the ALMS season. Forbes-Robinson was successful later in the season in both competitions, finishing 3rd in the USRRC and winning the ALMS title.
Driving for Dyson Racing until 2002
Forbes-Robinson stayed with Dyson Racing for three more seasons, never repeating fantastic results from 1999. In February 2000, he was fourth overall and winner in the SR class at Daytona 24h, sharing a car with James Weaver, Rob Dyson and Max Papis. It remained his best result that season, which he finished fifth in the points of the Rolex Sports Car Series.
A year later, Elliot and his crew finished 19th at Daytona and he was seventh in the championship. In 2002, his last season with Dyson Racing, he retired at Daytona and finished fourth at Sebring 12 Hours.
Winning races at the age 61
Forbes-Robinson paused from racing for one season, returning to a cockpit of a race car in 2004, at the age 60. He joined Howard-Boss Motorsports for the full season in the Rolex Sports Car Series. He was driving the #4 Crawford DP03, sharing a car with his old friend Butch Leitzinger. At Daytona 24 Hours, they didn't manage to finish the race. They won a race at Barber Motorsports Park in October, three weeks before Elliott's 61st birthday. At the end of the season, he finished seventh in the championship points.
He was even more successful in 2005. He, Butch Leitzinger and Jimmie Johnson finished second at Daytona 24 Hours in the #4 Crawford DP03-Pontiac. A victory came at Daytona 250 Miles in June and one more at Mid-Ohio in August. Forbes-Robinson and Leitzinger finished third in the 2005 Rolex Sports Car Series final standings.
Can't stop racing
It was the last full season for Forbes-Robinson but he never stopped racing, participating in the historic races even at the age 70. In 2006, he participated at Petit Le Mans with B-K Motorsports' Courage C65-Mazda and then at 2007 Daytona 24 Hours with Southard Motorsports' Riley Mk XI-BMW.
Five years later, in January 2012, Forbes-Robinson recorded his last participation at Daytona 24 Hours, driving a Riley-BMW for the 50+ Predator/Alegra team. The most of his co-drivers were aged over 50: Byron DeFoor, Brian Johnson, Jim Pace and Carlos de Quesada. They finished in the 32nd place.
Photos: Getty Images, motorsport.com, caranddriver.com, firebirdgallery.com,