George Follmer

Born : January 27 1934

Biography George Follmer

George Follmer was born in Phoenix on January 27, 1934. The Follmer family later moved to Los Angeles. George Follmer  served in the Army following the Korean war where he was a company clerk for an intelligence outfit in Bavaria, Germany. Later Follmer resumed school to earn a  business degree from Pasadena City College. 

In 1959 a Porsche 356 Speedster joined the Follmer  family. With that car George Follmer competed in Porsche Club events throughout Southern California. It was during these Porsche club events that George Follmer got acquainted with the owner of the Pasadena Porsche Dealership. George Follmer turned out to be a talented racer. With the Porsche 356 Speedster, he won the series championship as a rookie. 

George Follmer than moved up to more advanced racing cars. He competed in the Can-Am series with a Lola T-70 Mk II chassis with a Chevrolet engine.  In the first season, George Follmer could not finish better than in 5th position, which he did in a few races.

George Follmer Porsche 917 10 Mosport CanAm 1973
George Follmer Porsche 917 10 Mosport CanAm 1973

The next year, Roger Penske asked George Follmer to drive Mark Donohue‘s Camaro in a Trans-Am race, while Mark Donohue himself was racing in Le Mans. That was the start of a new successful era in George Follmer’s race career in the Trans-Am Series

 

Suddenly Roger Penske called for  George Follmer to replace an injured Mark Donohue in the Porsche 917/10 in Road Atlanta. That was a good move, with a victory for Follmer as a result. The next race at Watkins Glenn was less successful. 

F1 career 

In 1973 George Follmer  joined the new UOP Shadow F1 team for 1973 and he was sixth on his debut in South Africa. He then withstood pressure from François Cevert to finish third in Spain in only his second Grand Prix. A points scorer in his first two GP starts, Follmer did not score again and was 13th in the world championship.

George Follmer in the Vasek Polak Porsche 934
George Follmer in the Vasek Polak Porsche 934

Trans-Am champion

In 1976, George Follmer  won the 1976 Trans-Am Championship with a Porsche 934 turbo in the Vasek Polak race Team but was seriously injured practising a Can-Am Prophet-Chevrolet at Laguna Seca two years later. A broken leg and internal injuries appeared to have ended his career although he recovered sufficiently to return to Trans-Am during 1979. He scored a final victory at Laguna Seca two years later.

George Follmer raced in the 1986 Le Mans 24 Hours – 20 years after his only other appearance in the race. Follmer shared the third placed Joest Porsche 956B with John Morton and Kenper Miller in what was his last major race.

n addition to his racing career, Follmer also owned a Porsche-Audi-Subaru dealership in Pomona, California, later relocated to Montclair, California, from 1977 to 1990.