Motorsport

Vic Elford and Umberto Maglioli win the 1968 Targa Florio in a Porsche 907

Porsche painted the nose of the different cars in a bright color for easy recognition.

Porsche placed its faith for the 1968 Targa Florio in a quartet of short-tail Porsche 907s. For quick recognition, the noses of the Porsche 907s were painted in different bright colors. In practice Ludovico Scarfiotti lost control of his car, while he was pursuing the Nino Vaccarella in an Alfa Romeo. The Porsche 907 is completely bruised.  Vic Elford on the other hand performed outstanding. His standing lap in the Porsche 907 was about 22 seconds faster than the existing record. And the latter one had been set on the fly.  Jo Siffert did a very good job too, and lapped under the previous record, qualifying 2nd. Nino Vaccarella followed Siffer by 2 seonds and started in 3rd position.  Scarfiotti started the race in the spare Porsche 907 of the works team.

1968 Targa Florio - Scarfiotti Porsche 907
Ludovico Scarfiotti completely destroyed the Porsche 907 #230 during training

Elford however had some real bad luck in the first lap. Soon after the start, a center-lock nut on the wheel of the Porsche 907 #224 came loose.  Elford had to stop the car by the side, and tighten the nut. He could only continue his lap at a slow pace, until he reached a mid-lap Porsche service point. The crew replaced the wheel, and Elford could continue the race.

Hans Herrmann / Jochen Neerpasch – Porsche 907 #222

However, bad luck stroke down again. The nut loosened again while Elford rounded a fast corner. He was pitched to a rock, with a blown tyre as a result.  The stuborn Englishman however refused to give up. He changed the tire.  When Elford finally entered the the pits after completing his first lap, there was a gap of about 18 minutes to Scarfiotti who had taken the lead. Jo  Siffert coped with the same problems as Vic Elford. However, Siffert managed to get back in the pits to have the problems solved without too much delay.

In the 2nd lap, Ludovico Scarfiotti increased his lead over Vaccarella. In the 4th lap of the race however, both leading cars encountered problems after their  pit-stops. That forced Gerhard Mitter, who took the weel from Scarfiotti to come in the pits again to replace a driving-shaft. That allowed 2 Alfa Romeos to take the lead, with Hans Herrmann and Jochen Neerpasch at a distant 3rd place.

At that moment, Vic Elford takes another 45 seconds of his already amazing new lap record, and fights back to 7th position. Umberto Maglioli took over the wheel of Elford for 3 laps, and manages to reach a 4th position, when Elford jumps in the driver seat again.

1968 Targa Florio Vic Elford Umberto Maglioli Porsche 907
Vic Elford / Umberto Maglioli – Porsche 907 #224

Meanwhile one of the leading Alfa’s drops out of the race with falling oil pressure. Vic Elford keeps on pushing and succeeds in taking the lead. All of his remaining laps are well under the old record, and just a few seconds slower than this new record. In his last lap, Elford eased off and takes a 3 minute win. 

This is the 8th overall victory for Porsche at the Targa Florio. Furthermore the 1st time Porsche had won 3 times running.  Despite the victory, this was the last time Porsche would rely solely on the Porsche 907 in an endurance race.

Press release announcing the Targa Florio and the Victory of Vic Elford and Umborte Maglioli in the 1968 Targa Florio

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Pictures courtesy Porsche AG and unknown