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Bob Wollek in 1976

Bob Wollek in 1976

Bob Wollek (November 4, 1943 – March 16, 2001), nicknamed "Brilliant Bob", was a race car driver from Strasbourg, France. He was killed on March 16, 2001 at age 57 in a road accident in Florida while riding a bicycle back to his accommodation after the day's practice sessions for the following day's race, the 12 Hours of Sebring.

Skiing career Edit

Prior to his racing days as a university student, Wollek was also a member of the French National Skiing Team between 1966-1968 competing in the Winter Universiade, he won three gold and two silver medals altogether (see table on the right)

His skiing career came to an end when he was injured during preparations for the Winter Olympics.

Early racing career Edit

Prior to a skiing accident which ended his skiing career, Wollek began racing cars when he entered the Mont-Blanc Rally in 1967 driving a Renault 8 Gordini and won. The following year, when his skiing career ended, he started his racing career when he entered a Volant Shell scholarship race taking place at the Le Mans' Bugatti Circuit, finishing runner-up to François Migault. Wollek later entered the Alpine Trophy Le Mans which he won, earning himself a place for the 1968 24 Hours of Le Mans where he finished 11th overall and 2nd in class on his debut driving an Alpine A210.

In 1969, Wollek made his debut in single seater racing competing in Formula France before graduating to the French Formula Three Championship.

During a round at Rouen-Les-Essarts, Wollek was involved in a fatal accident which killed Jean-Luc Salomon, when the pair plus Jean-Pierre Jaussaud, Richard Scott and Mike Beuttler were all fighting for the lead at Scierie, where the track is a two-lane road.

In 1971, Wollek switched to Formula Two driving for Ron Dennis's Rondel Racing. Despite a shaky start with only one point that year, he improved his performance for the following year with a single win at Imola and 21 points, placing him seventh. Despite this success, he abandoned his Formula One ambition to concentrate on sportscar racing where he would become one of the most recognizable names in the sport.

Sportscar racing Edit

Wollek car

Bob Wollek in a Kremer-Porsche 935K2 at the 1000km Nürburgring in Germany (1977)


During his three decades of sports car racing, almost exclusively in Porsches, he won the 24 Hours of Daytona four times (1983, 1985, 1989, 1991) and the DRM in 1982 and 1983, with the Porsche 936 and Porsche 956 entered by the Joest Racing team. In the mid-1970s, he raced a Porsche 935K2 improved and entered by the Kremer Racing team from Cologne.

For many years, Monsieur Porsche challenged the factory team with privately entered cars, as he was only hired to become part of the official Porsche Le Mans team four times (1978, 1979, 1997, and 1998). In 1981, he even raced a Group C-spec Kremer-built Porsche 917, about a decade after these cars were retired initially.

Wollek never managed to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans overall, despite coming close in a few of his thirty attempts. In 1997, his leading factory-entered Porsche 911 GT1 suffered damage in a minor incident, so the car had to be retired. In 1998, Porsche scored a 1-2 win, but Bob was once again on the less-lucky runner-up car.

After the 1998 season, Porsche retired its GT1 cars from the Mercedes-dominated FIA GT Championship, providing only Porsche 911 based cars for the lower GT classes. In 2000, Wollek scored many class wins in the American Le Mans Series(ALMS) in a Porsche 996 GT3. The last race Wollek entered was the 2001 12 Hours of Sebring in a Porsche 996 GT3-RS. Wollek had already won there in 1985 with A. J. Foyt, driving a Porsche 962. Despite being over 50 years of age and still racing competitively, Wollek had developed a fitness regime of riding bicycles to stay in good physical condition, especially for the longer races such as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, to which he rode from home across France.

Typical of many other racing drivers, Bob ran a car dealership for Jaguar.

Death Edit

On Friday, March 16, 2001, while leaving Sebring International Raceway following practice for the 12 Hours of Sebring, Wollek continued a tradition of cycling between the circuit and his accommodation, which took him west on Highway 98. While he had been riding close to the edge of the pavement, he was struck from behind by a van driven by an elderly driver from Okeechobee, Florida at approximately 4:30 p.m. He was transported to Highlands Regional Medical Center in Sebring and was pronounced dead on arrival. Wollek was due to start in the Petersen Motorsports Porsche 996 GT3-RS with Johnny Mowlem and Michael Petersen, however out of respect the car was withdrawn from the race. On race day, the organizers held a one-minute silence in memory of Wollek. Prior to his death, he announced he would retire from racing to serve as an ambassador for Porsche, and was due to sign this agreement upon returning home after Sebring.

Racing record Edit

Complete 24 Hours of Le Mans results Edit

Year Team Co-Drivers Car Class Laps Pos. Class

Pos.

1968 Trophée Le Mans Christian Ethuin Alpine A210 P

1.3

282 11th 2nd
1969 Société des Automobiles Alpine Jean-Claude Killy Alpine A210 P

1.6

242 DNF DNF
1973 Equipe Matra-Simca Shell Patrick Depailler Matra-Simca MS670B S

3.0

84 DNF DNF
1974 Équipe Gitanes Jean-Pierre Jaussaud

 José Dolhem

Matra-Simca MS670B S

3.0

120 DNF DNF
1975 Écurie Buchet - Cyril Grandet Cyril Grandet Porsche 911 GT

Ser.

293 DSQ DSQ
1976 Porsche Kremer Racing Didier Pironi

 Marie-Claude Charmasson

Porsche 934 GT 270 19th 4th
1977 Porsche Kremer Racing Jean-Pierre Wielemans

 Philippe Gurdjian

Porsche 934 GT 298 7th 1st
1978 Martini Racing Porsche System Jacky Ickx

 Jürgen Barth

Porsche 936/78 S

+2.0

364 2nd 2nd
1979 Essex Motorsport Porsche Hurley Haywood Porsche 936 S

+2.0

236 DNF DNF
1980 Gelo Racing Team Helmut Kelleners Porsche 935 Gr.5 191 DNF DNF
1981 Porsche Kremer Racing Xavier Lapeyre

 Guy Chasseuil

Porsche 917K/81 S

+2.0

82 DNF DNF
1982 Belga Team Joest Racing Jean-Michel Martin

 Philippe Martin

Porsche 936C C 320 DNF DNF
1983 Sorga S.A. Joest Racing Klaus Ludwig

 Stefan Johansson

Porsche 956 C 354 6th 6th
1984 Martini Racing Alessandro Nannini Lancia LC2-Ferrari C1 326 8th 8th
1985 Martini Racing Alessandro Nannini

 Lucio Cesario

Lancia LC2-Ferrari C1 360 6th 6th
1986 Rothmans Porsche Jochen Mass

 Vern Schuppan

Porsche 962C C1 180 DNF DNF
1987 Rothmans Porsche AG Jochen Mass

 Vern Schuppan

Porsche 962C C1 16 DNF DNF
1988 Porsche AG Sarel van der Merwe

 Vern Schuppan

Porsche 962C C1 192 DNF DNF
1989 Joest Racing Hans-Joachim Stuck Porsche 962C C1 382 3rd 3rd
1990 Joest Porsche Racing Louis Krages

 Stanley Dickens

Porsche 962C C1 346 8th 8th
Joest Porsche Racing Jonathan Palmer

 Philippe Alliot

Porsche 962C C1 - DNS DNS
1991 Silk Cut Jaguar

 Tom Walkinshaw Racing

Teo Fabi

 Kenny Acheson

Jaguar XJR-12 C2 358 3rd 3rd
1992 Courage Compétition Henri Pescarolo

 Jean-Louis Ricci

Cougar C28LM-Porsche C3 335 6th 1st
1993 Joest Porsche Racing Henri Pescarolo

 Ronny Meixner

Porsche 962C C2 351 9th 4th
1994 Nisso Trust Racing Team Steven Andskär

 George Fouché

Toyota 94C-V LMP1

/C90

328 4th 2nd
1995 Courage Compétition Éric Hélary

 Mario Andretti

Courage C34-Porsche WSC 297 2nd 1st
1996 Porsche AG Hans Joachim Stuck

 Thierry Boutsen

Porsche 911 GT1 GT1 353 2nd 1st
1997 Porsche AG Hans Joachim Stuck

 Thierry Boutsen

Porsche 911 GT1 GT1 238 DNF DNF
1998 Porsche AG Jörg Müller

 Uwe Alzen

Porsche 911 GT1-98 GT1 350 2nd 2nd
1999 Champion Racing Dirk Müller

 Bernd Mayländer

Porsche 911 GT3-R GT 292 19th 2nd
2000 Dick Barbour Racing Dirk Müller

 Lucas Luhr

Smallwikipedialogo.png This page uses some content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Bob Wollek. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Autopedia, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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