SEBRING, Fla. -- March 17, 2001 -- French Porsche racing veteran Bob Wollek, 57, died yesterday afternoon after being struck by a vehicle while riding his bicycle near Sebring International Raceway. Wollek was to compete in today's Superflo12 ...
SEBRING, Fla. -- March 17, 2001 -- French Porsche racing veteran Bob Wollek, 57, died yesterday afternoon after being struck by a vehicle while riding his bicycle near Sebring International Raceway.
Wollek was to compete in today's Superflo12 Hours of Sebring American Le Mans Series (ALMS) sports car endurance race co-driving the White Lightning Petersen Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 RS.
"Bob Wollek has been one of Porsche's very best race drivers for many years," said Herbert Ampferer, director of racing for Porsche AG. "He fought hard for Porsche on the racetrack. He loved Porsche. He was a true Porsche man."
Born in Strasbourg, France, Wollek had won just about all the major endurance events there were to win in the world of sports car racing -- all in Porsches. Having raced for more than 25 years, Wollek's titles included two class wins at the 24 Hours of Le M ans; four overall wins at the 24 Hours of Daytona; and a class win and an overall victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring. He won the world Porsche Cup competition seven times -- more than any other Porsche driver in history.
"The Porsche racing family lost one of its greatest drivers," said Alwin Springer, president of Porsche Motorsport North America. "and I lost a very close and good friend. We both looked forward to our retirements when we could reflect on the agonies and e cstasies of our racing years."
Last season, Wollek won ALMS races at Charlotte, Silverstone, Portland, Las Vegas, and the Petit Le Mans. To date this year, he had driven at the 24 Hours of Daytona, where he co-drove a Lola/Porsche, which did not finish the event, and in the ALMS race at Texas, where he finished fourth in the White Lightening Petersen Motorsports Porsche.
"We were very fortunate to know Bob for the brief time he drove for our team," said Dale White, Petersen Motorsports team manager. "He was one of sports car racing's greatest drivers."
Out of respect for Bob Wollek, his family, and many friends and fans, Peterson Motorsports has withdrawn the Porsche Wollek was to co-drive with Johnny Mowlem and Michael Petersen in the Sebring 12 Hour race.
"Bob was a longtime friend," added Walter Gerber, crew chief on the Petersen Porsche as well as on other Porsches Wollek drove during his career. "We worked well together and laughed together. To me he will always be 'Smiling Bob'" Wollek is survived by his wife Michelle