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Alvah Robert "Al" Holbert (November 11, 1946 at Abington, PennsylvaniaSeptember 30, 1988) was an Americanmarker automobile racing driver who was a five-time champion of the IMSA Camel GT series.

Life and Career

The son of racecar driver Bob Holbert, who also ran a Volkswagen-Porsche dealership in Warrington, PA, near Philadelphiamarker, Holbert worked for Roger Penske whilst studying at Lehigh Universitymarker. In 1971, Holbert scored his first race win in a Porsche and would turn professional in 1974. He would score his first of his two IMSA titles in 1976 and 1977 in a Chevrolet Monza. Being a Porsche supporter, Holbert allowed Porsche technicians to inspect his Monza, which would eventually lead to Porsche entering the series with turbocharged cars such as the 934 that led to a Porsche dominance for the following years. During that time Holbert jumping ship to the Stuttgart marque.

From 1976-1979 Holbert raced 19 career races in NASCAR. In those 19 races, in which he drove primarily for James Hylton, Holbert scored 4 top ten finishes.

He also added an IMSA GTP title in a Porsche powered March 83G when Porsche were unable to make their 956 eligible for competition that year. February 27, 1983 he won the Grand Prix of Miami. Holbert finished fourth in the 1984 Indianapolis 500, and led the Porsche IndyCar effort in 1987-1988. He won the 24 Hours of Le Mansmarker in 1983, 1986, and 1987, the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1986 and 1987 and the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1976 and 1981. Holbert was the head of the Porsche North America's Motorsports Division and ran his own racing team, Holbert Racing. In 1988, Holbert realised that the Porsche 962 that had brought him success in his earlier years was becoming outmoded by the newer generation of racers from the likes of the Jaguar XJR-9 and the Electramotive's Nissan GTP ZX-Turbo. His plan was to build an open top Porsche-engined racer for customer teams. Porsche eventually built such a car nearly a decade later, although the WSC-95 would never be built for customer teams as Holbert and Porsche intended.

Death and Afterwards

On September 30, 1988, Holbert was at the IMSA Columbus Ford Dealers 500. That evening, Holbert was fatally injured when his privately owned propeller driven Piper PA-60 aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff near Columbus, Ohiomarker when a clamshell door was not closed. Holbert successfully diverted his aircraft away from a group of houses it was heading toward. At the end of the season, the team was disbanded and IMSA would retire his race number 14.

Former Holbert Racing chief mechanic Kevin Doran later became a noted team owner. Son, Todd Holbert was also a mechanic, and is currently with Toyota developing their NASCAR Tundra and Camry vehicles.



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