Alvah R. Holbert

Abington, PA

Al Holbert was the son of racecar driver Bob Holbert, who also ran a Volkswagen-Porsche dealership in Warrington, PA. While studying at Lehigh University, young Holbert worked for Roger Penske in nearby Reading, PA. in 1968, He graduated with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and soon began racing a C-Production Porsche 914/6 in SCCA’s Northeast Division against the likes of Bob Tullius’ Group 44 Triumphs and Bob Sharp Racing Datsuns. He turned professional in 1974, notching his first IMSA titles in 1976 and ’77 in a Dekon Monza. One of Porsche’s prep stages was checking out the Monza, the Stuttgart factory soon entering IMSA competition with Holbert in their stable.

The Dekon Monza

When Porsche was unable to homologate their 956 for the 1983 IMSA season, Holbert drove a March 83G with both Chevrolet and Porsche power to the GTP championship that year. He headed up the 1987-‘88 Porsche IndyCar program, previously having finished fourth in the 1984 Indy 500. A master of endurance racing, Holbert won the 24 Hours of LeMans three times (1983, ‘86 and ’87), the 24 Hours of Daytona twice (1986 and ’87) 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 team, Holbert Racing. He won back-to-back IMSA GTP championships in 1985 and ‘86 driving a Lowenbrau-sponsored Porsche 962, considered by many as the best-looking racecar of its era.

The beautiful Lowenbrau Porsche 962

By 1988, Holbert realized the venerable Porsche 962 was being outperformed by the latest racecars from Jaguar and Nissan.  His plan was to build an open top Porsche-powered racer for customer teams. That program was tragically nipped in the bud on Sept. 30, 1968, when Holbert perished in a crash of his Piper PA-60 shortly after take-off from Columbus (Ohio) International Airport.

He was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1993.

View full list of members