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Al Holbert–Double Duty: IMSA & TransAm

Photos and story by Harry Kennison

In the mid 70's there were two major national racing series: the IMSA series and the TransAm. Although there were a few regulatory differences between the two series and considerable competition, a Porsche RSR was definitely the weapon of choice.

Al Holbert was born in 1946 and was the son of Bob Holbert, a highly successful Porsche racer who ran a Porsche dealership in Warrington, Pennsylvania. He worked part time for Roger Penske while attending Lehigh University where he graduated in 1968. In addition to his dad, Al picked up a lot of driving tips from one Mark Donohue, Indy 500 winner, TransAm champion, CanAm champion, and F-1 competitor.

In 1975 he piloted his #14 Porsche RSR to five IMSA wins including the round held at the scenic Mid-Ohio road course where he started fourth on the grid. In addition to stiff competition from his Porsche rival Peter Gregg, Al would also have to contend with the factory BMW effort featuring 3.0 CSLs driven by Hans Stuck and Sam Posey. In the end, Al's familiar blue Porsche would emerge victorious. This was but one of his five victories that year en route to 3rd in the championship.

Later that same year, he would finish third in the TransAm in his Porsche RSR, despite a severe horsepower disadvantage to the big-block Corvettes and Cameros.

Before his untimely death in 1988 in a small private-plane accident near Columbus, Ohio, Al racked up three Le Mans victories, two Daytona 24 Hour wins, and two Sebring victories; and he was named to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.

 


  Click on any photo to enlarge it

Al Holbert driving his Porsche RSR to victory in the 1975 IMSA race at Mid-Ohio.

Holbert starts his Porsche (14) in fourth spot behind the two BMWs of Hans Stuck (25) and Sam Posey (24) and his Porsche rival, Peter Gregg (59).

Al Holbert shows the way through the Mid-Ohio esses with Peter Gregg in the Brumos Porsche close behind.

Holbert leads the Porsche of Ludwig Heimrath (74) down the ultra-fast Moraine Sweep en route to a 3rd place finish at the 1975 Elkhart Lake TransAm race.

Al Holbert takes his victory lap at Mid-Ohio after winning the 1975 IMSA GT race in his Porsche RSR.

 

Holbert muscles his way around the 454-cubic-inch Camero of Warren Shafer during the 1975 Mid-Ohio IMSA GT race en route to victory.