Mark Donohue is considered by many as the finest competition driver that SCCA has produced. Beyond that, he exemplified the concept of the gentleman sportsmen that founded SCCA, even though he competed at the highest levels of motorsports. He was so well respected as a sportsman, a driver, and as a representative of SCCA, that he was awarded the Woolf Barnato Trophy in 1973. Donohue won three Club Racing National titles and the Kimberly Cup in the 1960’s.
Moving on to professional racing, he was twice USRRC Champion, three times Trans –Am champion and a Can-Am champion. He had considerable success in Endurance competition, including a memorable upset win of the Daytona 24 hours in 1969. He went on to win in Indy cars, including the Indy 500. He served as an officer for the Road Racing Drivers Club and the RRDC’s top award is named the Mark Donohue Cup and is given at the SCCA Runoffs where it is usually considered the second highest Runoffs award, behind the President’s Cup.
Donohue died representing America in Formula One, at the age of 38, and was an SCCA member to his death. Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of his death as a result of head injuries sustained during practice for the Austrian Grand Prix. Despite his shortened life, he is considered a legend and is still revered as one of the best in motorsports. A genius engineer and a marvelously professional driver.
To view a video featuring the Donohue/Follmer battle for the 1971 Trans Am Challenge Championship, click here.
Photo: Mark Donohue pilots the Penske Porsche 917/10 in Can-Am in the early 1970s, upsetting the dominance of McLaren.