John Buffum

john-buffum-at-the-1986-olympus-rally
(C) John P. Burrows
Personal information
Nationality flag American
Born  October 4th 1943
World Rally Championship record
Active years 1973~1974, 1976~1984, 1986~1988, 2000
Teams Audi
Rallies 17
Championships 0
Rally wins 0
Podiums 2
Stage wins 14
Total points 38
First rally 1973 Press-on-Regardless Rally (US)
First win
Last win
Last rally 2000 TAP Rallye de Portugal

INTRODUCTION

John Buffum (born October 4th 1943, in Wallingford, Connecticut, USA) is the most successful U.S. rally driver ever, winning 11 national titles and 117 national championship events. In his lengthy career, he competed in but a few select WRC international rallies, managing 2 podiums out of 17 events.

GROUP B RESULTS

(# = finish position / R = retired or DNF / = did not compete)

Y TEAM EVENT PTS
Monaco
MC
Sweden
SE
Portugal
PT
Kenya
KE
France
FR
Greece
GR
New Zealand
NZ
Brazil
BR
Finland
FI
Italy
IT
Ivory Coast
CI
United Kingdom
GB
82 Audi 12 0
Y Team Event pts
Monaco
MC
Sweden
SE
Portugal
PT
Kenya
KE
France
FR
Greece
GR
New Zealand
NZ
Argentina
AR
Finland
FI
Italy
IT
Ivory Coast
CI
United Kingdom
GB
83 Audi 6 6
84 Audi 5 R 8
85 0
86 Audi United States
US 3
86 pts 12

BIO (~1986)

In 1964, when a fraternity brother at Middlebury College convinced John Buffum to navigate a time-speed-distance rally with him in a borrowed MGA, the most famous rally career in U.S. motorsports was born.

Buffum married Vicki Gauntlett in 1966, and she was his co-driver in TSD events, including a 10th that year in the Press on Regardless event in a Mini-Cooper. In 1967, Buffum co-drove for Tim Gold – also in a Mini – to a win in the New England Winter Rally.

After graduating from college and enlisting in the Army as a mechanical engineer, Buffum was sent to Germany as a second lieutenant in a bridge-building company of the Corps of Engineers. It was there that he saw all-out, World Rallying for the first time, and bought a Porsche 911T to compete in both regional and international rallies. In 1969, he drove to a 12th place finish at Monte Carlo, sharing the driving chores with American roadracer Steve “Yogi” Behr.

The sport of PRO Rally did not exist in the U.S. when Buffum returned from Europe in 1970, and since the speed sensation he had experienced in Europe did not exist in TSD events, Buffum tried his hand at IMSA and SCCA road racing. Buffum formed his own racing company – Libra Racing – and competed both in a Mini Cooper and an English Ford Escort. He shared the driving cockpit with the likes of George Follmer, Steve Behr and Brett Lunger -and had some top 10 finishes in a BMW CSL, but didn’t have the budget (or the right car – which was a Porsche Carrera RSR at the time) to crack the winner’s circle.

By the mid-70’s, performance rallying was taking roots in the U.S., and, despite the fact that John and Vicki divorced in 1974, they stayed together as a rally team. They started together in a Porsche in 1975, but it was 1976 that proved to be the pivotal year. The pair won two U.S. rallies and a Canadian event, sweeping to the NARRA national championship, and being edged out of the SCCA championship by Hendrik Blok/Erick Hauge. It was during this period when Buffum’s driving style started to mature, as he went from the reckless mode which earned him the nickname “Stuff’em Buffum” to his championship mode.

Buffum became known for his ability to take charge of the ever-changing conditions of a rally course, his photographic memory of roads and turns, and his ability to drive with abandon to post the fastest time, but with enough competition sense to finish the event.

For four years starting in 1977, Buffum drove factory Triumph TR-7s and TR-8s, and picked up Doug Shepherd as a co-driver. The pair dominated both the SCCA PRO Rally series and the North America Rally Championship until British Leyland dropped out of racing in the U.S. In 1981, they tried running Audi 80 and Peugeot 504 racers, but could not keep up with Rod Millen’s factory Mazda RX-7 rally entries.

In 1982, however, when Audi supplied Buffum and Shepherd with its new Audi quattro racers, they were unstoppable. Millen would get a faster RX-7, and Buffum would counter with quattro A2, then a Sport quattro and up the ante again. He would also rally occasionally in Europe, where, in 1983, he became the first and only American to win a European Championship event (1983 Sachs Rally in Germany and the 1984 ERC event in Cyprus).

In 1986, he participated in the very last rally of the Group B era, the Olympus Rally in the US, clinching 3rd place at his home country’s event with Audi. He would also participate in the Pikes Peak hillclimb for the German team.

SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Buffum & http://www.rallyracingnews.com/teams/bio-jb.html


spell checked, translated, and modified (additions or abridged), by Jay Auger – website owner & author


PHOTOS & VIDEO

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Special Thanks to:

  • John P. Burrows (picture)
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