It is with great sadness that we share the news of Phil Moore’s passing. Phil was a long time member of the Lotus community, and Australian Sportscar Champion. Please read on for a few words remembering Phil, with thanks to Andrew Stevens.
Vale: Phil Moore
It is with great regret that I pass on news of the death last week of Phil Moore, racing driver, long time Lotus enthusiast, and all-round nice guy. His email address was a nod to his prowess in sports cars, and his early allegiance to Elfin Sports Cars, the Edwardstown racing and sports car manufacturer established by Garry Cooper. He was one of the last links to the earliest days of Lotus in Australia, with involvement back to the ’60s.
He acquired his Lotus 7 back in 1967, and first rose to prominence on the car racing scene in 1970 at the wheel of an Elfin 300C sports car, finishing second outright in the three round Australian Sports Car Championship. The following year, he and his friend Henry Michel upgraded to near identical Elfin 360 Repco sports cars, powered by 2.5 litre Repco V8s made redundant by the change of Tasman series to F5000. Phil and Henry became known as the “Elfin 360 Repco twins”, with their white cars parked side by side in the pits, and competing in the increasingly competitive championship against the likes of John Harvey, Alan Hamilton, Frank Matich and Lionel Ayers.
In 1972, Moore finished third, behind Harvey in the Bob Jane McLaren, and Hammo in the works Porsche 906, with Michel equal fourth. In 1973, Phil engaged in a season long duel with Lionel Ayers (5 litre Repco powered Renmax) in the Australian Sports Car Championship. They went into the final round, a night meeting at Oran Park with Phil holding a one point advantage. He went on to win his fourth round for the year, securing the championship.
In 1974, his friend Michel won the championship as Phil competed in the Australian Drivers Championship (Gold Star), in a third Ansett Team Elfin MR5 F5000. In a field that boasted Kevin Bartlett, Max Stewart, Elfin boss Cooper, John McCormack, John Leffler and Warwick Brown, Phil finished third overall, the best placed of the Ansett Elfin team drivers.
While Phil didn’t pursue his top line career further, he never lost the bug, and continued to enjoy a range of fast sports cars, on track and at tarmac rallies, including the Targa Tasmania. He was a regular participant in the monthly Lotus runs in his very tidy and “not quite standard” Lotus 7, turning up in his well-used yellow driving jacket and flying helmet, usually sporting a big grin. Phil delighted in telling people that he’d owned the 7 for 53 continuous years, and of the joy that driving it gave him. He was sharp as a tack, and could regale interested listeners with stories from the earliest days of Lotus in Australia. He continued to enjoy the midweek “spirited” drives with his Sporting Car Club mates, and was always good for a chat, or to correct the record about his racing history.
RIP Phil. Our condolences to your family and friends.