George Follmer

Phil Hill in #65 “high-wing” Chaparral 2E-Chevrolet leads Graham Hill in #3 Lola T70-Chevy and Chris Amon in the red factory-entered #5 McLaren- Chevy. The #16 car is George Follmer in another Lola T70-Chevy. Photo from tamsoldracecarsite.net

As a racer, George Follmer was so dominant that he is often forgotten in history. He won so often that many people thought that the series just didn’t have any talent in it and that Follmer was the big fish in a little pond. There is some truth in that. Follmer is a great racer and most experts think he was the best road racer of the 1970’s. 

At age 29, his amazing career started later, yet covered more types of cars and racing venues than most racers. It is estimated that Follmer has driven over 50 different cars during his racing career. 

Because he could hop into any car, anytime, and make it instantly successful – he was called “the Wheel Man.”

Follmer stunned the racing community in 1965 by winning the United States Road Racing Championship against a heavily favored Jim Hall and the Chaparral. After that, championships were decided as soon as Follmer entered the series.

This photograph of George Follmer was taken in 1973 at Nürburgring during practice for the German Grand Prix (Formula 1). Photo by Raimund Kommer.

This photograph of George Follmer was taken in 1973 at Nürburgring during practice for the German Grand Prix (Formula 1). Photo by Raimund Kommer.

The recently released book, “Follmer/American Wheel Man” covers the career of George Follmer from his childhood to present day. Award-winning author Tom Madigan explores all aspects of George’s career and life resulting in an interesting journey over several countries. During this journey, George wins several championships and victories in some of racing’s most legendary forms of racing. George explains the challenge of being placed in the 1,000 plus horsepower Porsche 917/10 for his first test at a track he had never seen before. 

He would go on to win the Can-Am and Trans-Am championships in that year (1972), a feat never accomplished by any other driver. Tom includes interviews with Jim Hall, Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones, Sam Posey, Jim Busby and others in illustrating George’s career.

The 336-page book is illustrated with 282 black-and-white and color photographs. The large 9” by 12” format opens to 12” by 18” two-page spreads. This format is utilized with numerous full and two-page photo spreads. Also included are forewords by Roger Penske and Parnelli Jones, who were George’s car owner and teammate, respectively.

George Follmer in 1976. Photo from www.myf5000.com

Follmer/American Wheel Man is available through specialty motoring booksellers and directly from the publisher. Orders can be made by visiting the Web site at www.follmerbook.com.

Just a few of the notable accomplishments of George Follmer:

  • The only winner of the Can-Am and Trans-Am championship in the same year
  • The only winner of an IndyCar race driving a stock-block Chevy powered car
  • During his time in NASCAR he posted three top five and five top ten finishes in twenty races
  • 2 time Trans-Am champion
  • He has won in every form of racing he has ever driven
  • Scored a 3rd place finish in his second Formula 1 race at the age of 39

About the Author

Tom Madigan is no desk-bound automotive writer, having spent the last 45 years in the midst of the high performance automotive culture. Tom was the 2005 winner of the Motor Press Guild’s coveted Dean Batchelor Award for his book, Edelbrock: Made in the USA, the story of the famous Edelbrock family, Vic senior and Vic junior, and their iconic high performance business.

Tom was the owner/driver of a Fuel dragster in the 1960s before joining Argus Publishing Company in 1967, where he quickly became the editor of Motorcade magazine. Later in his Argus career he became the feature editor for Popular Hot Rodding magazine, and then the editor of Off-road magazine. After nine years, Tom left Argus to start his own company, Tom Madigan Productions. His client list soon included Petersen Publishing Company, and he provided articles for Hot Rod, Motor Trend and Car Craft, and also wrote many Petersen “one shot” publications. Tom created the “Concours Automotive Video Series” and wrote many of the episodes featuring Tony Nancy. He also teamed with Dave Marcus to produce a NASCAR episode for the TV program, “Those Who Dare.”

Over the years, Tom has authored many definitive books in print for some of the nation’s top racers and performance industry giants: The Loner/The Story of a Drag Racer; Boss/The Bill Stroppe Story; Edelbrock/Made in USA; Fuel & Guts/The Birth of Top Fuel Drag Racing; Snake vs. Mongoose/How a Rivalry Changed Drag Racing Forever; Hurricane/The Bob Hannah Story; The Chrisman Legacy/Always Faster; and now Follmer/American Wheel Man.

justice-brothers-logoAbout the Publisher

ejje Publishing Group is dedicated to producing the best books in the automotive world. Founded by Ed Justice, Jr., and his wife Susan, after discovering that significant history was being ignored by mainstream automotive publishers. ejje exists to help fill a void in the preservation of significant racing and automotive history.

As a member of a history making automotive family, Ed Justice, Jr., has a deep appreciation for those who have created the automotive world we live in today. Ed is also a well-known and respected motorsports photographer whose work has been published throughout books and magazines. As an award-winning radio host he has interviewed thousands of racing legends and leaders in the automotive world either as the Host or Co-Host of ROAD & TRACK radio, CAR and DRIVER radio and MOTOR TREND radio. Ed is the recipient of the Motor Press Guild/Dean Batchelor Best of the Year award. The only radio host/on-air personality bestowed with this honor.

Ed is the owner of Justice Brothers, Inc. in Duarte, California where he also has his world renowned private collection of automobiles. . .where Route 66 lovers gather. 

ejje has previously published the highly acclaimed book, The Chrisman Legacy/Always Faster. Follmer/American Wheel Man is their second book. Please visit www.ejjeus.com for more information.