Mark Donohue’s Elva Racing Records

Sometime ago, January 13, 2011 to be specific, I posted a brief story on this website on the Elva Courier which was the late Mark Donohue’s first race car.  Gary Cossaboon recently saw that post and we exchanged several email messages on that topic.


A Young Mark Donohue With His Elva Courier

As a young boy Gary would go to the original track in Vineland, New Jersey during the period when Mark Donohue was racing his Elva.  Now Gary Cossaboon has his own Elva Courier which is tribute to Mark Donohue.

Courier 66L  at NJMP show  2-2012

Gary Cossaboon’s 1959 Elva Courier

As an Elva Courier enthusiast, Gary Cossaboon has put together a race record for Mark Donohue when he was racing his Elva Courier.  Gary sent me a very detailed record of Donohue’s Elva Courier race record for the years 1960 and 1961.  I have summarized Gary’s extensive record and any mistakes in the records below are all mine.

The race records below are for Donohue’s first year of racing, 1960.

Track Position Date
First   race:Limerock, CT P   4 April   23, 1960
First   win: Marlborough, MD P   1 June   5, 1960
Vineland,   NJ P   1 June   11-12, 1960
Watkins   Glen, NY P   1 June   25, 1960
Limerock,   CT P   1 July   2, 1960
Vineland,   NJ P   2 July   24, 1960
Montgomery,   NY P   2 August   6-7, 1960
Vineland,   NJ P   1/DNF August   21, 1960
Thompson,   CT P   1 September   5, 1960
Watkins   Glen, NY P   1 September   22, 1960
Watkins   Glen, NY P   5 September   24, 1960
Thompson,   CT P   2 October   9, 1960
Vineland,   NJ P   1 November   6, 1960

As you can see, Mark Donohue did very well considering that he was a rookie racer in 1960.

In 1960, the Elva Courier competed in the F Production Class.  Some of the other cars that were competing in F Production in 1960 were as follows:

  • Austin-Healey Sprite
  • Berkeley (692cc)
  • Denzel 1300 Super
  • Deutsch-Bonnet (750cc and 850cc)
  • Fairthorpe Electron Mk. II
  • Fiat-Abarth 750 Record Monza (DOHC)
  • Elva Courier (1500cc and 1600cc)
  • MGA (1500 and 1600)
  • Mercedes-Benz 190SL
  • Porsche 1300, 1300 Super, 1500, and 1600
  • Siata 208S
  • Turner 950 Sports

Many of the cars that Donohue and his Elva competed against in 1960 listed above were built by manufacturers who no longer exist.  In 1961, the Elva Courier was moved up from F Production to compete in E Production.  Some of the cars that were in the E Production in that era were as follows:

  • A.C. Ace and Aceca
  • Alfa Romeo Veloce, Super, Spider, and 2000
  • Austin-Healey 100 (4 cyl.) and 100-6
  • Daimler SP250
  • Fiat 1500 Spider
  • Lancia Aurelia GT and Spider
  • Lotus Elite
  • MGA Twin Cam
  • Porsche 1500 Super and 1600 Super
  • Triumph TR2, TR3, and TR3A
  • Turner-Climax

In 1961 Mark Donohue had the following race record while racing in the E Production class.

Track Result Date
Vineland,   NJ April 9, 1961
Marlborough,   MD P   1 April 16, 1961
Danville,   VA P   1 April   30, 1961
Cumberland,   MD P   1 May   14, 1961
Bridgehampton,   NY P   1 May   28, 1961
Vineland,   NJ P   1/DNF June   11, 1961
Limerock,   CT P   1 July   1, 1961
Meadowvale,   IL P   1 July   23, 1961
Bridgehampton,   NY P   1 August   5, 1961
Thompson,   CT DNF-12 September   4, 1961
Vineland,   NJ September 10, 1961
Watkins   Glen, NY P   5 September   22, 1961
Daytona,   FL

As a result of the above record, Mark Donohue was crowned the 1961 Sports Car Club of America E Production Class Champion.  A great result for both Mark Donohue and the Elva Courier.

In addition to cars that Donohue raced against that are no longer around, he raced on some tracks that no longer exist or are different now from the way they were in 1960.  In a book written in 1960 by William S. Stone “A Guide To American Sports Car Racing” he outlined some of the major tracks of that time.  The following images of these tracks come from that book.


Bridgehampton, NY Race Track


Cumberland, MD Race Track


Lime Rock, CT Race


Marborough, MD Race Track


Montgomery, NY Race Track


Thompson, CT Race Track


Vineland, NJ Race Track


Danville, VA Race Track


Glen, NY Race Track

It is interesting to look back at the early days, including the cars and race tracks, in the career of one of America’s greatest race drivers.

For the detailed race record of Mark Donohue that was prepared by Gary Cossaboon see the attached file below:

Donohue and Courier 1960-61

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7 Responses to Mark Donohue’s Elva Racing Records

  1. Scott Schulz says:

    Steve stumbled across your site and read Gary’s file of race results for Mark in 60-61. As mentioned Lou Schulz prepared the car for Mark in those years and was my grandfather. I remember going with him to Lime Rock a few times and hanging out in the pits which was a thrill for me. Thank you for your entry and memories.

  2. Ken says:

    I went to the Goodwood Revival in England last weekend. There was a single seat open wheel car marked as a 1961 Elva that was driven by “Mark Donohue. I am not sure if this information is correct about the car considering Mark drove a street version of an Elva according to your website. As a young man I watched Mark race at Vineland NJ. Please correct your spelling of the town in your website Marlboro race way was in Upper Marlboro, MD Part of the original track is still there.

    • Hi Ken,
      Thanks for the information. With respect to the reference about the Marlboro rate track, I understood that the track was referred to as the “Marlboro” track located in Maryland not with any municipal name reference. I will make the change in the post in a day or so, as I get time.
      I hope that you enjoyed Goodwood!
      Steve McKelvie

    • Mark sold the Courier in fall 1961, having done as much as he could with the now tired car. He moved to a rear-engine formula junior Elva 300, probably the car you saw. As the prototype, it suffered horrible reliability record. Mark was no where near as successful with this Elva, so bounced around rides in 1962 and 1963 including TVR, Daimler SP250, and MGB. Most were drives with other car owners, climbing up to Hansgen and Penske “pro” status. A 289 Cobra and Mustang were his last production class SCCA rides.

      Mark’s book “The Unfair Advantage” is back in print 2000 and a great read.

      • Hi Gary,
        Good to hear from you; it has been a while. Your knowledge of Mark Donohue’s racing record is unmatched.
        Steve McKelvie

      • Vic says:

        FJ 300/001 Ford

        Goodwood Revival 2017 andrew-hibberd elva-ford mark donohue.jpg

      • Hi Vic. The WordPress software does not seem to allow attachments with comments. If you send me the image of this car at my email address – shanna12 at comcast dot net then I will post it directly on my website.
        Steve McKelvie

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