Robert ‘Bob’ Tullius is the founder of the famed Group 44 racing team, he won countless races, several championships and paved the way for sponsorship in modern racing. He is undeniably the best known and accomplished American racer of British sports cars. Tullius will be inducted on Friday into the British Sports Call Hall of Fame.
Tullius himself started racing in 1961 when he went to driving school in his TR3. After finishing first in driving school, he finished first or second in his first four races and nailed the points championship. From there he moved up to a TR4 provided by Triumph which he built into a race car with the help of fellow competitor Ed Diehl. Despite a few setbacks, his winning streak continued to the point that he left his day job, something most of us dream of, and formed Group 44.
As his bio with the SCCA states though, “His real vision, however, was in founding Group 44 Inc. In 1962, there was no model to follow – no prep shop, no race team servicing customers. Bob and his team worked with partners Triumph, MG, British Leyland, Quaker State and Goodyear to create a first class, professional organization. Group 44 took their cars to local dealerships surrounding race and promoted the event and their team through print media, television and radio promotions. Local dealers attended races as guests and saw Group 44 racers deliver hundreds of wins and 10 SCCA National Championships. So successful was Group 44 that they brought Jaguar back to Le Mans for the first time in 27 years.”
Bob Tullius ran one of the most successful road racing teams from the 1960s through the ’80s. What’s better is that he ran many of our favorite cars such as MGB, Midget, Spitfire, TR3, TR4, TR6, GT6, TR7, TR8, and XKE.
During his Group 44 Inc.’s 25-year run, they celebrated nearly 300 overall victories while competing in three of the toughest road racing series in America: SCCA Club Racing, IMSA GTP endurance events, and SCCA Trans-Am pro contests.
Group 44’s 25-Year Race Record:
14 SCCA national titles
3 Trans-Am championships
Total of almost 300 race wins
11 IMSA race wins
Bob Tullius’ Racing Timeline:
1961: Goes to driving school with his TR3 and wins his first race.
1962: Wins first championship in TR3 and gets first factory car from Triumph, a TR4.
1964: Wins the first American Road Race of Champions at Riverside in a TR4.
1965: Forms Group 44 Inc. in Falls Church, Virginia. Wins 9 of 11 races in his TR4 plus SCCA regional championship.
1966: Wins the first-ever Trans-Am race, held at Sebring, in a Dodge Dart.
1967: Wins the Trans-Am race at Daytona in the Dodge Dart.
1975: Wins 12 of 17 races in SCCA B Production and the national championship in a Jaguar V12 XKE. Wins the SCCA National at Lime Rock in a Jaguar XJS, setting the B Production lap record.
1977 & ’78: Wins Trans-Am Series in a Jaguar XJS.
1983: Takes second in the IMSA championship in a Jaguar XJR-5.
1984 & ’85: Competes in Le Mans 24-hour race in a Jaguar XJR-5.
1986: Retires from racing with a last race victory.
1990: Racing operations end for Group 44.
Note: This is part of an ongoing series focusing on the 23 individuals who will be inducted into the British Sports Car Hall of Fame in ceremonies on June 2nd, 2017, at the Hall of Fame in Petersburg, VA.