On January 14, 2018 the global motorsports community lost one of America’s greatest racing legends, Dan Gurney. We lost a legendary driver, innovator and gentleman. Dan touched almost every aspect of motorsport as a driver, manufacturer and owner. He will be missed though his presence will remain through his cars and the impact he had on those he met.
I first got the news via an Instagram post from racer Tommy Kendall:
Tributes from all over flooded social media with condolences and touching stories of Dan’s kindness.
Dan Gurney was a name us Americans have always associated with racing. He was an American road racer (Sports Car World Championship Series overseas and the Indianapolis, NASCAR, Can-Am and Trans-Am Series), popular Formula One driver, team owner and race car manufacturer.
In 2010 the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion honored Dan with a huge display of cars which attribute their success to Dan.
1960 Maserati Tipo 61 Birdcage raced by Dan Gurney and Stirling Moss.1967 Ford GT Mark IV, driven by Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt to victory in the 1967 Le Mans 24-hour race in France.
1968 Gurney McLeagle, McLaren M6B.1971 Cannonball Run record holding Ferrari Daytona driven by Dan Gurney and Brock Yates.1972 Gurney Eagle.1974 Gurney Jorgensen Eagle.1993 Eagle GTP Mk III Toyota.
His successes are legendary.
- First driver to achieve victories in the four leading motorsports categories: Grand Prix, Indy Car, NASCAR and Sports Cars.
- Gurney Eagles won at Indianapolis 500, 12 Hours of Sebring, 24 Hours of Daytona and on the F1 circuit.
- Only American to win an F1 championship race (1967 Belgium Grand Prix) in a car he built.
- Invented the Gurney Flap, a hinged or fixed device at the trailing edge of a wing, which can be, in majority of the cases, lowered to increase lift of the wing, the purpose being to keep the car on the road.
- Pioneered wearing a full face helmet in F1 and Indianapolis 500 in 1968.
- Introduced the champagne spray at the end of a race after winning LeMans in 1967.
This all around good guy was well liked by just about everybody he came into contact with. Dan Gurney was a true gentleman racer in every respect. For more on Dan and his contribution to motorsport visit All American Racers the design and construction facility founded by Dan and owned and operated by his family. Godspeed.