Dan Gurney 1931–2018: In Memory of a Racing Legend

American racing legend and champion Dan Gurney dies, 86.

George Angelopoulos By: George Angelopoulos January 15, 2018

The entire motorsport community was undoubtedly saddened to hear of the passing of American motorsport icon Dan Gurney yesterday aged 86, from complications due to pneumonia. One of motorsport’s maestros, Gurney stood on the top step many times in his vibrant career in Formula 1, IndyCar, Le Mans, Can-Am, Trans-Am and NASCAR. He was the first driver ever to win races in Formula 1, NASCAR and IndyCar; An achievement that has been equalled only twice by other drivers: Mario Andretti and Juan Pablo Montoya.

Raised in Southern California but born in New York, Gurney was known to be one of the fastest and multifaceted drivers in the sport’s history.

In 1967, partnered with AJ Foyt, he won the Le Mans 24 Hours for Ford. He was a pioneer outside the cars he piloted too – being responsible for starting the now common and frankly- mandatory podium celebrations by spraying champagne!

Gurney started 86 races in Formula 1 for several top teams (Ferrari, BRM, Brabham, McLaren, Porsche, Lotus and Eagle) claiming 4 victories. No small feat considering the legendary drivers of the era – Jim Clark and Graham Hill to name a couple. Gurney ran the racing team All American Racers using the Eagle name. One of those victories came at the wheel of his own equipment at the 1967 Belgian grand prix.

These two victories were made all the more remarkable by the fact they occurred one week apart. Gurney was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, the Sebring International Raceway Hall of Fame, and the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.

Dan Gurney
By Harry PotNationaal Archief Fotocollectie Anefo, CC BY-SA 3.0 nl, Link

The Gurney family have issued the following statement:

“With one last smile on his handsome face, Dan drove off into the unknown just before noon today, (Sunday) January 14, 2018. In deepest sorrow, with gratitude in our hearts for the love and joy you have given us during your time on this earth, we say ‘Godspeed.’”

He is survived by his wife Evi, and sons Justin, Alex, Jimmy and Dan Jr. According to Gurney’s wishes, his funeral will be private.

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