Dan Gurney 1931-2018


It's never pleasant to begin a Monday morning with news of a death in motorsport, particularly when it's a driver as revered, as popular and as celebrated as Dan Gurney. Sadly however Dan lost his battle with pneumonia yesterday, at the age of 86.

"With one last smile on his handsome face, Dan drove off into the unknown just before noon today, January 14, 2018. In deepest sorrow, with gratitude in our hearts for the love and joy you have given us during your time on earth, we say 'Godspeed'", was the tribute paid to Gurney by his wife Evi and the rest of his family. That has been joined by numerous dedications across social media from those involved in all areas of motorsport.

Gurney's motorsport career began in earnest with a Le Mans drive for a Ferrari in 1958, which was followed by a successful first year in Formula 1 with Maranello. Having taken Porsche's first (and only) F1 win in 1962, Gurney raced for Brabham and achieved that team's maiden victory too. When Gurney formed the 'All-American Racers' (AAR) F1 team, he took its first triumph as well, at Belgium in 1967. He was the second most successful American Formula 1 driver ever, behind Mario Andretti.


Of course Gurney's talent was in his flexibility, his ability to drive a wide variety of cars very quickly indeed. He was of an era when that was more typical, but Gurney was the first person to ever win races in sportscars, F1, NASCAR and Indycar, all in a nine-year period. The only other drivers to have achieved this feat in the 50 years since have been Mario Andretti and Juan Pablo Montoya.

Since his retirement from racing Gurney enjoyed a successful period as a team owner, with race victories for All American Racers in the Indy 500, 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring. Furthermore, an alliance with Toyota proved fruitful for AAR, the Eagle MkIII - designed by AAR, powered by Toyota - winning 17 consecutive races during the early 90's IMSA GTP series.

Dan Gurney is survived by his four sons, Jimmy, Justin, Dan Jr. and Alex, as well as his wife Evi. The funeral will be a private, family affair, and in lieu of flowers they have asked that people consider donations to Hoag Hospital Foundation in Newport Beach, California. The thoughts and condolences of everyone at PistonHeads are with Dan Gurney's family at this incredibly difficult time.

PHers are already discussing Dan Gurney's passing - join the conversation and tributes here.

 

 

 

 

[Sources: Wikipedia, Autosport, Motorsport,LAT Photo]