LAT Archive: The life of Dan Gurney

With the deeply sad news that F1, Indy and NASCAR racing legend Dan Gurney has passed away, we reflect on his career as driver, team boss and all-round nice guy

LAT Archive: The life of Dan Gurney

Motorsport icon Dan Gurney has passed away: we look back at his extraordinary career.

His racing success was diverse, winning in a variety of sportscars, Formula 1 cars and in the way he developed revolutionary design elements that are still used across motorsport today.
Whether it’s his prowess at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife, for being the first person to spray champagne following a race win or in being the only driver feared by Jim Clark, it’s difficult to focus on just one area of his legacy.

In 86 grand prix starts he won four times, notably with three different teams. Drives with such revered constructors as Ferrari, Brabham and Porsche is testament to his ability in itself. But it was his final victory in F1 in 1967 with Anglo American Racers that is the most remarkable. It was with his own team and also set a record in that Gurney was the first driver to score maiden wins for three different teams.

He also was the first of three drivers (Mario Andretti and Juan Pablo Montoya have since matched the feat) to win in F1, IndyCar and NASCAR, while he also took the spoils in both Can-Am and Trans-Am series.

Following his retirement from racing Gurney focused full-time on AAR. 78 victories came, most notably winning the Indianapolis 500, the 12 Hours of Sebring, and the 24 Hours of Daytona.

A statement from his family and AAR team-mates said: '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 this earth, we say "Godspeed".

'...Smell the sea and feel the sky, let your soul and spirit fly into the mystic...'

1959 Portuguese Grand Prix. Monsanto, Lisbon, Portugal. 21-23 August 1959. In only his third race in F1 Dan Gurney drives his Ferrari Dino 246 to 3rd position.

1961 Syracuse Grand Prix. Syracuse, Sicily, Italy. 25 April 1961. Giancarlo Baghetti (Ferrari Dino 156) leads Dan Gurney (Porsche 718). They finished in 1st and 2nd positions respectively.

Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium. 12-14 June 1964. Jim Clark (Lotus 25-Climax) talks to Dan Gurney (Brabham BT7-Climax). Both had just run out of fuel but Clark had already finished in 1st position. At Clark's funeral his dad told Gurney that he was the only driver the Scot had ever feared.

Brands Hatch, England. 12th March 1967. Dan Gurney (Eagle T1G-Weslake), 1st position, with his 100 bottles of Champagne as a prize for winning, portrait.

1967 Le Mans 24 hours. Le Mans, France. 10-11 June 1967. Dan Gurney/AJ Foyt (Ford GT40 Mk4), 1st position. The bubble in the roof over the driver was built especially to accomodate Gurney's lofty frame.

1967 Belgian Grand Prix. Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium. 18 June 1967. Dan Gurney drives the Eagle AAR104-Weslake to his final win in F1.

24-25 July, 2015, Lakeville, Connecticut USA. Car and Driver magazine ran a campaign to get Dan Gurney elected as the US President.

Goodwood Estate, West Sussex England 12th - 16th September 2012 Dan Gurney Celebration

Images courtesy of LAT Archive

To read more about Dan Gurney visit Autosport's full tribute.

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