RIP Dan Gurney 1931-2018

| 15 Jan 2018
Dan Gurney obituary

American motorsport legend Dan Gurney, a man who conquered not just Formula 1 but also Le Mans, Indycar and NASCAR, has died at the age of 86.

Gurney was a true pioneer who built, raced and won in his own Formula 1 car – only the second ever driver to do so – as well as being the first ever to spray champagne on the podium and an early advocate of full-face helmets in top-flight motorsport. 

He also scored Porsche's debut (and only) F1 victory, in 1962, won twice for Brabham in 1964 and, most impressively of all, finished first in his own Eagle-Weslake at Spa in 1967.

Dan Gurney obituary

Remarkably, that 1967 Spa victory was achieved just a week after Gurney and teammate AJ Foyt unexpectedly won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a Ford GT40 MkIV, a race which concluded with the now-customary champagne-spraying-antics (pictured above).

In fact, among his many qualities and achievements, it was Gurney's seemingly effortless ability to switch from series to series which most impresses.

He raced in the Indianapolis 500 each year from 1962 to 1970, finishing second in 1968 and '69 and third in 1970, and won five times in NASCAR.

Meanwhile, his All American Racers team (called Anglo American Racers in F1), notched up a total of 78 wins over the years, and his self-designed Eagle cars also placed first for several other teams, most notably taking three Indy 500 wins in the '60s and '70s.

Dan Gurney obituary

Gurney's death, which followed complications from pneumonia, was announced by his wife Evi, who issued the following statement:

"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..."

(Pictures: LAT Images)