Dan Gurney, one of racing’s most well-respected stars, has sadly passed away aged 86. The American driver was renowned not only for his numerous successes behind the wheel in a variety of disciplines but also as an innovator who had a great influence on the development of motorsport for many years.
Gurney was a winner of four Formula One Grands Prix and drove for almost all of the sport’s most iconic teams including Ferrari, McLaren, Porsche, Brabham and Lotus. Perhaps the most impressive triumph, however, came in a car of his own construction – the stunning Eagle-Weslake – at the 1967 Belgian Grand Prix.
He also drove to victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans that same year and, during the podium celebrations, spontaneously sprayed champagne – an action that would lead to one of motor sport’s most recognisable traditions and ensure an eternal legacy that plays out after every race all around the world.
As well as competing at the very highest levels in Formula One and Sports Cars, Gurney drove to many successes in both NASCAR and IndyCar, as well as many other series in the United States.
Gurney will also be long remembered for the technical innovations he brought to the sport, including most famously the ‘Gurney flap’ which increases downforce without great cost to aerodynamic drag.
FIA President Jean Todt said: “I would like to pay tribute to Dan Gurney, he was a great driver who truly inspired my love of motor sport, and I was very fortunate that he became a good friend. We owe a lot to his character and his innovations, and I know that motor sport would not be what it is today without him. My thoughts, and those of the whole FIA family, are with his loved ones at this difficult time.”
eom/FIA press release