Dan Gurney successfully competed in nearly every discipline of motor racing, becoming a road racing star in America and a popular Formula One driver. Gurney was born in 1931 in Port Jefferson, New York. He began racing professionally in 1957 and gained the attention of famed Ferrari importer Luigi Chinetti who arranged for Gurney to race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1958. His F1 career began in 1959 with Scuderia Ferrari and later BRM, where he battled against drivers like Stirling Moss, Jimmy Clark, and Phil Hill.
Gurney won a total of four F1 Grand Prix races, the last of which was the 1967 Belgian Grand Prix in the Eagle T1G, a car that Gurney had designed and built himself. Gurney remains the only American in modern F1 history to win an F1 Grand Prix in a car of his own construction. Gurney also won races in Indy Car, NASCAR, Trans-Am, Can-Am and finished second twice at the Indianapolis 500. Gurney’s versatility helped him become the first driver ever to win races in the four major categories of motorsports, a feat only 2005 AHF Inductee Mario Andretti has matched. One of Gurney’s signature wins was the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans, where he and 2007 AHF Inductee A.J. Foyt combined to deliver Ford a second consecutive victory. It was after that victory that Gurney started the tradition of spraying champagne into the crowd.
After his retirement in 1970, he founded the All-American Racers (AAR) and began designing and manufacturing racecars. AAR later partnered with Toyota to develop the GTP Toyota Eagle, which became legendary for its looks, speed, and reliability, winning 17 consecutive races from 1992 – 1993. Gurney also appeared in numerous movies about racing such as “A Man and a Woman” and “Grand Prix.” He was also part of the first “Cannonball Run,” which was a race across the United States in 1971 that was inspired by his friend and co-pilot Brock Yates. A skilled driver and a prolific engineer, Dan Gurney will always be one of the most respected names in motorsports.