SUPERFORMANCE REMEMBERS OUR FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE, RACING LEGEND DAN GURNEY
Posted on Wednesday 01-17-2018
SUPERFORMANCE REMEMBERS OUR FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE, RACING LEGEND DAN GURNEY January 17, 2018 (IRVINE, CA) - The automotive and racing world lost one of its last legitimate living legends on January 14, 2018. Dan Gurney’s racing résumé is surpassed by few, but Superformance came to know him as a friend and neighbor working together. Dan’s easygoing personality and approachable nature gave few clues that he was one of the only drivers in motorsport to win in almost every major series. In a career that spanned nearly every major race series of the day, Gurney won them all: DAN GURNEY MOTORSPORTS HIGHLIGHTS • Seven Formula One victories – including Porsche’s first  and a 1967 win in Gurney’s own AAR car; Gurney is still the only American to ever win an F1 championship race in a car of their own design. Victories include Ballarat, Solitude, French Grand Prix, Monaco, Brands Hatch, and Belgium. • Five NASCAR victories: consecutive wins at his home track in Riverside as part of the Motor Trend 500 Riverside race from 1963 - 1968. • Seven IndyCar wins: victories include 1967 Rex Mays 300, 2 wins in 1968 at Mosport Park, 1968 Rex Mays 300, 1969 Indy Raceway, 1969 Brainerd, and a 1970 Sears Point victory. • Remarkably, Dan came in second in the 1968 and 1969 Indy 500 races in his Gurney Eagle, another car that he designed. • Only Mario Andretti and Juan Pablo Montoya are in his company to ever claim wins in auto racing’s four major series. Dan’s prodigious sports car expertise – specifically his driving tenure with the 1963-1967 Shelby American/Ford team – put Superformance in touch with him many years ago thanks to the classic Shelby continuation cars. Dan’s notable Shelby Cobra victories included Bridgehampton in 1963 and three 1964 wins: Le Mans (with Bob Bondurant), Targa Florio (with Jerry Grant) and Goodwood. “He was truly just a fantastic man in all aspects, and I loved him dearly from the heart,” Gurney’s Le Mans Teammate Bob Bondurant reflected on Dan’s passing. “He always made me laugh every single time we spoke.” Following an overall win in a Ford GT40 Mk IV at the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans with A.J. Foyt (the only all-American effort to ever cross the finish line first), Gurney added to his legacy with an impromptu champagne-spray celebration. Countless racers subsequently adopted this iconic move. Whenever a victorious athlete sprays champagne, few realize its origins began with Gurney’s victory. Dan retired from race-car driving in 1970. However, Car and Driver Editor Brock Yates convinced him to participate in one final endurance race: the inaugural Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash in 1971. Gurney and Yates won the event, driving a Ferrari Daytona from New York to Los Angeles in 35 hours and 54 minutes. Thanks to the Cannonball lore, Dan became better known to the average American post-retirement than during his actual racing career. The Cannonball Run became popularized in myriad Hollywood films and in other entertainment in the years after. As a team owner, Gurney’s All American Racing (AAR) efforts claimed 78 victories in open-wheel and sports car races. The company created some 158 Gurney Eagles for Formula, IndyCar, IMSA, Trans-Am and Can-Am racing. In 2002, AAR produced 36 highly collectible Gurney Alligator motorcycles. Still successfully operating today, the company’s advancements in the racing and aviation industries are ongoing under CEO Justin Gurney, Dan’s eldest son. In 2017, Lance Stander from Superformance was honored to work with Justin Gurney to present a 1963 Sebring Cobra tribute car to his dad. Fifteen periodcorrect continuation cars were created to honor the four Cobras that Shelby American debuted at the 1963 Sebring 12-Hour Grand Prix of Endurance race. One of the beautiful black/yellow #15 cars in Dan Gurney’s livery was created just for him. The process was a joy for all involved, a fantastic project for an incredible family as well as a memorable gift for a legendary competitor and personality in motorsport. “Motor racing has been very kind to me,” Gurney wrote for the New York Times in 1975. “It has exposed me and those around me to a wide spectrum of experiences, from utter tragedy to intoxicating joy and happiness.” The “Gurney Bubble” on the classic GT40 is one of many physical reminders of a 6’4” gentleman who was a giant in the racing world. We at Superformance and the automotive community are better at what we do and aspire to even greater things thanks to Dan Gurney. Both on and off the track, Dan contributed so much to us as a driver, a designer, engineer, but most importantly and fondly, as a person. His accomplishments on the track were only overshadowed by his kindness as a human being. Long may Dan Gurney’s legend live on as a reminder of what is possible in this great industry we are so lucky to be in. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Evi, Justin, Alex, Jimmy and Dan Jr.