Dan Gurney


Daniel Sexton Gurney, was born April 13, 1931, in Port Jefferson, Long Island, to John Gurney, a Metropolitan Opera star and his wife Roma Sexton. As the grandson of F.W. Gurney, manufacturing magnate and inventor of the Gurney ball bearing, it made perfect sense.

Following Dan’s graduation from Manhasset High school in Long Island, his family moved to Riverside, California, where Dan developed his driving skills by weaving through Southern California orange groves. He graduated from Menlo Junior college and served two years with the United States Army, most of that time overseas in the Korean War.

More Dan has had 3 very successful careers:  Racing Driver;  Racecar Manufacturer / Inventor and long term team owner. He is the CEO of his company All American Racers. In 2002 he made his son Justin Gurney, General Manager.  AAR is involved in designing, engineering and manufacturing projects for the car, motorcycle and aviation industry. At the start of 2011 the company is employing 90 skilled craftsmen, engineers, and technicians.

Dan’s racing career, which started with a Triumph TR2 in 1955, spanned 15 years. During that time he became a top road racing star in America as well as one of the most popular F1 drivers of the era. He raced for the most prestigious Grand Prix teams of the time: Ferrari, Maserati, BRM, Porsche, Brabham and later EAGLE bringing a maiden F1 win to Porsche, Brabham (twice) and his own marque.

Gurney etched himself a place in racing lore with exciting battles against drivers like Stirling Moss, Jimmy Clark, John Surtees, Jack Brabham, Graham Hill, Phil Hill, Jackie Stewart and many others on the classic European road racing circuits like the Nuerburgring, the Targa Florio, Monaco, Le Mans and Spa Francorchamps. He drove with equal success in Formula 1 and the Sports Car World Championship Series overseas and the Indianapolis 500, NASCAR, Can-Am and Trans-Am Series at home in the US. The cars he drove and the races he participated in astonish in their variety, more astonishing is the fact that most of the time he pursued these different venues within the same season which made him a busy international world traveler year after year.

By the time Dan retired from active driving in 1970, he had raced in 312 events in 20 countries with 51 different makes (more than 100 different models) of cars winning 51 races, and 47 podiums. Among his most important victories: 7 Formula One races (four Grand Prix World Championship events), 7 Indy Car races, 5 NASCAR Winston Cup stock-car races (all 500 mile races in Riverside, California), and two second place finishes at the “Indy 500”.

Additionally he captured wins in Trans-Am, Can-Am and Sports car races including the endurance classics at the Nuerburgring, Daytona, Sebring and Le Mans. He claimed 42 career pole positions and started on the front row of the grid an additional an astonishing 58 times!

An avid reader of political and military history, Gurney loves old movies, opera, cigars, traveling to historical places and riding motorcycles. Gurney and his wife, Evi Butz Gurney, who was a junior executive in the public relations/press department of Porsche in Stuttgart, personal assistant to Huschke von Hanstein and a well-known motorsports journalist in Germany during the sixties, have been married since 1969. They have two sons and live in Newport Beach, California.

 

Posted in MEMOIRS.

Emilio Lezcano

Journalist - Editor - Photographer
Professional Race Car Driver

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