Dan Gurney Biography: Daniel Sexton Gurney was an American racing driver, race car builder, and team owner who became famous in the sport in 1958. Gurney has won races in Formula One, Indy Car, NASCAR, Can-Am, and Trans-Am.
Dan Gurney Biography
Dan Gurney Biography: John R. “Jack” Gurney and Roma Sexton gave birth to Gurney. His father got a master’s degree from Harvard Business School. Dan’s three uncles were all MIT graduates. His grandpa, F.W. Gurney, was the man behind the design of the Gurney Ball Bearing. Celissa was his only sibling. After taking vocal training in Paris, Jack was discovered to have an incredible voice. He changed his professional path to become lead basso with the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York, retiring in 1947. When Dan was a teenager, fresh out of Manhasset High School, Jack moved his family to Riverside, California.
Dan was instantly drawn into the California hot rod scene. He created and raced an automobile that drove 138 miles per hour (mph) (222 kilometers per hour [km/h]) at the Bonneville Salt Flats when he was 19 years old. He later attended Menlo Junior College, a feeder school for Stanford University. He then took up drag racing and sports car racing as a hobby. During the Korean War, he served two years as an artillery mechanic in the United States Army.
Dan Gurney Wiki
|Date Of Birth||April 13, 1931|
|Birth Place||Port Jefferson, New York, U.S.|
|Died||January 14, 2018|
Dan Gurney Cause of Death
Gurney died in 2018 from pneumonia at the age of 86.
Dan Gurney Career
Gurney got his big break in the fall of 1957 when he was asked to test Frank Arciero’s Arciero Special. A 4.2-liter modified Maserati engine with Ferrari running gear and a Mistral body from Sports Car Engineering powered it. Even great drivers like Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles found this ill-handling car monster impossible. He placed second (behind Shelby) in the inaugural Riverside Grand Prix, defeating renowned names like Masten Gregory, Walt Hansgen, and Phil Hill. This attracted the interest of legendary Ferrari North American importer Luigi Chinetti, who arranged for the young driver to get a factory ride at Le Mans in 1958.
Gurney and fellow Californian Bruce Kessler had brought the car up to fifth overall before handing it over to Kessler, who was subsequently involved in an accident. This and other achievements won him a test drive in a works Ferrari, and his Formula One career began in 1959 with the team. He earned two podium results in four races that first year, but the team’s rigid management style did not fit him.
In 1960, he got six non-finishes in seven races driving a factory-prepared BRM. A brake system failure on the BRM caused the most severe accident of his career at the Dutch Grand Prix in Zandvoort, fracturing his arm, killing a young spectator, and instilling in him a long-held hatred of engineers. The accident also forced him to alter his driving style, which eventually paid off: his inclination to use his brakes more sparingly than his competitors meant that they lasted longer, particularly in endurance races.
Because of his popularity, Car & Driver magazine advocated for Gurney to run for President of the United States in 1964. This endeavor was only abandoned when it was “discovered” that he was too young to be a candidate. His friends and fans relaunched the campaign regularly (typically every four years).
Gurney created a new type of motorcycle called the “Alligator” with a shallow seat position. While Gurney’s goal of having the design licensed for manufacture & sale by a major motorcycle manufacturer still needs to be met, the initial production run of 36 Alligator motorcycles sold out rapidly and are now valuable collector’s items.