Porsche Mourns Dan Gurney
Porsche is mourning the death of American racing driver Dan Gurney, who died yesterday at the age of 86. Porsche owes its only Formula One World Championship victory as a vehicle manufacturer to Gurney, who won the 1962 French Grand Prix in Rouen in an eight-cylinder 804. Just one week later, Gurney repeated the act at Solitude near Stuttgart, where he led from start to finish ahead of his team mate, Jo Bonnier, both driving 804s.
Driving appearances with Porsche in 1961 and 1962 would leave lasting memories for Gurney, as he once reflected: “It was with Porsche that I really learned how to drive – because they gave me cars that didn’t constantly break down and I could lay down the kilometres faster than ever before.”
Gurney could turn his hand to driving cars from different disciplines, throughout his career he won races in Formula One, NASCAR and IndyCar, as well as sports car races. Gurney is famed for the invention of the ‘Gurney flap’, a spoiler added to the rear wing of cars to improve their aerodynamic efficiency, and that he was also the first driver to compete wearing a full-face helmet. Importantly the American was also the first driver to spray champagne on the podium, which he first did at Le Mans, inadvertently starting a motorsport tradition that is now imitated all around the world.
Porsche helped Gurney to find lifelong happiness in his private life in the 1960s when he married his wife Evi, a former German motorsport journalist and secretary to the Porsche Racing Manager, Huschke von Hansteinn. Evi survives Gurney, in a statement, she said: “With one last smile on his handsome face, Dan drove off into the unknown just before noon, January 14, 2018. In deepest sorrow, with gratitude in our hearts for the love and joy you have given us during your time on this earth, we say ‘Godspeed.'”