Dan Gurney Receives Robert E. Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award

Recently the Petersen Automotive Museum recognized an American icon, Dan Gurney, with its highest honor for his contributions to motor racing, sports, manufacturing and aerospace. The Robert E. Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Gurney via video at the museum’s 22nd Annual Gala on Saturday, October 22, 2016.

Dan Gurney in 1964. All photos from All American Racers.

Barry Meguiar presented the award in recognition of Gurney’s six decades of achievement in racing as a driver, team owner and manufacturer, as well as his contributions to engineering, safety and even the space program.

1966 German Grand Prix.

Gurney was born in Port Jefferson, New York in 1931, and moved with his family to Riverside, California, when he was teenager. He is recognized as one of the greatest American race car drivers of all time, having raced in a variety of different series. Gurney won races in Formula One, Indy Car, NASCAR, Can-Am and Trans-Am – the first driver ever to do so.

He also helped popularize safety innovations like the full-face helmet, which soon became not only standard, but required. His experiences as a race car driver led to the creation of All American Racers (AAR), where Gurney fielded some of most innovative and successful Formula One and Indy Car racers of all time.

In his ’70s, when most men would retire, Gurney’s creativity and innovation hit a new stride – designing an entirely new type of motorcycle – the Alligator – that improved both safety and performance, manufacturing the exotic Delta Wing race car and building the legs for Space-X’s game-changing Falcon9 rocket. For these accomplishments and his good-natured ambassadorship for motorsports, Gurney is a much deserved recipient of the Robert E. Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award.

In the 100 year history of Grand Prix Racing, Dan Gurney remains the only American to put a car of his own construction in the winners circle of a Formula 1 World Championship event: Grand Prix of Belgium in 1967.

Gurney’s Stats:

  • Dan Gurney Racing Career Statistics: 1955 – 1970
  • 312 starts – 51 victories – 42 pole positions

Formula 1

Wins Include:

  • Four Formula 1 World Championship Races:
  • 1962 French Grand Prix (Porsche)
  • Grand Prix of France 1964 (Brabham)
  • Grand Prix of Mexico 1964 (Brabham)

Three Formula 1 (Non World Championship) races:

  • Ballarat Victoria Trophy 1961 (BRM)
  • Solitude Grand Prix 1962 (Porsche)
  • Brands Hatch Race of Champions 1967 (Gurney Eagle)

133 Career F1 World Championship Points

Third in points – equal with Stirling Moss – in 1961 World Championship

Indy car in 1968.

Indy Car 30 Starts, 7 Wins, 10 Pole Positions & 16 podiums  (four 2nd places, five 3rd places)

Indianapolis 500 : Two Second Place Finishes

  • 1968 Indianapolis 500
  • 1969 Indianapolis 500

Wins Include:

  • Rex Mays 300, Riverside,  Eagle / GW – Ford 1967
  • Mosport Park, Canada, Eagle / GW – Ford 1968
  • Rex Mays 300, Riverside, Eagle / GW – Ford 1968
  • Indianapolis Raceway, Park Eagle / GW – Ford 1969
  • Brainerd, Minnesota, Eagle / GW – Ford 1969
  • Sears Point, Eagle / GW – Ford 1970

Sports Car World Championship Events (1959 – 1969) 41 Starts – 10 Wins

5 overall victories Sports Car World Championship:

  • 12 Hours of Sebring 1959 (with Phil Hill, Olivier Gendebien & Chuck Daigh) Ferrari Testarossa
  • 1000km Nuerburgring 1960 (with Stirling Moss) – Maserati Birdcage
  • Daytona Continental 1962 (Lotus 19)
  • Bridgehampton 500 1963 Shelby Cobra
  • 24 Hours of Le Mans 1967 (with A.J. Foyt) Ford Mark IV

5 class victories Sports Car World Championship

  • Targa Florio with Jerry Grant (Porsche 1961)
  • 12 Hours of Sebring with Bob Holbert, (Porsche 1962)
  • 24 Hours of Le Mans with Bob Bondurant (Shelby Cobra, 1964)
  • Targa Florio with Jerry Grant (Shelby Cobra 1964)
  • Goodwood (Shelby Cobra, 1964)

Dan Gurney during the Ford Motortrend 500 at Riverside in 1966.

NASCAR Stock Cars (1962 – 1970) 17 Starts 5 Wins:

  • 1963 MOTOR TREND 500 Riverside Ford / Holman & Moody
  • 1964 MOTOR TREND 500 Riverside Ford / Wood Brothers
  • 1965 MOTOR TREND 500 Riverside Ford / Wood Brothers
  • 1966 MOTOR TREND 500 Riverside Ford / Wood Brothers
  • 1968 MOTOR TREND 500 Riverside Ford / Wood Brothers

CanAm Championship (1966 – 1970) 24 Starts – 3 Wins

  • 1966 Bridgehampton, New York Lola / Ford
  • 1970 Mosport Park, Canada McLaren / Chevrolet
  • 1970 St. Jovite, Canada McLaren / Chevrolet

Formula Libre (1961 – 1963) 5 Starts – 3 Wins

  • 1962 Bossier City, Louisiana Arciero Lotus 18
  • 1962 Bossier City, Louisiana Arciero Lotus 18
  • 1963 Indianapolis Raceway Park,  Arciero Lotus 18

TransAm (1967 – 1970) 12 Starts – 1 Win

  • 1967 Green Valley, Texas Ford / Mercury Cougar

British Saloon Car Championship (1961 – 1963) 3 Starts – 1 Win

  • 1963 Oulton Park, England Ford Galaxie

Dan Gurney 1600 Porsche Speedster at Riverside in 1956.

Sports Car Events (not counting World Championshps) 1955 – 1965: 64 Starts – 13 Wins

  • 1956 Montgomery Field San Diego, Porsche 1600 Super
  • 1957 Riverside California,  Bailey-Corvette
  • 1957 Paramount Ranch California, Arciero Ferrari 4.9
  • 1957 Paramount Ranch California, Arciero Ferrari 4.9
  • 1958 Palm Springs California, Arciero Ferrari 4.9
  • 1958 Santa Barbara California, Arciero Ferrari 4.9
  • 1959 Pomona California, Arciero Ferrari 4.9
  • 1960 Nassau Trophy, Bahamas Arciero Lotus 19
  • 1961 Nassau Trophy, Bahamas, Arciero Lotus 19
  • 1962 Mosport Canada, (Heat 1) Arciero Lotus 19
  • 1962 Kent Washington, Arciero Lotus 19
  • 1962 Kent Washington, Arciero Lotus 19
  • 1962 Laguna Seca California, Arciero Lotus 19

1958 USAC National Road Racing Champion

First driver and one of only two (the other being Mario Andretti) to win in the four major racing categories: Formula One, Indy Cars, Sports Cars and NASCAR Stock Cars.

About the author

Bobby Kimbrough

Bobby grew up in the heart of Illinois, becoming an avid dirt track race fan which has developed into a life long passion. Taking a break from the Midwest dirt tracks to fight evil doers in the world, he completed a full 21 year career in the Marine Corps.
Read My Articles

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