Racing legend and pioneer Gurney passes away
15 January 2018 – American racing legend Dan Gurney has passed away aged 86, his family has announced, due to complications arising from pneumonia.
Gurney enjoyed a lengthy racing career across an array of categories, and in doing so established himself as a pioneer in motorsport.
Gurney started 86 Formula 1 Grands Prix for Ferrari, BRM, Porsche, Lotus, Brabham, Eagle and McLaren, taking four wins, and a best of fourth in the standings.
Gurney triumphed at the 1967 Le Mans 24 Hours, after which he sprayed a bottle of champagne, sparking the iconic trend which continues to this day.
His IndyCar career was notable for the creation of the Gurney Flap, an aerodynamic device used to increase downforce levels, without a marked increase in drag.
Gurney, who was also credited with being the first driver to wear a full-face helmet, twice finished as runner-up at the Indianapolis 500 and took five NASCAR wins at Riverside in California.
"With one last smile on his handsome face, Dan drove off into the unknown just before noon, January 14, 2018," read a statement issued by Gurney's family.
"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.'"
Mario Andretti was among leading figures to pay tribute, posting on social media: "RIP Dan Gurney. I was first inspired by him when I was in midgets dreaming of being like him.
"I was last inspired by him yesterday. Yes, I mean forever. He understood me better than anyone else, which is why he wrote the foreword for my book in 2001."