13th April 1931 – 14th January 2018
Gurney at BRM
Like Graham Hill, Dan Gurney joined the BRM team for the 1960 Formula One season. Unlike Hill though, he was only with the team for one year. He achieved little by way of success or even race finishes, and sadly, through no fault of his own, his time with BRM was laced with tragedy.
He would of course go onto greater things.
Gurney's Formula One career began with Ferrari in 1959. In just four races that first year, he earned two podium finishes, but the team's strict management style did not suit him.
In 1960 he had six non-finishes in seven races behind the wheel of a BRM. But in the Dutch Grand Prix, at Zandvoort, a brake system failure on the BRM caused the most serious accident of his career, breaking his arm, killing a young spectator and instilling in him a longstanding distrust of engineers.
The accident also caused him to make a change in his driving style that later paid dividends: his tendency to use his brakes more sparingly than his rivals meant that they lasted longer, especially in endurance races. Gurney was known to give the brake pedal a reassuring tap just before hard application — a habit he himself jokingly referred to as "the chicken-shit school of braking."
Gurney then teamed up with Jo Bonnier for the first full season of the factory Porsche team in 1961, scoring three second places. The next year he claimed his first, and Porsche's only F1 victory in the French Grand Prix at Rouen-Les-Essarts.
Gurney then joined the fledgeling Brabham team in 1964 and took two wins, including the team's first victory, and ten podiums over the next two years.
Anglo American Racers
Over the course of his career Gurney won races in the Formula One, Le Mans, Indy Car, NASCAR, Can-Am, and Trans-Am Series.
In 1966 he even started his own Formula One team, Anglo American Racers. Partnering with British engine maker Weslake, the team were plagued by lack of reliability, but took a historic victory in the 1967 Belgian Grand Prix with Gurney at the wheel.
Gurney thereby earned the distinction of being the only driver in history to score maiden Grand Prix victories for three different manufacturers; Porsche, Brabham and Anglo-American Racers.
But the team ran out of money in 1968, and Gurney drove for McLaren-Ford until his last Formula One race, the 1970 British Grand Prix.