Legendary former racing driver, innovator, car constructor, and team owner Dan Gurney was presented with the Robert E. Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award this year, at the Peterson Automotive Museum’s 22nd annual gala last Saturday. Mr. Gurney turned 85 earlier this year.
Of significant note to Ford fans, Dan Gurney drove the No. 1 Ford GT40 Mk IV to victory at the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans, along with co-driver A.J. Foyt. Gurney was so elated upon achieving victory in his tenth attempt at the infamous endurance race that he shook and sprayed champagne all over the crowd that had gathered in front of the podium – a tradition that continues to this day.
Of course, that memorable race win is far from Dan Gurney’s sole accolade. He’s won events in Formula One, Indy Car, NASCAR, Can-Am, and Trans-Am, and is responsible for numerous inventions like the Gurney flap (a.k.a. “wickerbill”) and the full-face racing helmet. He also started the All-American Racers team/constructor in 1964 with Carroll Shelby.
“I feel lucky to have been able to enjoy such a long and fruitful career,” said Dan Gurney upon accepting the Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award. “I’ve been privileged to take part in some of racing’s greatest moments and I am humbled to receive this award from the Petersen Museum.
“I knew Bob Petersen and the spirit that he possessed and the work he did made a real difference in the automotive world. Thank you to the museum for this honor, and thank you to my wife, Evi, and my family for their support all these years.”