The Sports Car Eagles
Dan Gurney's roots were in American road racing, and it's no surprise that upon the formation of All American Racers, some effort was given to participation in the popular series of that era, including the U.S. Road Racing Championship and the Can-Am series. In 1964 and 1965, Gurney drove a modified Lotus 19 open cockpit sports car in several USRRC events and in the 1965 Daytona 2000 Km. and Sebring 12-Hour races. In these two FIA championship events, Gurney's role was as a "rabbit" to lead the pack and try to cause the Ferrari and other competitors of Carroll Shelby's Cobras to break early. Of course, the "rabbit" also broke.
During 1966 through 1970, AAR was a regular participant in the Can-Am series. In 1966, he won the Bridgehampton Can-Am race in a Lola T-70. In 1968, Gurney and Swede Savage alternated places in a Gurney-modified McLaren -- dubbed the McLeagle -- and a Lola T-160. Gurney also drove a racer owned by long-time friend Bruce McLaren to two Can-Am victories in 1970.
All American Racers also participated in the SCCA Trans-Am series. In 1967, Gurney drove the Bud Moore Mercury Cougar to victory at the War Bonnet race and 3rd place at the Kent race, and ended the Trans-Am Championship in 2nd place, only two points behind Carroll Shelby's Ford Mustangs. In 1970, Gurney and Swede Savage drove two AAR Plymouth Barracuda's in the Trans-Am series, but the results were somewhat less than spectacular, and the team finished 5th in the Trans-Am Championship.
All American Racers' association with Toyota Motorsports began in 1983, with Gurney's entry of Toyotas in the IMSA GTU championship series. In 1987, this participation graduated to the more powerful Toyota Celica GTO cars, where AAR brought Toyota the Manufacturers Championship and Christ Cord the Drivers Championship. The AAR Toyotas and driver Willie T. Ribbs took 3rd place honors in the 1988 GTO championship.
In 1989, AAR and Toyota moved up to the top IMSA level, with the GTP Toyota-Eagle, and almost immediately started to show promise, scoring nine top 5 finishes and 4th place in the Manufacturers Championship. 1990 brought four GTP Toyota-Eagle victories and another 4th place in the Manufacturers Championship. For 1991, Gurney rolled out the sleek Eagle Mk. III, which was almost immediately a winner. Only typical Gurney bad luck prevented a victory in the car's first race; but victory came in the car's second outing. The GTP Toyota-Eagles placed 4th in the 1992 24-Hours of Daytona, won the 12-Hours of Sebring, and scored eight more GTP victories on their way to the GTP Manufacturers Championship. 1993 was a complete Toyota-Eagle rout, with Juan Manual Fangio and P.J. Jones sharing ten victories in ten outings. Toyota-Eagle brought the IMSA GTP series to its finale with the Manufacturers Championship and 1st and 2nd place in the Drivers Championship for Fangio and Jones, respectively.
In 2006, the "Gurney" name reappeared in international sports car racing when Dan's son, Alex, co-drove a Riley-Pontiac with Jon Fogarty for the Bob Stalling Racing team in the Grand-Am series. In the fourteen 2006 races, Gurney and Fogarty earned eight "top 10" finishes, including two 2nd and one 3rd place finishes. The Bob Stallings team finished 6th in the Grand Am championship. 2007 was an even more successful season, with Gurney and Fogarty earning a Grand-Am record of seven 1st place finishes and five more "top 10" finishes to win the Grand-Am championship for the Bob Stalling Racing team and 1st place in the driver's championship for themselves. 2008 saw Gurney and Fogarty earning 2nd place in the driver's championship for themselves and for the Bob Stalling Racing team. 2009 was a repeat of their championship winning season in 2007, with 1st place in both the team and driver's championships. With a new engine package in 2010 and 2011, Gurney and Fogarty we only able to place 3rd in the team championship for Bob Stalling Racing and 6th and 7th places, respectively in the driver's championship. For 2012, the Bob Stalling Racing team will be campaigning a new Chevy Corvette in the Grand-Am Daytona Prototype series. We wish Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, and the whole Bob Stalling Racing team the very best for 2012. [See Alex Gurney's Grand-Am race record here.]
In late 2011, Dan Gurney and his All American Racers, Inc. joined forces with other racing interests, including Highcroft Racing, Michelin Tires, and Nissan, to develop an experimental Delta-Wing racer for the 2012 24-Hours of Le Mans endurance race based on the design by Ben Bowlby that was rejected as a possible candidate for IndyCar racer of the future. Since IndyCar chose a different design, the decision was made to try to reconfigure the unusual racer for sports car racing. The DeltaWing's first outing, at the 2012 Le Mans race, started out promising, but was cut short at about the 6-hour mark of the 24-hour race when it was literally "punted" off the track and into a wall by one of the Toyota LMP1 racers. Despite a valiant effort by the DeltaWing's driver to make temporary repairs and get the car back to the pits, that ended a once in a lifetime chance at Le Mans. The DeltaWing was given another chance to race at the 2012 Petit Le Mans finale for the American Le Mans Series, where it achieved a remarkable top 5 finish in it's first full race. Plans are for the DeltaWing to compete in the LMP2 class in 2013.
1996-2015 Arnold E.
van Beverhoudt, Jr.