Dan Gurney: All American Racer

(Part 3)

Formula 1 Grand Prix Races

Dan Gurney hit the international "big leagues" -- Formula 1 Grand Prix racing -- in July 1959, where he drove a Ferrari at Reims, France. He DNF'd in that race with a broken radiator, but he quickly followed that disappointment with 2nd at the German Grand Prix, 3rd at the Portugal Grand Prix, and 4th at the Italian Grand Prix. For the 1960 season, Dan drove for the BRM (British Racing Motors) team. The year was basically a disaster in an unreliable car that broke on almost every outing. Dan also suffered what was probably one of the worst crashes of his career at the Dutch Grand Prix that year. In 1961, he drove for the Porsche team and had three 2nd place finishes, ending the championship in 3rd place. Returning to Porsche in 1962, he brought that manufacturer its first ever Grand Prix victory at the French Grand Prix and placed 5th in the championship. In 1963 to 1965, Dan drove for Jack Brabham's team. In 1963, he took two 2nd and one 3rd place finishes, again ending the championship in 5th place. In 1964, Dan brought the Brabham team its first Grand Prix victory -- again at the French Grand Prix -- with another victory at the Mexican Grand Prix. 1965 brought two more 2nd place and three 3rd place finishes for Dan and his Brabham, and 4th place in the championship. Jack Brabham himself has stated that if Dan Gurney had remained with the Brabham team in 1966, he most likely would have been World Champion. Brabham won the championship that year, but would have retired from driving if Dan had stayed with the team. But Dan Gurney had bigger things in mind!

In 1965, Dan and Carroll Shelby got together to form All American Racers -- a predominantly American team to challenge the best of Europe in the Grand Prix circuit and also to take on the challenge of the Indianapolis 500. Fittingly, the new team's cars would be called "Eagles." The Grand Prix Eagle had many teething problems, including late delivery of the custom-built Gurney-Weslake V-12 engine. For the 1966 season, Dan campaigned the Eagle with the underpowered Climax engine, but still managed two 5th place finishes -- at the French and Mexican Grand Prix. The 1967 season showed a lot of promise, with Dan winning the non-championship Race of Champions at Brands Hatch, England in the Weslake-powered Eagle. Also, in its third Grand Prix race, the Eagle-Weslake brought Dan Gurney a historic victory at the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa. This was only the second time that an American had won a Grand Prix race in an American car (the first such driver being Jimmy Murphy in a Duesenberg at the 1921 French Grand Prix). But the season overall was a big disappointment, with only one more finish -- a 3rd at the Canadian Grand Prix -- among a string of mechanical DNFs. With financial support dwindling, Dan and his Eagle had even poorer results in 1968, with the only finish being a 9th at the German Grand Prix. Dan finished out the 1968 season driving for the McLaren team, where he managed a 4th place finish in the United States Grand Prix. Dan sat out the 1969 season and drove for McLaren in three races of 1970. Although on an overall basis the Eagle Grand Prix program was not successful, Dan Gurney can justifiably be proud of what he was able to accomplish against the heavily financed factory teams in Europe. His victory in the 1967 Belgian Grand Prix still stands as a remarkable achievement considering the small size and limited resources of the All American Racers team at the the time. What he accomplished in 1967 would be totally impossible in today's high stakes, over-commercialized world of Grand Prix racing.

During 1959 to 1970, Dan Gurney started 86 Formula 1 Grand Prix races, winning 4 times and placing second 8 times and third 7 times. He also started 19 non-championship Formula 1 races, winning 3 times and placing second 1 time.

1959 - Ferrari
1959 - Ferrari

1960 - BRM
1960 - BRM

1961 - Porsche
1961 - Porsche

1962 - Porsche Flat-8
1962 - Porsche Flat-8

1962-1965 - Brabham
1962-1965 - Brabham

1965-1968 - AAR Eagle
1965-1968 - AAR Eagle

1967 - Victory at Spa
1967 - Victory at Spa, Belgium

1968-1970 - McLaren
1968-1970 - McLaren

Formula One Grand Prix Race Record
(1959-1970 - Top 10 Finishes Only)
  86 Starts                                                                   
   3 Poles                                                                    
   4 Wins                                                                     
   8 2nd Place                                                                
   7 3rd Place                                                                
  Date             Place        Pos.         Car                Comments      
---------   ------------------ -----  -----------------  ---------------------
Aug. 1959   Avus, GER           2     Ferrari                                 
Aug. 1959   Monsanto, PORT      3     Ferrari                                 
Sep. 1959   Monza, ITA          4     Ferrari             (Championship - 7th)
Jul. 1960   Silverstone, ENG   10     BRM                                     
May  1961   Monaco              5     Porsche                                 
May  1961   Zandvoort, HOL     10     Porsche                                 
Jun. 1961   Spa, BEL            6     Porsche                                 
Jul. 1961   Reims, FRA          2     Porsche                                 
Jul. 1961   Aintree, ENG        7     Porsche                                 
Aug. 1961   Nurburgring, GER    7     Porsche             (Championship - 3rd)
Jul. 1962   Rouen, FRA          1     Porsche                                 
Jul. 1962   Aintree, ENG        9     Porsche                                 
Aug. 1962   Nurburgring, GER    3     Porsche                                 
Oct. 1962   Watkins Glen, NY    5     Porsche             (Championship - 5th)
Jun. 1963   Spa, BEL            3     Brabham                                 
Jun. 1963   Zandvoort, HOL      2     Brabham                                 
Jun. 1963   Reims, FRA          5     Brabham                                 
Oct. 1963   Mexico City, MEX    6     Brabham                                 
Dec. 1963   East London, SAFR   2     Brabham             (Championship - 5th)
Jun. 1964   Spa, BEL            6     Brabham                                 
Jun. 1964   Rouen, FRA          1     Brabham                                 
Aug. 1964   Nurburgring, GER   10     Brabham                                 
Sep. 1964   Monza, ITA         10     Brabham                                 
Oct. 1964   Mexico City, MEX    1     Brabham             (Championship - 6th)
Jun. 1965   Spa, BEL           10     Brabham                                 
Jul. 1965   Silverstone, ENG    6     Brabham                                 
Jul. 1965   Zandvoort, HOL      3     Brabham                                 
Aug. 1965   Nurburgring, GER    3     Brabham                                 
Sep. 1965   Monza, ITA          3     Brabham                                 
Oct. 1965   Watkins Glen, NY    2     Brabham                                 
Oct. 1965   Mexico City, MEX    2     Brabham             (Championship - 4th)
Jun. 1966   Spa, BEL            7     Eagle                                   
Jul. 1966   Reims, FRA          5     Eagle                                   
Aug. 1966   Nurburgring, GER    7     Eagle                                   
Oct. 1966   Mexico City, MEX    5     Eagle                                   
Jun. 1967   Spa, BEL            1     Eagle                                   
Aug. 1967   Mosport, CAN        3     Eagle               (Championship - 8th)
Aug. 1968   Nurburgring, GER    9     Eagle                                   
Oct. 1968   Watkins Glen, NY    4     McLaren                                 
Jul. 1970   Cleremont, FRA      6     McLaren                                 

Non-Championship Formula One Race Record
(1959-1970 - Top 10 Finishes Only)
  19 Starts                                                                   
   2 Poles                                                                    
   3 Wins                                                                     
   1 2nd Place                                                                
  Date             Place        Pos.         Car                Comments      
---------   ------------------ -----  -----------------  ---------------------
Aug. 1960   Brands hatch, ENG   2     Lotus                                   
?    1960   Stuttgart, GER      5     Porsche                                 
?    1960   Ballarat, AUS       1     BRM                                     
Jul. 1962   Stuttgart, GER      1     Porsche                                 
?    1967   Brands Hatch, ENG   1     Eagle                                   

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