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US racing category nominee #6: Dan Gurney
Lunch with… Dan Gurney
Vol 85 No.11 – November 2009
This individualist has achieved more than seems possible during a remarkable motor sport career. What follows is just a taster – the rest he is busy crafting into a long-awaited autobiography
By Simon Taylor
Ever since this “Lunch With…” caper began, at the top of my Wanted list has been Daniel Sexton Gurney. This is a man who drove for Ferrari in the 1950s, who spearheaded Porsche’s foray into Formula 1, and who won Le Mans for Ford. A patriot who built and drove the first American F1 car ever to win a Grand Prix. A victor in F1, sports cars and USAC – sometimes in the same season – and also in Can-Am, Trans-Am and NASCAR. A race car manufacturer too, who ran front-line teams in Indycar, Champ Car, Formula 5000, Trans-Am and IMSA. And a racer acknowledged by his peers to be one of the very best: famously, the man whom Jim Clark regarded as his most serious rival.
I knew Dan Gurney to be a courteous and deep-thinking man who would make a wonderful lunch guest. The problem was, he didn’t want to have lunch with me. Or, rather, he was very happy to invite me to lunch at his Eagles’ eyrie, but he wouldn’t be interviewed. The reason was a good one: for a while now, Dan has been working on his autobiography. There have been other books about his extraordinary life, but none authored by him. This will be the real story, and an important addition to racing’s written-down history because, throughout a golden era, Dan was there. So he has decreed: until the book is done, no more interviews.
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