Snapshot, 1964: Fortune smiles on Dan Gurney at Le Mans
Ultimately finishing 4th overall, Gurney and Bondurant led for almost the entire race, showing great skill and restraint in capitalising on the rival Ferrari 250 GTOs’ uncharacteristic reliability woes and keeping the faster Ferrari prototypes honest throughout. Gurney’s infectious smile (a trait that will never leave him) is not just telling of the result — since first testing Shelby’s new Daytona ‘Coop’, he’d found it immensely good fun and understood its potential. If it weren’t for von Hanstein, Gurney would perhaps never have made it onto the world motorsport stage — as Porsche’s racing director, he’d hired Gurney to race for the marque’s fledgling Formula 1 team, where, given the circumstances and the competition, Gurney was relatively successful. It was during his time at Porsche that Gurney met von Hanstein’s secretary Evi, who, in five years from now, will become his wife. Although begrudged at having lost a very good secretary, von Hanstein, along with so many other motorsport personalities, will treasure a lifelong friendship with Dan Gurney.
We were very saddened to hear that Dan Gurney, the pioneering and freethinking American racing driver and engineer, has passed away at the age of 86.
Photo: Bernard Cahier via Getty Images