We also understand that the maxim ‘Go Gurney!’ used to encourage the great man during his long and illustrious on-track career.
Dan raced in Formula 1 for Ferrari, BRM, Porsche, Lotus, Brabham and most famously his own Eagle Anglo American Racers team, but he ended his F1 career for McLaren, at nearly 40 years of age, bravely taking over Bruce McLaren’s McLaren M14A in three 1970 grands prix after our founder had been killed in testing at Goodwood in June of that year. Impressively, despite his advancing years, Dan finished a fine sixth on the daunting Charade circuit near Clermont-Ferrand (France) in July.
Even more impressively, two weeks before the Clermont-Ferrand race, in other words less than a fortnight after Bruce’s tragic death, Dan took over his McLaren M8D Can-Am car for the inaugural race of the 1970 Can-Am season – at the even more daunting Mosport circuit in Ontario (Canada) – and won the race outright.
It was a stupendously important result for our grief-stricken team – and, without the huge morale boost it produced, who knows whether Bruce’s broken-hearted boys would have found in themselves the resolve required to rise above the tragedy of their boss’s sudden and untimely death to keep their little company going during its darkest hour?
But they did just that, and Dan was therefore crucial to McLaren’s survival, and he therefore remains crucial to our team’s glorious and ongoing story thereafter.
So, now, it is the turn of all at McLaren, and of all McLaren’s fans too, to say, with one voice, and with feeling: “Get well soon, old friend!"; “Go Gurney!"