Dan Gurney was revealed as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in the International Historic Motor Awards in conjunction with EFG private bank and Octane magazine when the winners were announced at a star-studded gala dinner in London on November 19th.
The 84 year-old American received the accolade following a career which saw him become the first of, to date, only three drivers to achieve wins in Grand Prix, Indy Car, NASCAR and World Sports Cars. He went on to become a successful race car manufacturer with the Eagles, and team owner and car constructor with AAR.
Another motorsport legend, Sir Stirling Moss – himself a former Lifetime Achievement recipient – collected the award on Dan Gurney’s behalf, saying, “Dan is a thoroughly nice chap and really deserves this award. We raced together in the same team and in 1961 he was one of the few guys who was really quick around the Nurburgring; one of the fastest guys in the world. And he’s my age and he looks as good as me!’
Dan Gurney sent an acceptance message, commenting, “‘I wish I was there this evening. I’m very proud to achieve this award. The modern world is nearly as good as the old world, and, as a member of the internal combustion age, I say hello, and thank you!’
The International Historic Motoring Awards evening was hosted by renowned sports commentator Steve Rider, who kept the audience at London’s St Pancras Renaissance Hotel entertained as he interviewed each winner in turn. Greeting guests as they arrived was a fabulous array of historic cars outside the hotel, including the winner of Car of the Year, Duncan Pittaway’s astonishing Fiat S76 ‘The Beast of Turin’.
The Museum of the Year title went to the magnificent Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, the only museum in the world that can document over 125 years of automobile history complete from motoring’s very first day.
Restoration of the Year was a hotly-contested category, but ultimately victory went to Porsche Historic Motorsports, Weissach, for its meticulous, three-year restoration of the Gulf-liveried 917K that won the 1971 Spa 1000km race.
The Publication of the Year award paid tribute to Simon Moore’s remarkable dedication in craftingThe Magnificent Monopostos: Alfa Romeo Grand Prix Cars, 1923-1951. Moore gained access to Alfa Corse records and uncovered chassis details and engine numbers, from which he went on to trace every single car the factory raced over those years.
Motorsport Event of the Year and Motoring Event of the Year gave the expert panel of judges much to consider, with a wealth of events across the world on the shortlists. In the end they awarded the Motorsport Event of the Year accolade to the ‘fastest class reunion in the world’ – the mighty Rennsport Reunion, which brought over 57,500 Porsche fans, more than 50 legendary Porsche drivers and engineers and hundreds of exceptional historic Porsche racecars to California’s Laguna Seca Raceway. Very different in style and atmosphere, but equally impressive in content, was the winner of Motoring Event of the Year, the superb Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille, which brought some of the world’s leading Concours cars together, and combined both coach building and the elegance of the fashion houses with fine arts, decorative arts and equestrian arts.
It is when historic cars take to the road that they do most to ‘spread the word’ about the glories of classic motoring. The Rally of the Year winner, theRoyal Automobile Club 1000 Mile Trial, and the Tour of the Yearwinner, the 2015 Highland Tour, illustrated that perfectly, having taken everything from a 1903 Mercedes Simplex 60HP to the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este award-winning Mercedes-Benz 500K Cabriolet A and an ex-Tazio Nuvolari Bugatti Type 37A out on the streets and country roads.
Although the candidates for Club of the Year included some very big hitters, it was one of the smallest in size – Benjafield’s Racing Club – which took the honours, following a 25th anniversary year celebrated with a series of pioneering and flamboyant events across Europe, most notably the Benjafield’s 24, a recreation of the 1924 Le Mans in the Algarve.
Classic Endurance Racing sprinted away with the Race Series of the Year title, following a very exciting season which has seen it bring full grids of Ford GT40s, Porsche 910s and 917s, Ferrari 512Ss, BMW M1s, etc. and drivers such as Emanuele Pirro, Jürgen Barth and Gérard Larrousse to compete at major international historic race meetings across Europe.
Industry Supporter of the Yearpaid tribute to the way America’s McPherson College is educating the historic car preservers of the future with its innovative four-year Automotive Restoration degree programme. And Stuart Brown’s 3d Engineers scooped the Specialist of the Year award for the second year running, the British-based company’s recent achievements, such as 3D scanning and panoramic photography of all four land speed record cars at Beaulieu and helping to establish the digital 3D and 2D recording process for America’s National Vehicle Register, making it a very worthy winner yet again.
HRDC ‘Touring Greats’ founder Julius Thurgood was awarded Personal Achievement of the Year, for his launch of The Academy, which offers an accessible route into the sport to emerging historic racers with an entry-level class of cars that embraces all positive aspects of historic racing in an affordable package.
The awards are judged by a hugely respected and experienced international panel which includes Dr. Franz-Josef Paefgen (former Chairman of Bentley), car designer Peter Stevens, Shiro Horie, Editor in Chief of Octane in Japan, musician and historic racer Nick Mason, and Dave Kinney, historic collector and Journalist for Automobile and the New York Times.
Source. International Historic Motoring Awards