Friday, August 5, 2016

Dan Gurney and the Peter Bryant Award

Iconic driver's engineering excellence to be recognized


The late Peter Bryant left and Dan Gurney right at the
2009 legends of Riverside event

Whether it was his overseeing the design and construction the Formula 1 Weslake Eagle and then driving it to become the first American (and still the only one) to win a Grand Prix in a car with his own name on it; or talking Ford into working with Colin Chapman to install a modified Ford Fairlane engine in a upgraded Lotus 33 chassis for the 500; or taking Toyota to victory in the 24 Hours of Daytona; or building the Eagle Indy car that  Jerry Grant broke the 200 mile-per-hour barrier with at Ontario Motor Speedway in 1972. ... Dan Gurney was never satisfied with the status quo and always sought a technical edge to go along with his great talent behind the wheel.

On Saturday night, August 20, Dan Gurney's name will be added to the honor roll of names on the Peter Bryant Challenger Award.  The ceremony will take place at a special dinner on August 20 at the Monterey Plaza Hotel held as part of the historic races and concours and celebrating the 50th anniversary of the iconic Can-Am racing series

Can-Am event producer Dave Wolin said "In truth, Dan Gurney's name should have been on this perpetual trophy long ago.  Dan Gurney has always been celebrated as championship driver ... and now we're very pleased to be able to recognize him for his many contributions to racecar engineering with this prestigious award. The general public really never thought of Dan Gurney as an engineer when he was driving,"  Wolin remarked,  "but, in many ways he was." 

This unique award is named for the late race car designer, Peter Bryant, who designed and engineered many well-known racing machines, among them the cutting-edge Ti22 and UOP Shadow Can-Am cars as well as the Shelby Series 1 passenger cars.  Beginning as a young racing mechanic in his native England, Bryant went on to become a brilliant and innovative engineer and designer.
The Peter Bryant award
The award celebrates excellence in motor racing engineering and the spirit that Bryant brought to the craft.  Phil Remington, Bruce Burness, Trevor Harris, Tyler Alexander, Alwin Springer, and Ike Smith are the names that precede Gurney's on the clear Lexan award that features a likeness of his Bryant's incredible "Ti22" car and pieces of titanium sheet sourced from the Timet Company, the company that originally produced that exotic super-strong/super-light metal used in the car.  

Due to prior commitments Dan  Gurney will not be able to attend the Can-Am dinner.  Accepting for him will be Vintage Racecar Associate Editor, historian, and the author of "Dan Gurney's Racing Eagles", John Zimmermann.

There are still a few tickets available for this special Saturday evening August 20 event, they may be obtained at:

Photos and information for this article provided by Doug Stoke at Stokes Communications

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