Mar 9, 2014, 4:49 PM EDT
Racing legends Dan Gurney and Bob Bondurant headlined the latest class for the Sports Car Club of America’s Hall of Fame, which was officially inducted on Saturday night in Charlotte.
Kathy Barnes, Dr. Bob Hubbard, Jim Downing, and Pete Hylton were also inducted alongside Gurney, a past winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and Bondurant, who transitioned from a solid sports car driving career to running the highly-regarded performance driving school that bears his name.
Gurney was not in attendance for the ceremony but passed along a letter in which he thanked the SCCA for the honor.
In the message, he recalled a critical letter he himself sent the group in 1958, which chastised the SCCA for not allowing professionals to race in their ranks.
“The SCCA did not stay shortsighted for long,” Gurney wrote according to a release. “Times and attitudes changed and professionals were soon allowed to race. The SCCA became a powerhouse in motorsports.
“Back then, I wanted to race more than I wanted to breathe. I wanted to make all of you proud of this American. I hope that once in a while, I succeeded.”
Hubbard and Downing were inducted thanks to their development of the life-saving HANS Device in the 1980s, as well as their push to make the HANS a standard piece of equipment in the sport.
“It was the dawning of a real innovative time in racing history, because there was never a device like that,” Hubbard recalled. “I got some money together through a state of Michigan grant for small businesses, and the studies showed that it worked (to prevent the basilar skull fractures common in motorsports at the time).
“At that point, we became morally obligated to pursue this.”
As for the other inductees, Barnes won multiple championships as a driver and has also served as a director and club racing steward within the SCCA. Hylton was recognized for his work as an author and archivist to preserve the history of the organization.
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